Category: Narratives for Interaction


TEAM LAB|FUTURE WORLDSpeople-flowers-1920x595

Our visit to Future Worlds was, without a doubt, an eye opener. My favorite would be the first part of the exhibition, Nature.

As an Interactive Media student, I was taken away by the level of immersion one can experience with the space. A few of us started looking up and around , searching for hidden projectors and cameras, wondering at how they managed to achieve such a feat.

As an audience, I was no less breath-taken. It is hard to put together the sense of awe one has for the piece, even when understanding how it works.

What intrigued me beyond the level of tech that was needed for the piece was the art itself.

Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together – A Whole Year per Year | Ever Blossoming Life II – A Whole Year per Year; Dark | Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders

This installation was actually made up of three works put together in a seamless space.

“Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders” was a screen where the Butterflies would fly in and out of the installation. When existing other of the screen, they can be touched and can die. When in the screen, they are protected.

“Ever Blossoming life ” covered the wall and the floors with flowers.  As we moved around the room and step on them, they wither .When we leave things untouched, they grow back.

Team lab basically created a space where the interaction mattered beyond just pushing buttons or waving hands. There was actually some meaning in the way we interacted with the space. Our interactions was hurting nature.

I thought that that was beautiful and very powerful. Having our actions reflect a kind of destruction and showing how our absence can allow things to be beautiful as they are felt like a stronger point and more provoking than the thousands of articles that people have post about global warming.

There’s something very special about the works that Team Lab has done.

Firstly, using mechanics as a kind of metaphor helps us to make a statement clearer and such metaphors more weight.

It allows us to better understand and learn the effects of what we do. The nature of the works by Team Lab are very engaging and when given deeper thought, we began to understand better the weight of what they are trying to say.

However, one might argue that this level of engagement causes people to lose sight of what the project is about.

The interactive nature of the works draws us in and one can get carried away with it just because it is fun.

In fact, while we were there, it is no surprise to see kids stepping on the flowers and butterflies on purpose just to get a kind of feedback. We ourselves get carried away with the interaction simply because we want to see things happening in that space. They presented us a paradox that reflected not just the nature we are destroying, but the nature of men.

After a few moments inside, it felt like it was alright to just destroy everything since it was going to grow again, and upon knowing that the visuals change the seasons, I could not help but wonder if the meaning of this work was lost some where in it’s own beauty.

Would I want to come back to an installation that was as beautiful as it was in a different season despite being constantly trampled on. Or would the work be more powerful if one day we return to the space only to find a desolated waste land.

For me, I do understand that the nature of the work and the space has to attract tourists to visit and that there is a lot less appeal in a waste land as compared to a garden. Yet I cannot help but wonder if the meaning of the work was lost in the ludic nature of the work…


Generative Art

Generative Forms






Art that has been generated by a system


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wall Drawings , Sol Lewitt (1971)



Cut-up technique, Brion Gysin, Tristan Tzara, William Burroughs, Davd Bowie, Remix



Drawing machines, Jean Tinguely (1950s)


Designing Processess

Art Forms in nature, by Erst Haeckel


Stories in games – Papers, please and other story-telling games

Can we tell stories in games?

An age old question that many game designers have started challenging for decades, yet it is only recently we started to see more and more successful works that integrate the way stories are told into virtual worlds.

“Papers, please”  is a brilliant example.

Would you play a game about a guy whose job is something as repetitive as clearing papers for customs? The nature of the job seems boring enough, yet underneath this exterior is an intricately woven story that makes you feel more about the world than some big budget block busters can even come close to.

A world filled with terror and legal constrictions, where your failure in your job can cost your family their lives. A world where a lot is showed, and little is told, giving players the points to let them draw the lines themselves. I recall in one level, after clearing a man and letting him through, he whispered, “My wife is behind. Please let her through.”

The lady that came next suddenly was no longer just another character to clear, but someone else’s wife. Suddenly there was so much weight in what I was doing. I could let her in at the expense of my own wages, possible leading to my family starving in later game, or I could deny her and separate the two couple. The story was in my control. My actions had real weight and for a second there, I did not know what to do.

