Filmbox: Captive




1m x 1m x 1m Installation 

Filmbox: Captive has been an adventure for me, filled with both surprises and failures. It required a lot of hardware work, and the outcome is probably one of the most polished work I have done on a project.

Review previous documentation here.

Project Description:

Taking the idea of a box which looks just like any other box from the outside, but contains a pandora box’s worth of experiences inside, <Filmbox: Captive> is an installation piece dedicated to telling a Hypophonic narrative. It absorbs the audience into an environmental storytelling scenario, mastered with barely any sight, and mainly with sounds and touch.

<Filmbox: Captive> is a project focusing on the topic of pressure, a follow up from <Amigara Box>, a tunnel where one must traverse while blindfolded and being tangled up with spikes. Through a participant’s own actions and decisions, they will trigger follow-up actions that might cause discomfort and deny one the autonomy of expectations and reversal. The denial of freedom to regain comfort easily is my representation of pressure, especially in our pressure cooker society today.

Disclaimer: If you are afraid of bright lights, loud sounds and have claustrophobia, do not attempt.



Filmbox was born from the idea of having numerous, identical looking cubes which produces a different narrative from each box, akin to a pandora’s box. In my project, which revolved around Pressure, I decided to do it based on “Captive”, where the participant will experience first hand the environment of someone who has been held captive and has no idea where they are.

Captive’s purpose is to trap the individual. They can barely see, and they cannot move their limbs. Any possible movements will set off a series of discomfort which they don’t know how to stop (intense flashing lights). The track also gets progressively disturbing, but they cannot remove it as well. This idea of taking away autonomy and possibilities is the pressure I am focusing on based on my prequel project, Amigara Box.



Captive is placed at a location resembling an alleyway. It takes its idea from murder victims being dumped in alleyways or dumpsters with no one to care about them until they start to rot and smell. It is a location where people will just walk past without thinking much about it.

Through the 9 minute long experience, they are free to try to escape or figure out the narrative that is being played.

Each participant is given a pair of bluetooth headphones (supposedly noise cancellation but my newly bought Xiaomi ones apparently cheated my feelings) and will be chained up and padlocked around the ankles and wrists.

The participant is first covered with the white bag, before they are chained up and padlocked. The process is made to be loud, so that the participant is already immersed. I chose to have metal walls utilizing steel sheets which are -oof- really heavy. To make the box, I drilled them into very hard cardboard structures.

Biju in the box!

Kristy in the box!

The idea of using metal is because it is very cold and hard, which will make the participant feel that they are entrapped and cannot possibly crash out of the box even if they feel too uncomfortable. It adds on to the feeling of being trapped. I also used silver tape to secure the edges of the box to make it seem welded and hence adding onto the  feeling of impossibility of escaping.

Taping the edges because man they are sharrrrrp.

A narrative track is then played, which is actually a holophonic environmental track which lures the participant into the environment it emulates. I mixed the track with consideration of timing, direction and distance, which creates a more immersive experience.

The tracks are all clipped from non-copyright sounds as well as my own voice.

A white cloth bag is also dumped over their head, with LED lights attached to it. This is linked to an ultrasonic sensor, which will set off rapidly flashing lights right in the participant’s peripheral once the sensor detects movement from the participant. This is very disorienting, and being the supposed sadist I am, I decided to add this element into the experience.

My initial plan was to lace the box with LED lights instead which would make the experience more handsfree, but my wires screwed up hours before presentation. Hence, I decided to make a bag instead and do away with my initial idea of having a blindfold that is not very secure.

I did this for nothing…



I was unable to man the space constantly during Showcase Day, so I went home the previous night and modified the code a bit. I removed the LED mask, and replaced it with an LED strip at the entrance of the cage door. I left the cage door slightly ajar, and the constantly blinking LED Strip would make it seem like there was activity in the box. (You can see this from the trailer).

I also added multiple chains around the cage to “lock it up”, and left my speaker inside the cage to play the narrative. In this way, anyone walking past will hear the morbid crying sounds etc and it creates a holophonic experience for passerby instead. It becomes a “what is going on in that box, who is in there? what is going on” kind of horror jumpscare preview instead of a “go in and scream the heck out of everything help I cannot escape” experience.

Apparently, I scared a few teachers whose offices were round the corner… They thought someone was inside crying about being unable to finish their finals….

