ELMAN Concept Research & Presentation


We interpreted music as
– Rhythmic
– Orderly and flows smoothly like the orbital paths of astronomical objects
– A pattern
– Range of notes jumbled up and put together again to form a song
– Calming

We were inspired by the idea of sounds in space – they can only be heard in space in certain conditions. There needs to be a medium (air molecules) for sound to travel the way they do on Earth. Large empty areas between stars and galaxies are completely silent, but sounds can be heard as you approach them.

NASA Spacecrafts captured radio emissions from planets, their moons and our Sun, and converted them into sound waves. Below is a playlist of the results:

Recommended tracks:
1. Sounds of Saturn: Hear Radio Emissions of the Planet and Its Moon Enceladus
2. Kepler: Star KIC12268220C Light Curve Waves to Sound
3. Cassini: Saturn Radio Emissions #2
4. Chorus Radio Waves within Earth’s Atmosphere
5. Plasmaspheric Hiss

Soaring to the depths of our universe, gallant spacecraft roam the cosmos, snapping images of celestial wonders. Some spacecraft have instruments capable of capturing radio emissions. When scientists convert these to sound waves, the results are eerie to hear.

In time for Halloween, we’ve put together a compilation of elusive “sounds” of howling planets and whistling helium that is sure to make your skin crawl. – NASA Soundcloud

Overall, the sounds were pretty creepy and unsettling, some sounded organic while others were repetitive like waves.

Our concept also encompasses MAN’s theme of passing, as the space represents the passing of time – from the beginning of time (the Big Bang) until present day. Our work also suggests elements of time travel, space warping and planetesimal.

Click here to view Google Slides presentation.


For our storyboard, we plan to start our piece off with a Big Bang inspired sequence – a silent explosive animation that emits waves of particles. We aim to bring our audience through a cosmic journey with abstract waves, particle generation and orbital movements in a 3-dimensional spatial environment.

The stills taken above are produced in Adobe After Effects and Processing. The footage produced in Processing were auto-generative, but not as good in terms of visual quality. To save a video format from Processing, we would have to include a saveFrame() function and to piece a video together using the individual frames (which requires quite a bit of processing power & my laptop might not be able to handle). Therefore we are currently looking to produce similar aesthetics using After Effects instead.

MAN Media Wall Testing on 17/9

Link to video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1U0hebZAhOW5O0AHlFMRZPKiWjpbRpNKj/view?usp=sharing

The generative perlin noise lines were a little pixelated when projected on the media wall, perhaps because it was screen-recorded on Processing before it was imported into AE. Hence we need to find an alternative way to export the video in a higher definition. Some of the footages also needed to be slowed down a little.

To Be Explored 

Below are some other inspirations and visual effects that we would also like to explore and perhaps incorporate into our piece.

Image result for interstellar blackhole
Interstellar black hole
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Wormhole from interstellar

Image result for ant man ghost effect

Image result for ant man ghost effect
Glitchy ghost effect from Antman and The Wasp

Interactive Spaces – Semester Project (Part 2 – Digital)


Under Score is an interactive installation that challenges two players to play a game of soccer confined within the space under the table, relying only on their sense of hearing and touch. Players can hear the position of the ball through the headphones connected to a color tracking patch.

By Joan & Tiffany


Inspired by two branches of the sport – table soccer and blind soccer (played during Paralympics).


From our previous giant hanging foosball idea, our idea evolved towards digitizing the experience to change the conventional gameplay of soccer. Instead of tracking the ball with the sense of sight, we decided to translate what we normally see into sound. This means that players rely on their sense of hearing and touch to locate the ball. The location of the ball is indicated by the pitch and directional sound from both sides of a player’s headphones.

To add on to the aesthetic element of the space, we decided to project a visualization of what they hear onto the table. It also allows non-playing viewers a glimpse of the movement going on under the table.

