Research Critique #2 | Social Practice Example


“Transfer of a Zone of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility” (1959–62)

Transfer of a "Zone of ​​Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility" to Michael Blankfort, Pont au Double, Paris

Transfer of a “Zone of ​​Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility” to Michael Blankfort, Pont au Double, Paris, 10 février 1962

Yves Klein created “Transfer of a Zone of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility” (1959-62) as a commentary on the importance of materiality. This social practice art revolves around the idea of offering people a limited “edition” of ten “Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility” to collectors in exchange for specified weights of gold. These zones are “immaterial zone”; in other words, they don’t really exist as zones for purchase.

Anyone who purchases the zone will have a receipt issued to them, specifying the weight of gold they handed over. The receipt will then be burnt and then half the gold thrown into the ocean where it is irretrievable. The transaction between the artist and the collector had to occur in front of at least two witnesses, along with a curator or critic, and documented by photograph.

This is a symbolism where there can be no question of the buyer owning any physical object or residue, apart from their memory of the action. Also, every possible buyer must realize that the fact that they accept a receipt for the price which he has paid, it takes away all his possessions (the gold and any other items used to pawn). This art piece by Yves Klein brings up a question of material possession VS figurative possession. In other words, it is about having an actual object opposed to having the memory of having done something. Which is more meaningful and precious?

The immateriality of the zones created in exchange for the loss of gold means that the ownership of these zones can never deteriorate. It is through an unspoken rule that the zone is owned by the buyer, and this ownership cannot be transferred unlike if an actual object is being purchased.

However, some people also feel that it is more secure and real to have an actual sort of proof that they own the zones that they purchased. As a result, they refuse to incinerate their receipts, which leaves the immateriality of their zones incomplete because in a sense, their zones still existed with the receipt proof.

To be honest it took me a seriously long while to understand what the art was trying to prove, but I guess in terms of social practice it brings up a valid point; how significant is it in our lives to have something material? All of us have precious things such as our good memories with our family, or a relationship that was beautiful before it ended. These are clearly not material, but they are kept safely in our hearts. Then again, there are also material things that are important to us, such as a piano that has been with you for ten years, or a puppy that grew up with you from infancy.

However, after thinking about it, I feel that if I had to decide what is more important (material vs immaterial) I would say that the core thing that keeps us happy or satisfied are the immaterial. I see it this way because I feel that it is the memories or feelings, we had with the material things which makes us happy when we once used a product or spent time with something. Ultimately, these past feelings and memories are considered immaterial. This kind of proves a valid point in Klein’s artwork even though I am not sure if that was the point of it at all, that immateriality is sometimes the only thing necessary to prove a social point. As long as there is a common understanding between people that such a thing existed, it would suffice as an experience lived through.

Nevertheless, I still want to highlight how immaterial things are ultimately not very practical in our society even though as a social practice it can do things like save the environment or enhance a social experience. For example, money is material, but it is extremely necessary. Honey, memory alone will not fill a rice bowl, but money can be used to purchase food for survival. As a social practice, it is ideally nice to have nonsensical theories about how material proof is not necessary for a wholesome experience, but it is actually quite important. With how twisted reality can be, material products have to exist to provide some sort of proof against the law and justice system, and material products are also used to sustain our survival as a proof of us deserving of certain things. We need to consider the practicality of certain theories, and remember the consequences of drastically changing the system we live in.



This art piece is a social practice art because it goes against the usual societal perception of transactions. Where capitalism rules, materials such as money and products are highly prized and held with great importance. However, this art focuses on how immateriality can also be considered a transaction tool, especially since this art performance occurs 5 years before the rise of conceptual art.

Final Project | Moodboard



After pondering for a long time, I decided to go with my first idea; empowerment for the abused.

My idea revolves around how the abused often suffer from injuries that they are so afraid to show off to the world because they are “ugly”.  Examples include people splashed by acid and those physically mutilated. I think this is pretty sad, because these people are hiding their “battle scars”; they should be proud of what they managed to endure and survive through, yet they are forced by societal perceptions to hide indoors in fear that they will be scrutinized when they go outside.