The feedback for this project was about how the dragging of the chains I made when I locked the box up and how I locked the participant’s sensory perceptions up was good in scaring them a little. The cold metal touch and the heavy walls were also great. However, the soundtrack could have been less noisy (more intermittent silences) and could have utilized more environmental sounds rather than man-made sounds. Something like wind gushing and stuff… And also using an unknown language to converse in the soundtrack, kind of like Russian maybe? I have overall learnt a lot from this project, and would definitely take these into conceptualization in further projects.


Thank you to everyone who made this project possible 😀

p.s I swear I am not a sadist….



Final Project | Digital | FilmBox: Captive [Idea Dump]


Image result for metal box

For my Final Project idea, my previous idea of modifying my tunnel has been rejected. Hence, I decided to come up with a new concept which was more abstract and kind of went the opposite way of the tunnel, which was to construct a box. This box was a simulation of someone being held captive. On the outside, it looks like an ordinary carton box. However, once the user enters the box, they will experience absurd light and sounds triggered with their movement. However, this idea was partially rejected, as it lacked rhythm, which would possibly result in boredom.

Hence, after having 3am shower thoughts, I decided not to pressure myself anymore even though pressure and leaving someone with little means of the common expectation was the point of the project (haha).

My amended idea is known as FilmBox: Captive. It is the concept of a narrative story where the participant is in its physical space, possibly experiencing the story. Each experience is estimated to be around 3-5 minutes. This concept gives birth to many possible narratives and these narratives can be experienced just by being in one box that seems normal from the outside, but since my project is about pressure, my narrative for the project will be “Captive”– to be held captive and to be trapped in an unknown environment. This project will revolve around a Holophonic sound environment as the main theme, as well as a concealment of sight.

Example of a Holophonic Track:

FilmBox: Captive starts off with entering the 1mx1mx1m box as previously mentioned. While the outside looks like an old and abandoned carton box, the inside is actually 6 walls worth of heavy metal walls, unseen from the outside. One should go into the experience barefooted. They will then feel the cold metal, and the echos that will resound if they spoke out loud. The inspiration for the box is from the Pandora Box (anything can happen from that one tiny box, regardless how wild or imaginative) and from Murder Cases I studied during Forensic Science lectures, where murdered victims were usually disposed of in pieces and dumped in cardboard boxes.

Before entering the box, the participant has to be blindfolded (but not completely; with peripherals unobstructed) and they will wear a pair of Bluetooth earphones. They will also be tied up at their wrists and their ankles. Chains are left in the box for a physical touch. When the experience begins, they will expect a narrative to be played out in a very obscure manner through their headphones. Their movements can then trigger the narrative to play in a different way (e.g. someone screaming in pain), leaving the participant in confusion. LED Lights will also flash rapidly and brightly at certain parts of the narrative, which will cause the participant to become more confused and disoriented because they may not know what it is they did which set off these events.

This will be done using LED light strips (Arduino) and Processing (for music track triggers). I am still considering if I should include ultrasonic sensors in my installation, linked to different hotspots where distances are closely measured to trigger events. But as of now, my idea revolves around a more atmospheric and passive experience rather than an active one.

Final Project | Amigara Box V.02 | digitalized


Following the previously considerably successful Amigara Box with its focus on inflicting pain to cause pressure and discomfort, I would like to further the experience of going through pressure.

Being a physical tunnel, I am in lacking of resources and space to create a longer tunnel, or one that has even more items inside. Hence, I decided that instead of lengthening the experience, I will focus on amplifying the journey experienced in the tunnel.

To do this. I will focus on the


Reviewing my previous project, I blinded the participant, and made them go through pain when they are poked by the barbs. In this sense, I have covered sight and touch, and I will retain these qualities with further additions. What I am left with sound, taste and smell.

With the little time left, there are several ideas I have in my head. I don’t know if I am able to achieve all of these within the month I have left, but I would hope to achieve at least most of it in one way or another.



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The participant will remain blindfolded until they have completed their journey in the tunnel, as it messes with their perceptions quite effectively. Teehee.



Image result for glue gun stringy glue

I intend to add more annoying substances such as a glue gun’s stringy webs, threads and a cushioned ground to create instability when travelling through the tunnel, which can put one off their mental and physical balance.