Spatial layout & diagram:

Materials needed:
External camera (webcam or phone cam), attachable wide-angle lens, table (with four legs at the corners and no obstructions underneath), wooden stools, large black cloth, some cardboard panels, projector, colored soccer ball


MAX Patch processes:

1. Get feedback from the camera (interchangeable between computer cam and external cam)
2. Color tracking with min and max values for the color(s) picked, the range of color values can be adjusted via the ‘tolerance’ bar slider at the side
3. Extract the top left x and y coordinate values from the camera output
4. For the x coordinate, scale (1 300 18 58) and input the values to the keyboard to control the pitch via the colored ball’s x position
5. For the y coordinate, scale ( 1 220 1 158 ) and ( 1 220 158 1 ) and input these values into the left and right gains~ of the audio output respectively. This creates directional hearing based on the ball’s y position

Screenshot of our colour tracking MAX patch, tracked via camera
Screenshot of our MAX patch for the production of synthesized sounds/visuals – part 1
Screenshot of our MAX patch for the production of synthesized sounds/visuals – part 2

For the construction of the table, we bought 6 planks of wood, measured them and sawed them accordingly. We joined the planks together by hammering in nails (the hardware uncle told us to use nails and hammer), but discovered that the process could have been made easier/hastened by using a drill and screws instead.

Hammering processing to building our wooden table frame from wooden planks
Hammering processing to building our wooden table frame from wooden planks
How each table corner was joined and reinforced
Blocking two sides of the table using cardboard and covering the whole table with a layer of black cloth
Torch lights attached at each corner of the table frame to illuminate the playing area
Phone camera attached under the table, directly above the playing area. Camera signals are sent over to the laptop via wifi and DroidCam
Our colored ball in the lit up playing area
Presentation in class


feedback & Improvements
  1. Audiovisual feedback was fairly slow, players will have to play slowly and kick gently for the position of the ball to be updated in sync.
  2. The audio feedback was too hardcore. Perhaps the sound feedback could have less noise and smoother sounding.
  3. Lighting underneath the table could have been stronger and evenly lit, to prevent blind spots that allow the ball to hide in the dark.

FYP Pitch

Google Drive link: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ZpKfc0tiG126r3gfe7IMVTJOuh_WWWKGoXvwGNOpA3w/edit?usp=sharing

Addition Research (After feedback)

Istanbul: City of Cats

‘Kedi’, directed by Ceyda Torun, is an extraordinary portrait of a city, its cats and the community that loves and cares for them

For the past few centuries, hundreds and thousands of strays live among the denizens of Istanbul, and they have become an inseparable part of the community. They are often seen coexisting with humans, lounging in cafes, shops, or perched on rooftops.

“Istanbulites often place bowls of food and water on the sidewalk in a communal effort that lets cats roam free. The money in the tip box at one restaurant goes toward the veterinary bill for sick or injured animals; at a fisherman’s stand, cats get to sample the tiny anchovies plucked from the Bosporus. People often feel duty-bound to care for the animals that hang around their home or workplace, despite the cool nonchalance of the cats themselves.”
from The Economist

Tashirojima, Japan

Image result for Tashirojima cat island

Tashirojima (aka “Cat Island”) is a small island in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Perfecture, Japan. The  feral cat population outnumbers the human population 6 to 1 on this island.

How did it come about? – During the late Edo Period (江戸時代, 1603-1868) silkworms for making silk were raised on the island. The residents kept cats to chase mice away from their silkworms.

As the cat population increased over the years, residents continued to take care and feed them. Cats eventually became a symbol of good luck and good fortune in the Japanese culture.


In Singapore, stray cat feeders are occasionally seen under HDB void decks refilling bowls of water or laying out portions of pet food. These feeders (usually elderly women) often return to the same spots regularly to feed and care for the stray cats in the area.

While the feeding of stray animals is not illegal in Singapore, littering is. Cat food left out in the open and uneatened (or half-eatened) for too long may be deemed as litter and feeders may be fined.

Unlike Istanbul and Japan, cats and dogs are not culturally appreciated here in Singapore and perhaps this may be one of the reasons that active communal care for these strays are not commonly exercised.