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In my wearable design, I want to tell people that it is okay to go out there and do what you want. There is no need to be ashamed of your battle scars, because it just proves that they are strong. Their scars are a mark of victory, because they survived. Hence, I decided to design a body suit embedded with flowers.

My design comprises a white bodysuit that has long sleeves and pants. It also has a headband, which has flowers trailing down and attached to the wearer’s face. At different parts of the body, there will be white crepe paper flowers gathered at different parts of the body suit.  The areas where the flowers are gathered at represents the injuries inflicted on the abused. This includes the shoes as well.  White flowers refers to purity and innocence. These white flowers are a symbolism of how their battle scars are beautiful, and that they are still pure and innocent despite what has happened to them.

There will be LED lights distributed throughout the suit and the flowers. Pressure sensors will also be placed under the feet of the wearer. Each time the wearer takes a heavy step on the walkway, the sensor will be triggered and it will send a wipe of red light through the whole suit and the flowers. This is  a symbolism that the wearer is still alive, and her heart is still beating. Blood still pulses through her, and she is a survivor.




Research Critique 2 | Biomimicry



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Biomimicry; linking biology and design on the human body.

One of the most common forms of biomimicry is when technology comes together with ecology in a new way. It is not just about saving the environment, or creating awareness about a pre-existing problem. It is about understanding the possible relationship between two very different types of things humans utilize.

In an urban environment, we are usually so exposed to technology that we tend to neglect the environment around us. However, given how we are literally LIVING in the environment we are surrounded by, it should actually be our role model when we develop new technology. It is not only about nature appreciation, but also about making the connection between nature and design. It is two seemingly opposite ends of a spectrum of materials coming together to create a new sort of culture. In a sense, it is also a form of finding out new organic ways to move manufactured products in a market economy.

Through biomimetics, we can find out more about nature. In return, it also teaches us ways that we can be more sustainable in our design, and become more efficient and effective when using our resources. Biomimetics is essentially a culture which bridges the gap between technology and nature in a mutually beneficial relationship; while technology can help nature to thrive, nature can also teach technology to be more sustainable and diverse. It is not only restricted to resolving environmental issues as mentioned above. It is also about exploring different possibilities nature and technology can come together.

Both nature and technology are powerful elements on their own, and by coming together, it can perhaps open up a lot more possibilities for us.


Existing Examples:

Bullet Trains

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Bullet trains were not a problem for Japan when they created high-speed bullet trains. However, it was incredibly noisy with “tunnel booms” (loud shock waves) occurring when the trains entered tunnels. These shock waves also caused damage to the tunnels themselves. Modeling after Kingfishers and their specialized beaks helping them to dive into water while making minimal splash (hence “shockwave”), bullet trains were made with a blunt front nose cap to minimize the tunnel boom and increase overall aerodynamics with their new streamlined nose. This is an instance where nature inspired technology to become even better.


Cephalopod Camouflage Wearable

biomimicry examples squid 2biomimicry examples camo

Octopus and squids are example of cephalopods who can change their skin colour and can also glow (bioluminescence). This allows them to hide from their predators and communicate with others of their own species. Cephalopod Camouflage is then developed after this inspiration, where a device capable of detecting its surroundings and which can match its environment in just a few seconds is created. It makes use of a flexible, pixelated grid utilizing actuators, light sensors and reflectors. When a detection in the change of surroundings is triggered by the sensor, it sends a signal to the device which then creates heat and changes the colour of the thermochromatic grid on the wearable.


Gecko Climbing Feet

Stanford engineers climb walls using gecko-inspired climbing device...

Inspired by how geckos climb up vertical surfaces without falling off, climbing pads has been invented imitating the tiny little hairs covering their tiny little toes. These climbing pads are covered with adhesive tiles bearing sawtooth-shaped polymer structures which are about the width of a human hair. This creates an adhesive force when they are pulled on, which allows a human to stay stuck to the wall like Spiderman.


Bird Skull Shoe

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Wonder why birds can fly so well, so high and so light? This is because their bones are really lightweight! The Bird Skull Shoe is inspired by the extremely lightweight bone density of birds.  As a result, shoes are not only comfortable and lightweight, they are also strong, efficient and elegant, just like actual bones. Perhaps, this can also ease our movements and make us feel less tired when we move about– and we still get to look rather elegant!