I choose the former, and was punished with a pay cut but was rewarded with a token from the lady and a heartfelt thank you.

And I’ll admit, even until now, it still feels good.

I believe that that should be the nature of narrative in game.


An interaction can be simple but yet the choices we make can have weight.


Another example is ” This war of mine”

I never thought I’ll ever play a game that was hard to play emotionally but the war torn world of the game changed my mind.

It took every element of a zombie survival game and removed the zombies and became one of the most powerful and gripping tales.

The choices I make comes back to haunt me.

Stealing from an old lady makes me sick. Choosing between running from a fight or helping another felt like a real choice.

A wrong move meant that I would die. Yet I didn’t know what the right moves were either.





I believe that such interactions add layers of meaning into the story.


There is real weight in the decisions that we make in the game, we feel that it is real and hence the decisions in the game matter.


Spatial Narrative



Guy Debord’s – The Naked City (1957)

Guy Debord’s Naked City, present the most radical departure from the grid. In reaction to the rational city models embraced by Parisian postwar planners in the 1950s, he and his colleagues co-opted the map of Paris, reconfiguring the experience of the city through its authority. By manipulating the map itself, they intervened in the logic of the city, constructing an alternative geography that favored the marginalized, and often threatened, spaces of the urban grid. Torn from their geographical context, these areas were woven together by arrows inspired by the itineraries of the drift or “dérive.” These “psychogeographic” maps proposed a fragmented, subjective, and temporal experience of the city as opposed to the seemingly omnipotent perspective of the planimetric map. As mapping is used as a tactic to bring together personal narratives about urban space, the Situationist maps provide a useful example of visualizing a subjective view of the city.
The central problem with these maps is not in the way in which they confront norms of cartography, but the duration to which they are bound. The ephemeral nature of psychogeographic space meant that these sites could quickly shift through the pressures of development. The Situationist maps in turn become an archive of a specific moment in the life of the city. However, if these maps incorporated time, they would be able to show the migration or disappearance of these psychogeographic spaces, highlighting and critiquing the urban trends that were / are shaping the city.

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I was introduced to The Naked City about a year ago by Luis, my 4d professor.

He introduced to us this concept of dérive which is “

 an unplanned journey through a landscape, usually urban, on which the subtle aesthetic contours of the surrounding architecture and geography subconsciously direct the travellers, with the ultimate goal of encountering an entirely new and authentic experience. Situationist theorist Guy Debord defines the dérive as “a mode of experimental behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances.”

” Can maps be a form of narrative? What does maps actually tell us?

Designing an interface

In the book, the Dreamcatcher, one of the character described having a memory warehouse in his mind, able to retrieve and store any memory, this is also known as the method of loci (loci being Latin for “places”[1]), memory palace, mind palace. This method depends more on spatial memory than simply intelligence.

Having collected some images for my project, I’ve come to realize one of the greater challenges one must face when handling interactive narrative is not what story you wish to tell, but how to tell it.

If we understand our stories as routes, can we create a means of  navigating through narratives? How would that change the way we experience stories than simply just buttons. What if we could actually see how the paths interlink and criss-cross. Would that change the way we navigate through stories?

The next step for this project is not so much to simple just take more images, but also to understand how these images can be shown.

Can we map it out several stories so that we can better see relationships?

What about choices we make in the experience? Does it even affect anything? And should it affect?

My goal now is to put the stories together and allow one to navigate it like a maze.


nelly2 1399_6

hui game + art installation?



At this moment, I’m thinking of creating a mixed media installation.




The installation contains two ways narrative is consumed, passively and actively.

The passive narrative happens at the side of the walls, with projectors showing photos.

These are images that I’ve collected over the weeks before the death of my aunt.

These are images I tried to capture.


At the center of this installation is a game. 

The game is a simple simulation of choice.

What would you do if you have 6 days left to spend with someone you love?

Here’s a prototype I made in Unreal. You make choices in this game, maybe simple straight forward choice or morally difficult choices.  Maybe you need to choose to ignore work for family, maybe you need to choose between members of the family.

In a given scenario maybe you find yourself having to choose between a sick daughter and a dying mother.




