Principles of New Media: Confessions


Confessions is a project with a high level of interaction required, its concept based on the idea of innate thinking in people when they are exposed to an environment where they are free to think about what they really want without having to fear judgement by their community. With concepts referenced from Lev Manovich’s 5 Principles of New Media from his book The Language of New Media, I will be talking about how the 5 principles affects our project.

Image result for tent with pillows and fairy lights

This project is conducted in a quiet interstice place, for example a lonely corridor, where one is left to their thoughts and only their thoughts. They would then proceed to enter a small and cosy environment shaped like a small cube, where they will be comfortable enough to not worry about anything except being left alone with their own thoughts. This cube will be decorated with pillows and fairy lights; essentially a safe space for the participant. After watching a computer screen with a poem that would trigger them to type a message – about literally anything they want—they would then proceed out of the cube through another exit, and find themselves in another room where their thoughts are mapped out on a larger screen made out of suspended balloons in the room.

They will then be presented with various weapons that they can use to shoot down the balloons, which will then symbolize the destroying of certain thoughts that they might not like. Once they choose to shoot the balloons with their thoughts—or other people’s thoughts from previous rounds that has been left behind?—it represents that they have forgotten these thoughts. This is because ultimately, what we think in an interstice environment are usually not things that we actively think about, and are often flickering at just the back of our heads. The possibility of also destroying other people’s thoughts also gives way to a carthasis, where it might trigger some people to feel more than just indifference at the thought of their opinions being erased by a nobody.


Image result for algorithm

In a sense, our project does consist of numerical representations because the software- processing and Arduino- and the equipment used (Ultrasonic sensors and photoresistors) involved for us to transpose our code comprises of numbers and algorithms even though they might be random. There is also an algorithm when we transfer the files from one screen to another (from the computer screen, where the computer detects the participant typing their message, towards the balloons where the message would be depicted on).


Image result for modularity

Modularity occurs in our project because our project is essentially a whole chain of commands with endless possibilities before it gets to its ‘completion’. From the entering of the participant into the safe space, to typing their message, to the message being transposed onto the balloons, to the participant coming out of their safe space and into the larger room, to shooting down the balloons – these are all a smaller part of a “fractal structure”. It is not necessarily solely online, but also an offline experience because the project is ultimately one that combines both the third space and the physical. Yet, these actions retain their autonomy even if they are removed and placed in another project, because while they are dependent on one another, they can also be independent with the right codes transposed.


Image result for automation

Automation in our project is derived from how the confessions are being generated on the screen, simply by keying in the words from another computer screen. Even the playing of the music and the poetry and the video on the participant’s computer is a form of automation that takes place without the participant having to actively search for a function trigger it. The disappearing of the confessions once the balloons have been popped is also a way where automation has taken place—efficiently, and without extreme participation on the participants’ intentions.


Image result for variables

There are many variables involved in our project as well. From the kind of thoughts people would put into the system when they type their confessions out, to how many thoughts they choose to put into the system, and whether they choose to shoot certain words down in the shooter gallery. All these variables will essentially affect how the entire interaction would turn out, and because of this, numerous different results can happen since every person is different and have their own sense of thinking and behaviours. Even the placement of their confessions on the screen may be randomized and different for every person even though they are not exactly random. Another way of seeing a variable is also about how each person feels about the interaction at each time when they read the different confessions, which should vary each time a participant enters the balloon space.


Related image

Transcoding happens in our project because there is a certain amount of participation required of both the participant and the digital side of things. There is an entire sequence, as can be viewed from the above explanations, which has to be followed in order for the experiment to be successful or in some way ‘completed.’ The information that gets transferred from the participant to the computer, for example, is also a form of ‘transcoding’ because there is data from the participants (the confessions) that gets transferred onto the screen, which is a ‘computer’. In a sense, the culture from a participant can get influenced onto the computer’s depiction of the confessions, which intermingles the two cultures together.


Inspiration #1: U-Topia, projection mapping, act 2: the constellation of words are crumblingU-Topia, projection mapping, act 2: the constellation of words are crumbling


U-Topia, an art installation premised on the crumbling and disintegration of certain words, only to be accumulated in a pile at the bottom of the projection mapping is one example which resembles our project; Confessions. The algorithm required for some words to crumble and for some words to remain static is a form of numerical representation, and the code required for it to be instructed to behave this way is also a form of modularity and automation.

Inspiration #2: "Confessions" by Candy Chang

anonymous confessions

anonymous confessions

Exposing Thousands of Anonymous Confessions

Confessions, an installation which coincidentally has the same name as our current project, features random participants entering a small booth and writing their deeper thoughts before displaying them on a whole range of hooks for anyone to read and access. Resembling our project, Confessions (Candy Chang Version) requires transcoding but in an offline fashion where the participant writing down their messages and its manual display on the hooks (serving as a sort of digital screen) serves as a form of data transfer. Variables are also similar, because the thoughts that are being displayed in both versions of Confessions (ours vs Chang) are totally dependent on the thoughts and freedom of the participant. The placement of the messages (ours vs Chang) is also in a way randomized, hence creating another changeable variable.

Night Lights Festival | Interaction Designs



  • Interaction created for participants
  • Intention of this interaction
  • Can you identify the anatomy of this interactive system?