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Furthermore, I intend to use a buzzer module or vibration module along with a RFID scanner. The participant will wear a strap on with a vibration module attached to it. The vibrations will start when they enter the experience. The longer they stay in the tunnel, the more often the vibrations will start to buzz, eventually annoying and alerting the participant like how we get alarmed by the phone alarm triggering off.


Image result for rfid meme

The only way to stop the buzzing is to get to the end of the tunnel, where there will be an RFID Scanner on the table. At the start of the tunnel, the participant will be given a “Key” to unlock the reason why a painful life can be worth it. This key is the tap-tap thingy for the RFID Scanner. Upon scanning the key fob onto the scanner, the vibrations should stop and provide peace and quiet finally.


Image result for led bulb string

If I have more time or if I can work this out, I intend to even put certain touch sensors (or FSR sensors, need see which one is cheaper) at some of the flowers and LED bulbs will be attached to the flowers. Touching these sensors will cause the whole string of LED bulbs (soldered together) to pulse lightly for a while, which will create a more magical effect. The participant can then even lie down on the cushioned ground to rest and enjoy the lights against the flowers in the dark, cosy room.



Image result for distance meme

I intend to include ultrasonic sensors in my project to trigger recordings. Since the tunnel is 4m long, I will put an ultrasonic sensor at every meter of the tunnel. This is linked to an arduino bluetooth module, which will ideally trigger a recording featuring horrible naggings and scoldings (about societal pressure) or just uncomfortable sounds (like screaming, things banging). Each time the ultrasonic sensor detects the person passing by, it will play the recording. At every ultrasonic sensor, it will play a more annoying and loud recording. Alternatively, I will be using bluetooth headphones along with processing for the recordings to work.

If I manage to make it work, the participant will be listening to the recordings via earpiece for a more immersive experience. Otherwise, it will just be played out loud in a speaker… I will see how it goes.

Should my ultrasonic sensors not work together at the same time due to a lack of connectivity or power, I will use only one ultrasonic sensor. This ultrasonic sensor will be placed at the end of the tunnel facing the entrance (hence vertically) instead of horizontally, like I would have placed the 3-4 ultrasonic sensors at.

To stop the recordings, the participant has to reach the end of the tunnel, where there is a table. He will have to reach out to switch the fairy lights on and there will be an ultrasonic sensor attached just before the switch. Once it detects the hand’s presence, it will stop the recordings.


This is often associated with smell, so I will elaborate further under smell.



Image result for fire meme

Assaulting the sense of smell is something that can be quite sensitive for different people, especially since it is said that taste can be imagined from smell alone. I actually have the idea of utilizing the smell of smoke to generate a panicky feeling, but I realized that it might set off the smoke alarm instead… I will have to see what I can do about how are other ways I can use to generate an unpleasant smell that will not be overly unpleasant.

Other things I will have to think about is how to create reset triggers and stop triggers…


Everything is actually as stated in the picture draft above! But to sum it up:

LED Light Bulbs: To be soldered together in a long strip like fairy lights, and connected to an arduino. We are looking at about 20 bulbs. This will be linked to 3 force sensitive resistors attached to three points throughout the tunnel.

RFID: To be placed on the switch box on the table. The fob will be fashioned into a key to stop the vibration upon tapping. To be linked to a different arduino from the switch box.

Fairy Lights Switch: To be placed in a switch box together with an ultrasonic sensor. Once the ultrasonic sensor detects a distance, it will stop the recording. (I hope there’s a way to name the ultrasonic sensors such that only the fourth one will trigger this effect..) To be operated by an arduino; the same one used for the other ultrasonic sensors.

Ultrasonic Sensors: We are looking at either one OR three depending on which works better! To be operated by the same arduino used for the tabletop arduino. The distance detected will trigger the recordings.

Bluetooth Recordings: Will be triggered as above, but I will use processing to play the music from my laptop, which will be played for the participant via bluetooth headphones. This will minimize wire entanglement.

Vibration Strap: This will be fashioned into a velcro wearable for the participant, either as a chest sash or a belt. The vibration module will be stuck in there. Actually I may do it the other way around where the RFID sensor is on the chest sash instead and the key is on the table in the light box that can be opened after the lightswitch has been switched on.

Digital Materials needed: 

1 Arduino for Chest Sash & RFID (with own power source; maybe powerbank?)

1 Arduino for ultrasonic sensors (linked to laptop)

1 Arduino for LED Bulbs (linked to battery box)

x1 battery box

x20 LED Bulbs with soldering in place

x1 powerbank

x1 laptop

x5 ultrasonic sensors (1 more just in case)

x1 RFID Scanner & Fob

x1 Chest Sash velcroed

x3 breadboards

Sh*t ton of wires and other connective components.