Below is a heartwarming article about a particularly dedicated feeder at Bedok North Ave 1:



Tashirojima – Japan’s Awesome Cat Island


A heart for stray cats in Singapore

Emergent Visions – Reflection on Krzysztof Wodiczko

Krzysztof Wodiczko is a Polish artist renowned for his large-scale slide and video projections on architectural facades and monuments. Since 1980, he has created more than 70 large-scale video projections on monumental architecture worldwide, and focuses of the ways in which these monuments reflect the collective memories of the communities and history, and are often politically charged. He uses monumental buildings as a symbol of victory, through which he gives voice to the concerns of marginalized and silent citizens who live in the monuments’ shadows.

1. The Investigators


“The Investigators” is an interactive public video projection installation which took place originally in Weimar, Germany. Live images and voices of refugees are projected onto the statues of Schiller and Goethe, facing the assembled public standing on a raised platform. The act of talking back to a monument in real time allowed the refugees and general public to open up and share their historical experiences, and as a result was a political achievement.

“The statue represents a past that cannot be changed” – Wodiczko

In this work, Wodiczko presents an opportunity of the public to voice themselves, and make changes despite the fact that the public space is barricaded by monuments. As European cities are often packed with war memorials and monuments symbolic of war victories and defeat, Wodiczko believes that the whole city is in fact one big memorial to war, and that the communities of people are all war memorials inside of themselves.

Why Schiller and Goethe? – Symbolized a remarkable friendship and collaboration between two of the most well-known figures in German literature. Goethe sheltered Schiller as a refugee.

Images courtesy Krzysztof Wodiczko Studio.
Participants getting into position in the studio, behind the scenes.

Live projection mapping by technicians behind the scenes.

2. Homeless Vehicle

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Wodiczko teaches interrogative design at MIT. While the homeless vehicle is seen as a design solution to homelessness, 10 000 homeless vehicles cannot be made. In a way, the homeless vehicle provides emergency help, a metaphorical bandage, but has further implications of the conditions and problems behind the wound.

Image result for homeless vehicle krzysztof wodiczko

3. Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.

Image result for Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C krzysztof wodiczko

The work displays a very powerful image of a hand holding a candle on the left, another on the right with a gun and microphones at the center of the building.

Concerns over the restaging of his projection following the Parkland Florida school shooting. A very relevant insight I got from this work was that there is a world behind the facade of museums. Museums operate in the same way that monuments hide behind the ideological smokescreen of victory and selectively memorable parts of the location’s history.,

The board of trustees(consisting of governmental figures and billionaires) told him to restage the work prior to the tragedy and the decision was made to postpone the work’s display as a gesture of respect. The imagery of the gun might have triggered someone who was affected by the shooting. The media plays a huge part in a work and every work is done with the expectation to be hijacked.The fact that the work opens itself to discourse is seen as an outcome that far outweighs its risks of being hijacked.



Exercise #3 – See Yourself Sensing


Octopsst is an upper body wearable, connected with two live clip-on mics and noise cancelling headphones. Our aim is to re-imagine the sense of hearing of underwater creatures, and provide an experience where the user relies only on one of their five senses.

By Joan & Tiffany


1. Octopus suit – suction cups
One of our ideas was to build an octopus suit out of fabric and cardboard structures, and sew rows of suction cups (those found on bathroom wall hooks) onto the arms and legs, much like those found on octopus’ tentacles. The user is to go through the unique experience of navigating around small spaces while wearing the suit. The suction cups may be a hinder by causing the user to get stuck, or perhaps provide better grip for them in certain situations.

2. Octopus headgear – sense of hearing
Inspired by underwater soundscapes, our next idea was to incorporate the sense of hearing into our octopus suit/headgear. We did some research on the 5 senses of octopuses, and discovered that they have heightened senses. The can sense light with they skin, polarized vision, highly sensitive feelers on their tentacles, and are able to taste and smell with their arms.

We were curious about the kind of sounds they possibly hear underwater and decided to re-imagine their sense of hearing.


Materials used: Cardboard, duct tape, glue gun, 2 clip-on mics, 1 headset, 1 audio splitter, android phone

For the head structure, we built a 3D nonagon (9-sided polygon, octopuses have 9 brains haha) with open flaps at the bottom to connect to the tentacles. We also made a cardboard pouch at the front for the user to place their phones, which is connected to the mics and headset.