Tentacle-Inspired Prosthetic Armbiomimicry tentacle prosthetic

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Prosthetics are meant to aid human functions when they are needed. It is supposed to ease our everyday movements, which is why this prosthetic arm is created in reference to a tentacle. It is flexible and adjustable, promoting better grip on items through a simple curling motion, which is supposedly more efficient than our slimy, sweaty palms.

Another similar example: ‘OctopusGripper’ by Festo

Reading 1 Response


Write a minimum 250 word response FOR EACH TEXT and post onto OSS your response highlighting your own critique of the reading and what are the key ideas that are thought provoking in the reading.


A critique of social practice art by Ben Davis:

Davis discusses the conflict between reconciling socio-political viewpoints and capitalism, which I find a very real problem in our society today. Projects such as turning houses into community spaces integrated with artist residences and offering temporary and affordable housing to young women are supposed to bring about positive changes and mindset to the world. This, I will not deny. These projects are created in the name of “social practice”, which includes voluntary and non-profit initiatives. On the idealistic level, it sounds like what everyone should do to make the world a better place. It implies that this socio-political viewpoint is fairly accurate and plausible, because the ideal world is where everyone is good and selfless to one another. I will not deny that at first read, it does sound very pleasant.

However, what people do not realize is how such an artistic theory will always be restricted by capitalism in the end. These projects are funded by larger companies such as Bank of America, who preys on the lower income by collecting massive interest payments, aka extracting profits from the poor who cannot repay their debts. National Museums Liverpool decided to engage volunteers instead of workers to take care of such a cultural heritage, but this essentially lays off thousands of jobs and destroys the livelihood of even more. This is the reality; people simply cannot afford to be selfless all the time if they want to be able to survive. The reality is ugly, but no one can run away from it. Even voluntary organizations need money to help others, and people are the ones donating to these organizations. But to even attain this money from the start, they have to work. If every workplace in the world decided not to dish out salary anymore out of the good spirit of “volunteerism”, we would be seeing a pile of suicides worldwide within 24 hours. Good will cannot buy you food for life, but money can.

What Davis mentions is to me quite accurate. He describes these well-meaning projects such as the Young Mothers Program to be just desperate cover-up for the things we are not doing to improve life for others; whether it is the rich helping the poor more, or offering more quality of life standards in all workplaces through bills and regulations. To me, well-meaning projects can certainly give people revelations about how the world is operating, but it is just a person’s guilty conscience coming into play; they decide that they cannot actually solve the issue at root, so they create an art piece to show that they are “helping” to solve the issue at hand when in fact they are not actually doing any tangible assistance for the afflicted.

Ultimately, “Social Practice” is a pretty way of telling people that they have to be moralistic enough to do work without expecting profits, but reality is that people need these works to be paid in order to sustain their own livelihood. Artistic initiatives can help to prove a theory, but it only exposes people to the social problems but does not kill the root cause of the issue; money. Art is also becoming increasingly monetized; but I view it as the world’s system. Without money, no one can do anything substantial enough to make an impact. In order to create an impact, people must work with those who have money, but in turn the wealthy will only help out if they can get money out of the deal.



Designing For The Digital Age by Kim Goodwin

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Goodwin mentions how there are different types of designs, and that they all come in stages. As humans, we are smart enough to modify our environment and tools to make life easier and more efficient. This is, as Goodwin says, the intentional shaping of the world for mass consumption.

She discusses that design is visualising concrete solutions that serves human needs and goals within certain constraints. She says that in order for design to be design and not just art, it has to serve these needs and goals, and allow humans to accomplish something in an efficient, effective, safe and enjoyable way. Besides function, it has to be aesthetically pleasing and pleasurable to consume. At this point, even though it is very early in the reading, I feel that humans ultimately thrive due to one thing; greed. With greed, it causes them to thirst for advancement and betterment of information and technology to make their own lives better. This is without care for our natural environment nor the ecosystem we affect with our pollution. Of course, I am not guilt-free, but it does irk me to think that everything ranging from conservation efforts to high-end technology is done with a selfish goal in mind. It is done for only human needs and goals, regardless feelings or physical needs, rather than for other purposes. This fact is pretty sad. This is also pretty off-topic from the original intention of the article, but I am moving on.