Tunnel Construction: This will be done smarter this time. I will be attaching the barbs and flowers to the metal coils first, and also be attaching the bamboos to the white pillars before leaning them against the corridor’s wall ( will not do against banisters again because it’s pretty dangerous imo).

Most of these arduino technology are things that I am going to work with for the first time and these ideas are pretty wild, so I’m not sure if they will happen. But I will try my best and see what I can do.

Image result for this is fine meme

Oh boyyy.

Project 1 | Analogue | Amigara Box



After many painful shower nights and sleepless nights, my project 1: analogue for Interactive Spaces evolved dramatically from the Venting Room. I had to make a more abstract piece of work, and since the sensei-s enjoyed my idea of dealing with <Pressure>, I had to find a way to make people pressurized in my project instead of dealing with it. That is, to force them to gamble on a stake they would not want to risk losing. I still had to worry about how to digitalize this in the Final Project.

After many rejected ideas, I decided to do a tunnel of sorts. One which causes PAIN as the stake I have selected– Because it was the most affordable form of thing that people would not want to risk experiencing.

Image result for anime pain funny

Not this Pain though.

The form of the tunnel evolved in many ways depending on my budget and material flexibility and many, many splinters in my hands (I had to go to fullerton for the doc to pull the wood out), but in the end I made it somehow after dying for 2 weeks…


amigara box


2 meters x 4 meters

wood, aluminium, cotton, paper


1) Do not enter unsupervised.

2) Be careful. Go slow.

3) For the full experience, do not remove your blindfold except upon quitting or completion.

4) To quit the experience, shout “BOX OUT” and the moderator will assist your exit.

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The Enigma of Amigara Fault by Junji Ito

Inspired by Junji Ito’s “The Enigma of Amigara Fault“, <Amigara Box> is a project which starts with a black and white entrance symbolizing life and death. The 4 meters long tunnel enclosed in darkness symbolizes your lifespan. The name “Empty Shell” from Amigara is also symbolic of how life is an empty box until you make something out of it.

One has to go through it blindfolded, and reach the other end of the tunnel to switch on a the light to the fairy lights. The purpose of the blindfold is a symbolic measure for how we are blind when we go through life, not knowing what to predict or expect with 100% guarantee.










As the participant travels through the tunnel, they have to get through twines of barbs made out of toothpicks. As they travel further down, the barbs will increase substantially. These barbs symbolize the difficulties we go through in life; the more we age, the more of these difficulties we will face be it health, social or occupational. The pain caused by the barbs can be so much that people do not feel like continuing on with their journey through the tunnel.

Okay I’m going to be honest… it was pretty satisfying hearing everyone go ‘ouch!’ or ‘aaarrrggraaahhh’ or ‘OWW’ during their journey through the tunnel. But they call me a sadist. Hmm… I wonder why….

However, once the person finishes the journey and switches on the light, they will look back and realize that all the difficulties faced to get to the end has all been worth it, represented by the beauty of the flowers illuminated by firefly-looking fairy lights on the wires (that actually existed but you can’t see it with the blindfold on and can only feel pain from the barbs).

There are 82 flowers in the whole tunnel, representing the average lifespan of a Singaporean; each flower represents a year gone through, and a milestone reached in life. The final layer in the project is represented by the concentration of barbs in the torso area of an adult. This is because a child going through the tunnel will not feel as much pressure due to their lack of responsibilities as a kid, hence less pain. (supposedly, theoretically, exception of kids who has been through a lot in life already…)



My initial idea was a total flop. It was to create mental pressure through a tunnel which had straight wires that would constrict a person’s movements. No fairy lights, and that the barbs will be on the straight wires instead.

aaaaaaarrggghhhh this was 12am on Friday night……

First, my bamboo structure planned by my dad and I just kept falling over for 6 hours and finally the bolt and screw decided to break off from the bamboo poles themselves and elope for good. Oh, bless.

“Shall we elope, my love?”

“yes, my romeo!”