We cut long strips of cardboard with tapered ends, and rolled them up into tubes for the tentacles. For the arms, we also build two handles inside the tubes for better grip for the user.

So why do our structure have 6 arms only? We discovered that…


The Experience

While inside the suit, the user puts on the headphones and is unable to see. Surrounding sounds are slightly dulled, muffled and distant sounding, isolating the user within his/her own space. The head space is quite large, allow more privacy and space to breathe within the headgear, despite it being a little stuffy. The user can navigate around using their two tentacle arms, and the sounds of objects that their arms come in contact with.

Photo Gallery

Project Dev & Planning – FYP Proposal Idea(s)

Profiling (& based on feedback from my peers):

1. Concern for animals – What’s right/wrong?

Related theme(s): Animal conservation, human to animal relationships, excessive/inhumane poultry farming

#1 – Animal conservation
What is it? – A programme/setup that challenges the players to protect both the welfare of wild animals and mankind in a virtual world

#2 – Relationship between mankind and animals
What is it? – A programme/setup that allows players to build their virtual world, and express their views on how an ideal society should function, how animals and mankinds should co-exist
Challenges the player to reflect on their personal values and priorities, and make certain sacrifices to achieve an ideal situation

Possible aims:
For participants to reflect on self & their relationship with the wildlife,
To increase one’s self-awareness and impact on the environment/animals,
For relaxation & appreciation

2. Pet peeves – Inconsiderate people, people who intentionally cause inconvenience to others
Related theme(s): Interaction between strangers, connecting strangers, moral issues

#1 – Connecting strangers
What is it? – An installation that encourages strangers to interact with each other

Possible aims:
Build relationships between strangers,
Encourage consideration for others,
Random acts of kindness

Other areas of interests: Plants/nature, water, astronomy, exploration, idea of play

Inspiration: SIMSafari

Image result for sims safari
Image result for sims safari

Kristy’s feedback:
Idea 2 can be applied on idea 1, e.g. consideration for other beings
Which kinds of animals? For consumption or? Pets? Strays?
What kind of tone? Cannot be too serious, be more playful
Pick a few animals as case study, list some specifics, types

Interactive Spaces – Semester Project (Part 1 – Analog)


The Hangout is a kampong-themed laundry area, designed to simulate a human foosball (or table football) game. Our aim is to connect people through a classic game of football, but with a twist – the constraints of being pegged to a pole. Through our setup, we hope to build social bonds between strangers and friends through physical interaction, and away from our digital devices.

By Joan & Tiffany


To introduce play using the simple household objects, and to relive the kampong spirit in the youths of today.


With inspiration from our previous mini project (EX1 – Be part of the art), we decided on the idea of hanging people on a clothes poles and exploring the possible human interactions that could emerge within these limitations.

Since the arrangement of clothes on a pole is usually organised and occur in almost a grid-like form, we thought of several activities which the participants can engage in within these formations:

3 rows x 2 to 4 people – team based ball games, like soccer, sepak takraw, volleyball, captain’s ball

2 rows x 3 or 4 people – hanging out facing each other as a group of friends, play chapteh facing each other

We realized that these layouts resembled that of a foosball table, where plastic soccer player figures are also attached to the rods. This gave us the idea of combining the two aspects together – hanging clothes on a pole and foosball table – to actualize our concept of bringing people together through play in a simple setup.

Final Layout:

This layout allows for a team-based soccer game, where each side allows for an equal number of players (maximum 3 players + 1 goalkeeper).

Initial location in mind #1-  area between trees at the sunken plaza
Why not? – Lack of places to anchor/hang our poles from, unsuitable for wet weather, and troublesome if soccer ball goes out of bounds and falls into the water.

Initial location in mind #2 – open area at level 2
Why not? – Width of the area is a little too large compared to the length of the poles, might be dangerous for passersby if the poles swing and hit their faces

Final location – Under the staircase beside the open area at Level 2
Why? – This space allows for a more organised hanging of the poles, slightly safer and a more compact space for hangout



Testing the feasibility and layout of the space, and finding the optimal number of shirts/players per pole
One end of the pole attached directly (and tightly) to the string
Other end of the pole clipped on, with string attached to the clip (for easy removable or addition of clothing)
Testing 1
Testing 2
Top view of our setup, marked with football field lines


Feedback/Areas for improvements

1. Scale
A slightly larger space would allow for more players or more movement for exciting gameplay. The poles with 3 players were also a little cramped, making it difficult for the ball to get past their defense. With the current length of our poles, the ideal number of players per pole is 2.