While I guess this game would have some  interest, it would be difficult to create a work like this without it feeling overly manipulative. Getting the player to be emotionally involved also makes it challenging.


Perhaps another time…


Lea Vidakovic – fragmented narrative


Splendid Isolation (2010) by Lea Vidakovic

This lesson we have a sharing from Lea Vidakovic

Several terms for setting the context Fragmented narrative – non-linear, disjointed

Animation installation

Spatial Story telling


Magic lantern

Phantasmagoria – Robertson (1797)


Pre-cinematic narrative vs post-cinematic

Narratives in animation where stories are shorter.

Spatial connection with interaction


Rose Bond

Site-specific narrative using projection


Born in Hyogo in 1975, Tabaimo is a phenomenon in Japan. A major retrospective of her works was presented at Tokyo’s Hara Museum in 2006.
Her video installations, which incorporate animated films, draw their inspiration from the current social and economic problems, revealing the underbelly of Japanese society.Her animations combine the nuanced colours of traditional engravings with the sophisticated technology of the computer.
What is it about her pessimistic and phantasmagoric world that captures the interest of so many people?
What will she do next ?
In addition to Ginyo-ru, her most important work since hanabi-ra in 2003, this film surveys her retrospectives at the Hara Museum, the Fondation Cartier, where Tabaimo presented her first solo exhibition in Europe in 2007, as well as the Venice Biennale, reflecting her output over the last eight years.


TABAIMO talks about creating works where the narrative is not strictly defined.  I love her use of space to convey a kind of emotion. Her works focus on using the space to tell the story of what


William Kentridge: How we make sense of the world

How do we understand the world?

How do we make sense of the world?

We take in a fragment, a headline, a part of a dream.


Does a narrative have to make sense?

How much control should we give the audience who on


Ringo Bunoan, Endings and No Endings

In this installation, Ringo used books as well as their endings to form a philosophical statement about time. The tower of books against the wall have had their endings removed; conjoined in endless continuity. On the other side, the removed single-paged endings with ‘The End’ marking its finality line the adjacent wall; an ironic chain of endings.



Ringo Bunoan, Endings, 2013. Framed book pages. Dimensions variable. Singapore Art Museum collection



Ringo Bunoan, No Endings, 2013. Book installation. Dimensions variable.


“As much as it is about endings, it is about endlessness. So, ideally the works should be floor to floor and wall to wall; this idea of continuity in connecting spaces. You can have a thousand endings and always add to it—there is no end.” – Ringo Bunoan

As one’s eyes follow the vertical tower and the horizontal display of framed book pages, a cross-hair or intersection of sorts is demarcated; an imagined completion of the books and of time through the movement of our eyes.


Liana Yang  – With Someone Like You




A recent installation that I had the honor to seeing is this work of Liana Yang. In a room filled with pages of romantic novels, the stories are spread out on to walls, each with a page describing an encounter of two. There really isn’t much of a story but we can a sense of this romance in the lines.

The intrigue for me was how we began creating our own narrative out of the lines. We form our own love story. We imagine what is happening and we began to leave with different ideas of what the story is.

The piece intriguing because there is no handholding. It does not tell us what the story is, or if there is even any story at all.

We don’t know where to start, or rather we can start anywhere,and I think that is pretty cool.



Methods which will be explored

Physical space as a narrative device

gaps between the screens

editing techniques

spatial montage


sound interaction

Each viewing will offer another layer of meaning and closure

projection in game

Screenshot_2016-02-17-01-32-17 Screenshot_2016-02-17-01-32-09


This week I attempted to create a system for my work.

By system I define it as a means of interaction which unifies the different medium used in the game.

One way which I attempted to do so is through a simulation,  in which I ‘project’ the images onto a surface as though the are real projections.

The images are created using decal materials,  so you can only see it when it is cast onto a surface.


In the demo above, you can make an image visible by shifting cubes and allowing it to be casted on.

I also found a game that uses a similar concept,in which shares similar styles and means of portraying what I wish to portray.

I believe that this is a promising means of creating aesthetics that would blend well with the narrative.  I am also thinking of embedding narrative in the narrative,  to have an overarching story and several under lying ones.

I think that would be an interesting idea.