Goodwin also mentions that design is informed by scientific learning and focuses on understanding only to the extent that it is necessary to solve the problem at hand. I think that even though this sounds very unambitious, it is unavoidable because time and cost are often problems faced as designers. Whether it is material constraints or regulatory requirements, these are red tapes that prevent a project from expanding even further. As a result, people can only tackle new problems as they occur instead of preventing them from the start. This is sad, because it also applies to school and paying large amounts of money for our projects. However, it makes me think that maybe more efficient creation of products is better opposed to just adding one or two function changes every time a product is revamped. By thinking more than 2 or 3 steps ahead, we can create products that are efficient ahead of its time. After all, being too efficient is usually prioritized over being under-efficient.

Goodwin then brings up the term “experience design” which supposedly consists human-centered products and service design, but she disagrees with this broad term. This is because every person’s behaviours, attitudes and perceptions tend to be highly individualised which makes every user experience different. As a result, this affects an intended product function and outcome. I agree with this, but thinking about every single possible person’s viewpoint of a product is plain impractical in my opinion. As a result, I think using the term “experience design” is actually not entirely wrong; how a person uses a product is up to them, and it can still be counted as an experience.

The last thing that I found very useful even in planning my own projects is what Goodwin calls the Goal-directed Design. It revolves around a fixed template about achieving certain goals at different stages of a project, which provides more accuracy and conciseness. It ensures thoroughness, timely-execution and consistently high-quality output without wasting any effort and time. This is done through utilizing four components; principles, patterns, process and practices.

Ultimately, design serves as a process catalyst by making ideas concrete. I interpret this as design being a useful tool for organizing projects. This is because by going through all the processes step by step, it reduces any loopholes and ensures clarity in execution. Somehow, to my observation of the outside world, this “step-to-step” habit is an unspoken rule by everyone in our daily lives. It is something that has been practiced, but when it comes to more complicated things such as building something, it becomes less instinctual to follow. This is interesting, because it shows that even as humans we can lag as well. We also require blueprints to work faster and more efficiently. Therefore having a fixed design to follow will benefit us and make everything more efficient. I should probably apply this to my real life as well when I plan my projects. Then again, this quality will ultimately be countered by time and money as well, but which also could be countered by proper planning and design with Plan Bs and Cs…

Wearable Tech Research



Led by
Yamen Saraiji, Junichi Nabeshima and Kouta Minamizawa

The robotic tail responds to user movement through four artificial "muscles."

Inspired by Seahorses

Designed by a team at Keio University in Tokyo, “Arque” is a wearable human tail which is attached to a person’s back by a harness, and which helps a wearer correct their balance the same way animals do.

With built-in artificial muscles and vertebrae, the tail uses a pneumatic system to bend and move along with the wearer. This acts as a smart counterbalance whenever the wearer is leaning or swaying.

The inspiration behind the “biomimicry-inspired tail” was how the tails of mammals and other vertebrates act like an additional limb. “Arque” is also able to twitch and twist like an actual tail.

How it works:

“Arque”’s tail contains sensors and four artificial “muscles”. These allow the tail to move accordingly to the wearer’s movements. The tail’s movements move in opposition to the wearer’s direction, acting as a counter-movement which provides enough force to change the body’s momentum and center of gravity. This helps to correct balance and give wearers greater stability.

The movement generated by the tail consists interlocking plastic vertebrae parts that uses a spring-based structure to handle shearing and tangential forces. Each of the vertebrae contains one central plate which is surrounded by four additional four protective plates. The plates are linked together with elastic cords. Additional segments can then be added to modify the flexibility and weight of the rail (the spine of the tail) to match the wearer’s physique.

The robotic tail could help mimic virtual settings in virtual reality products.




Led by
snezhana paderina and nikita replyanski

RESHAPE 17 | Graduated spine support system


Reinventing the orthopedic brace so that people with medical conditions can have both spinal support with a broad range of mobility and also look fashionable while wearing it

Graduated Spine Support System is a wearable device designed to provide dynamic back support. Using data assessed by an integrated neural network, GS3’s lightweight cable mechanism can easily and precisely adjust to the wearer’s rigidity and support level.