2. Height differences
Although our poles are leveled to a height that fits most people, there are some people who may find it uncomfortable (too short or tall). This can affect gameplay and cause the strings attached to snap. One solution is to create a pulley system or a series of adjustable knots at the ends of the poles.

3. Location
Due to the open space, the ball went out of bounds easily, making it necessary to have a referee or someone to run after the ball. Although the stairs proved to be very useful for hanging the poles, the gameplay can be improved by shifting the setup into a smaller, enclosed space where the ball is allowed to bounce off the walls (similar to a street soccer court).

Assignment 4 – Response to Chapt 1 from Kim Goodwin, Designing for the Digital Age

Designing for the Digital Age by Kim Goodwin provides a framework for designers embarking on their projects, to achieve optimum efficiency and effectiveness, from a functional, industrial standpoint. Goodwin believes that the essence of design is to visualize concrete solutions through conceptualizing for stakeholders to see and understand, and eventually build. As mentioned in the second paragraph, the ability to serve human needs and goals is what sets a design artifact apart from art.

Goal-directed design is a method developed at Cooper (founded by software inventor Alan Cooper) for approaching the design of products and services. With user goals in mind, goal-directed design aims to aid skilled designers in their job of generating great solutions, instead of acting as a set of rules or restrictions. This method consists of four main components – Principles, patterns, process and practices, that make up some of the techniques that one can implement while designing projects in the real world.

In my opinion, this framework would be very helpful in the planning, conceptualising and the production of a design artefact, but should be used as a general guide, and not in a way where it dictates the direction of the ongoing project. While adapting this framework, certain components and processes may also change depending on the nature of the project and its participants, and exceptions should be made for unique cases. For example, the processes, structure and practices behind the makings of a computer game would be very different from the one behind the production of a household product. What do we change then?

Apart from that, some other questions also come to mind: Does this framework still come into play with several key stakeholders in collaboration? What if there is a conflict in interests and goals?

Exercise #2 – A Hundred LIT


A Hundred Lit is a site-specific installation featuring 130 sparklers lined up along the edges of a flight of stairs. Arranged in a crisscrossed fashion, the flame from one sparkler is transferred to the next, allowing the spark to travel from one end to the other.

By Joan & Tiffany

Initial Ideas

1. Googly eyes
Pasting googly eyes of different sizes onto different objects within a room, to give life to inanimate objects and suggest relationships between nearby objects.

2. Teabags
100 teabags hung onto a rack, where users can pull them down individually and place into their cups. Or, to diffuse 100 teabags into a large tank of hot water to observe the diffusion process.

3. Sparklers
a) A bundle of 100 sparklers wrapped up as a gift, then light it in an open space and see what happens!

b) Line up a relay of 100 sparklers along the outline of the platforms in the sunken plaza. Film the burning process at night from the window at level 2 to see the moving outline drawing the shape of the platforms.

Problem: it was too windy at the Sunken Plaza, it was very difficult to light up the sparklers and there was a high chance of them being blown out by the wind.


From our first testing of sparklers, we found that as long as there was a point of contact between two sparklers, one would light the other (they have chemistry) and sparks would fly… resulting in 2-6 mini sparks burning in different directions.

Since we needed bases to support our sparklers, we decided to use styrofoam pieces of 5x5cm rectangular bases.

Location choice: Instead of seting up our sparklers at the Sunken Plaza, we chose the stairway behind the ADM carpark instead as we found the added height would make a more interesting composition.

One challenge we faced was ensuring that each sparkler had the right amount of tension and were firmly connected with one another.



The burning process took a very long time, and the relay of sparks got cut off several times when the spark failed to transfer.

Overall, it was very fulfilling experience as we managed to burn all 130 sparklers, although the whole process took about 2.5 hours.