The Leap of Faith by Teng Kai Wei

Faith is taking that first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase, trusting that it will lead you to your desired destination. Oftentime, we underestimate the importance of how every little step we take paves the way to a complete and fulfilling life journey.

Teng kai wei shows how we grow stronger from difficult situations, and how the experience gained allows us to navigate better and closer to our dreams. That, in itself, is the sweetest life brings- when we take the leap of faith.

This installation is awarded under the singapore night festival’s open call.

The interaction for this art piece starts from seeing the big Chinese character for ‘people’, representing one’s lifetime. Coming closer, it is as though you are approaching the inside of your life. Each step lights up when you step on it, indicating how you succeed lighting up and completing that step in life. When you leap from one step to one that is further away, it is seen as though you have succeeded in overcoming a difficult hurdle in life. The interaction created seems to allow someone to experience going through their life from start to end, sometimes allowing them to cross different paths (different decisions they make in life) in a physical representation. Every step taken is important in paving out life journey, and we are the ones making that decision each time. I assume that this art piece is a creation from pressure sensors and touch sensors which triggers the lights. While I couldn’t really complete the path properly because there were so many kids playing, but looking at the kids repeatedly play makes me wonder if it would be possible to interpret that as the kids not giving up in going on their path of life.


Ember Rain by Starlight Alchemy


Create a mesmerizing downpour of sparkling embers as you pedal on a bicycle in this interactive fire sculpture. The sparks generated represent catalysts of ideation and innovation, while the tower’s lotus-shaped petals symbolize the rebirth, purity and beauty of ideas flowing through space.

Ember Rain is meant to symbolize the rebirth, purity and beauty of ideas flowing through space whenever you work hard into creating them. The sparks, raining down when one pedals on the bicycle linked with a pulley system to shake the sparks down, are beautiful and illuminated in the night sky. The audience will get to feel that they have to physically, tirelessly work their feet off in order to keep the beauty of ideas flowing- nothing is free in this world. These embers are mesmerising to look at, showing how the human brain is so capable of creating equally beautiful ideas. The harder you paddle, the more sparks will rain down and prove themselves true. This intimate humanity is also further emphasized by how the cycling was not exactly smooth (has obstacles), how the sparks imitate a flower growing, and how you have to work for the wishes you put into the bucket.

Research Critique 1: Introduction to Interactive I


Questions, I guess:

  1. What is the situation or interaction created for the participants?
  2. What is the intention for this interaction?
  3. Come up with 3 thoughtful questions that will benefit the class with regards to today’s topic.

One of my favourite artistes involved in Interactive Media has to be Blast Theory. Their projects are intriguing, deep and affectionate.

Sandra Carluccio at The Royal Albert Memorial Museum


Image from

Ghostwriter (2011)

Other than its very attractive name, Ghostwriter is a very intriguing project to me because of how it makes use of your 5 senses to create a wholesome experience.

According to Blast Theory on their official website,

” Visitors ring in and hear a woman whose voice gently draws you into the museum. She describes her surroundings and they seem to match yours. She describes an object in front of her and talks about its role in her life. But this line between her surroundings and yours is unstable. At times she says things that suggest she is somewhere else looking at a different object. And you can interact with her, jumping in time and space or even making a recording of your own about an object that resonates in your life.
Ghostwriter has echoes of the museum guide, of the radio heard late at night and of the writing of Paul Auster. It has a spare, metaphysical style that is part detective novel and part internal monologue. Its ghostly tenor and rich atmosphere act as a mysterious lure towards the reinvented RAMM. “

As the audience, you listen as the lady speaks to you, and she describes your very surroundings as though she is right there with you- the smell of the area, the colours, the lighting, the atmosphere, etc. It is eerily mysterious, yet you are tempted to find out more and to experience what she sees. I guess one of the intriguing points of this project is about how different people have different mindsets and thinking. No two person have the exact train of thought. As a result, we become curious and yearn to find out more about what another is thinking about, and to compare how they interpret things.

The situation created for the participants is one where they are able to observe their surroundings, and they are able to put in their own train of thoughts, through communicating with the main voice that has been conversing with them and spelling out their emotions while being in the same environment.

Then intention is most probably to create a quiet atmosphere where participants can be deep in their own thoughts while also having someone almost telepathically involved with them on a more emotional level.

I’d Hide You

Image retrieved from

I’d Hide You (2012)

This project is one of the more exciting ones they’ve done, me thinks.

According to their site, it is about:

“In I’d Hide You, see the world through the runners eyes as they stream video: ducking and diving, chatting to passersby, taking you down the back alleys to their secret hiding places. And play against your friends online at the same time. Use your wits to choose which runner to ride with. Get a snap of another runner onscreen without getting snapped and you score a point. Get snapped by someone else and you lose a life.”

This is almost like a virtual reality stage for the participants because they are very physically involved with their interactions with other players. They have to communicate while physically avoiding and attacking other players, which allows them to utilize everything they have- their own thoughts, their environment, and even their intelligence. The situation then becomes a thriller movie for each player. The intention for this project is probably to make participants be involved in both passive and active ways, and as a result causing an interaction that is very stimulating.