Inspired by a young woman, Polina, who lives with Connective Tissue Dysplasia, a condition which causes joint hypermobility and chronic musculoskeletal issues that require daily spinal support. Braces became unsuitable for the body’s comfort and affects daily living. They were awkward, inconvenient and unattractive. The materials used were also not optimal in efficiency and mobility.

The purpose of the GS3 system is to reinvent the orthopaedic brace such that it has both good spinal support and a broad range of mobility functions. Furthermore, one can look good wearing it. GS3 can also target people who are undergoing physical rehabilitation and people who perform heavy physical tasks. GS3 can act as a prosthetic that can provide exoskeletal stability. It helps to enhance the existing muscle efficiency and secures the wearer’s spine such that they have an extra “superpower” to do hard labour.



How it works:

Other than its capable functions, GS3 is also comfortable. It has high-performance tech fabrics and its anatomically shaped structure. Through 3D-printed components referenced from the neural network research the creators have done, the spine is flexible and has smart behaviour.

The 3D-printed components utilizes polymer-based gradient 3D printing which allows a gradual increase of the rigidity along the surface of the blocks while keeping the wider surface of the brace flexible.

The smart behaviour, on the other hand, enables GS3 to learn the wearer’s typical behaviour and habits in movement and conform to the individual’s movements as long as it is within the limits the physician sets for their patient.

GS3’s control can also be programmed via its mobile app. Data is sent directly from an array of accelerometers in GS3, operated through a Bluetooth mesh. Each sensor sends its data to the processor without disrupting the other sensor connections, such that GS3 can respond efficiently to the wearer’s needs.

GS3 is also a fashion accessory. With a minimalistic cut, GS3 is made to convey elegance and plasticity. It is also universal, as it can be matched easily with other types of apparel. The material used to make GS3 is also high-performance, with intricate textures woven into its material.


*Harsh whispers* Artist Biography + other stuff about me


Joey Chan Ker En // jouzenki


#1 Biography (200 words max):

Beneath a bubbly persona, Singapore-based interactive media designer and programmer, Joey, has dabbled in various artistic mediums ranging from web coding to hardware electronics. Working primarily with interactive installations and web programming, she has also explored game design and UX/UI. Joey is just like a normal person like any other passerby, but behind that exterior is an almost radical idealist. She is willing to chain up her professors in a metal box or make her friends walk through barb wires, if it is to achieve profound meaning in her absurd pieces. However, these bold and wild projects often convey a softer and more sensitive commentary on the world, her latest projects relating to animal abuse and societal pressure. Joey’s artworks places focus on achieving raw emotions, breaking through the wall known as the common conservative societal opinion. 


#2 Biography (200 words max):

Beneath a bubbly and joyous persona, Joey is a bold up and coming artist who is willing to chain up her professors in a box or get her friends to walk through barbed wires to achieve profound meaning in her artworks. Working primarily with interactive installations and devices, she proficient in getting  participants to internalise raw powerful emotions by getting them to experience the artworks first hand. Within her artworks however, there is always a softer meaning and purpose. From teaching participants about animal abuse to teaching participants about the hardships of life, they leave her artworks a better and wiser person. When not creating radical artworks, Joey is a normal human being who spends her days doing everyday mundane tasks like the rest of the world whilst thinking of extraordinary ideas.


Link to sample of your work + Short Description:

<Child’s Best Friend: MORRIE> is a handheld interactive substitute pet which aims to teach children how to treat their pets with proper care. It encourages children to learn how to care for them before getting a real pet.

Check the full project documentation here.



P.S. This is an old version 🙁 Not updated with descriptions and relevant categories and skill set yet.


Link to an example of a work that inspires you/ impacted you:

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Passage (2016) by Anthony Gormley @

Passage (2016) by Anthony Gormley was one of the inspirations which opened the world of weirdness to me. It is a very long passage which is shaped in a human, and people can walk through the passage. However, walking further into it will cause slight claustrophobia as you are unable to move as you please in the tunnel, and can only move forward or backwards. This constricts freedom, and creates a trapped atmosphere for the participant. It taught me that creating art does not have to be comfortable for the audience, as long as it is thought-provoking. Comfort is not number 1 in art; it is how immersive it can and how it pushes your mental boundaries which makes art so successful.