And then I tried to use replacement wood and got splinters instead… and had to visit Fullerton Health to get it yanked out with a needle digging through my finger and the blood wouldn’t stop.

it really hurt for the next few days

Finally i decided to change the structure of the tunnel with what I had! I improvised and changed the bamboos up by rearranging them into a shelter instead.

da shelter

Next, I tried to get the Aluminium bendable wires together and straighten them from the bamboos. That… clearly did not work… Untangling them was like untangling a pack of dogs that severely need training.


After 3 hours, I gave up and went: you know what? Since you REFUSE to straighten and I didn’t have a drill with me, I SHALL MESS YOU UP FURTHER.

the curly doggos

Hence, I decided to curl them around the bamboos instead and made it sooo annoying to get through.

Next, I decided to make the barbs for my tunnel. I decided to use toothpicks because I was broke, even though it took hours and days to finish them. I crossed two toothpicks together and glue gunned the middle together for it to stick. I made close to a thousand of these, including my 82 flowers and some consisting cotton for a soft and comforting allure. I had to use a pair of scissor-pliers to snip off both ends of every single toothpicks as well, because sanding them down tore my sandpaper instead.  (T w T)

this was only the beginning of hell

glue is drying~

I would eventually tie twines to them to hang them off my aluminium wires in the tunnel. Btw, my scissor-pliers broke after this project. I guess the wires were too much for it to handle and it decided to say goodbye to me because it had enough of my sh*t.

Next, it was time for setting up!

After positioning my structure at the corridor near the lounge, I started to set everything up and hang them up. It was really hard work, but watching it come to life by 4pm on Tuesday (presentation day) made it all so worth it as well as seeing my friends get tortured under the barbs but still exclaim that it was pretty cool and fun.

In all honesty, it was pretty sad to tear it all down after Tuesday’s presentation had ended because I spent sooo much time on it with trial and error + near misses with death, but I would seriously consider more convenient ways of constructing the space with greater pace for Final Project.

Some feedback given to me were:

  1. To create a longer tunnel, with different objects in place to poke people.
  2. To create a second tunnel linking up to this first tunnel, and the participant goes in blindfolded. But there’s absolutely nothing in the tunnel…
  3. Consider using objects that are representative of pressure if I want variety!



Analogue Project 1 | Ideation


My Personal Objectives: To Overwhelm and subvert the 5 senses and one’s perception


Image result for fragment room

<The Venting Room>, also affectionately coined by me as <“DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!”> is essentially a room for people to… vent. However, it is not just any normal venting room like the Fragment Room, but one that is reliever from the pressure of school and social expectations. To blend together with a social construct.

The objective of my object is to represent the pressure of meeting expectations.

How do you live life? What must you do to be constituted as “correct”? No, you cannot do this! No, you cannot do that! You must do this! Have you finished your homework! You are only a good boy if you finish studying for 10 hours per day! You have to behave yourself in front of others! You must always be nice even if people offend you!


If life was made to be full of rules, then I will break them all!!

The Venting Room is split into three partitions; the Study, the Classroom, and the Networking Room. Through all rooms, there will be a fixed music playing in the background featuring really annoying nagging about social constructs e.g. “Have you done your homework? Do you want to sign up for this extra tuition class? Bobby have one mark higher than you for this exam eh, why are you so useless? Omg you know Vivian has this superrr rich boyfriend who buys her everything and drives a Maserati, what are you doing with your life?” etc.

Start, 3:11-4:55

The Study

Image result for crying while studying

In the Study, there will be a single table, a single chair, a clock overhead, and propaganda school posters such as “Every School is a Good School!” There will be several assessment books and stationery in the room as well.

The Study or the bedroom is a place where an individual has to stay in most of the time to study and study and study without taking a break just because their parents say so. “Study until you become doctor, don’t talk to me until you doctor.” Heard of this phrase?

Screw studying though, why not just thrash everything and scream!

The Classroom

Image result for getting scolded in classroom by teacher

There will be a single chalkboard in the room (just cardboard with acrylic paint actually…) and there will be chalk available for scribbling on the board.

Yadda, yadda… solve the sums on the board, and if I don’t I will be scolded as being stupid or assumed that I’m not paying attention in class even though I just don’t understand how to do it… then I get kicked out of class and sent to detention because of it.


The Networking Session

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It is a room filled with balloons, party poppers and confetti strings, which is representative of the high life, parties and celebrations. It is the place where most social gatherings take place at.

This is the place where social obligations take place! If you turn up for these events, you give people a chance to insult you and what you have been doing with life while they show off their niece’s 5th husband who gave her 3 BMWs for her birthday. If you don’t turn up, people will think that you are rude, or that you are too ashamed to turn up because you are not doing well in life and don’t want people to question it. You don’t have a choice anyway, so why not go there and make a ruckus?

With these three rooms set up, the goal is to VENT! One goes into each room, stepping into the shoes of a tired and fed up student and young person who has to deal with life. One is expected to do the things that makes the person great in societal’s expectations and acceptance. But what if you subvert their expectations and ruin everything and tell them to screw off?

With this subversion of logic and theory, one can go into this interactive space and indulge in the annoyance and irritation they feel from the nagging and the mundane, dull yet familiar space they see. This is an opportunity for them to feel release and feel pleasure upon doing the things they obviously cannot do in a real setting (or else they will get arrested for vandalism or property damage or something). The room will not be reset after the first person. The next person can come and view the damage that has been done by the first person, and add on to the damage caused. By not resetting the room, it will give the next audience an insight of how the previous participant felt, and how he viewed “venting” as. In a sense, this is an analogue open sourced project for causing property damage together…

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This one in a lifetime opportunity to ruin the place that gives you the most misery is here!! Be sass, do your best, and be yourself!


Illuminating Embodiment by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer : Hemmer’s Relational Architectures



Instability, Fluctuation and Re-imagination.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer focuses on the panopticon and surveillance; where “bodies, buildings, cities and technologies are conceptually and functionally interconnected”. Every day, we interact with technology and are reliant on technology to carry on with our daily lives whether it is transport, crafting documents, or having a conversation with someone else across the planet.

In his art, Lozano-Hemmer aims to deal with the body as “a performance, a process of becoming, of change, and less interested in physiognomy, anatomy, forensics and physical ergonomics.” Through re-contextualising the context of a specific building, he makes use of the concept he coined; relational architecture. This happens where the audience relates to the visual and auditory events predetermined by the artist. Physical involvement with the art piece creates a form of organic-technological art which can also be seen as biopolitics. Lozano-hemmer makes use of robotically controlled projectors, widely accessible computer systems, mobile phones, radios and custom-made software to conduct this experience. Architecture then becomes less solid and rigid, and makes room for a more virtual perception of itself. It becomes a lived existence for the audience interacting with it. 

Displaced Emperors, through wireless 3D trackers for instance, allowed for an individual to undergo duo-culture experience in an immersive environment. It made use of the 5 senses (mainly perception of touch (and what it can affect), sights and sounds). The installation brings in experiences and materials from outside a fixed culture and converts the building into something more than just a piece of dead matter. Flexibility and Imagination has been put into the building to make it more than just a building. It provides cultural exchange, learning and commemoration without distance getting in the way. In a way I feel that this is a plus point for biotechnology despite the possibility of it making us more cyborg-like. This experience does not interfere with us as people perceiving culture and encourages greater learning which reduces our focus on technology.

Through interaction with technology and the human perception, Lozano-Hemmer was able to play around with scale and subverted expectations, which made his works so unique and created a new world between organic human interactions and what technology can provide. As Henry Lefevre says; social activities constructed and gave meaning to space. To me, space is perceived differently and becomes a whole new idea because of how society reacts to it. These human activities are enhanced through technology, which also helps people to perceive its effects visually such as in Lozano-Hemmer’s Frequency and Volume where technology being used is being recorded and visually traced.


To me, it is not surprising to me that human perceptions and reactions through technology can create an active response as shown in Lozano-Hemmer’s works. Technology has already become such a big part of our lives. Almost everything we do involves technology; even the toilet flush. While it can aid us in improving the way we do things, I feel that too much of it can be detrimental instead because we become lazier and more dependent on technology to make things work. 

Ultimately, in an experimental art sense it is very interesting and unique but I hope that it does not displace traditional art and representation, just like how it should not override the globe with its over-reliability.

Critical Vehicles by Krzysztof Wodiczko


Vehicles. To be a carrier, as a medium to convey ideas or emotions.

In Critical Vehicles: Writings, Projects, Interviews by Krzysztof Wodiczko, we understand that the Polish artist specializes in large-scale public slide and video projections. This is done on numerous celebratory architecture and monuments, in relation to his idea of “bodification” of architecture, turning these structures into critical vehicles; one of self-critics.

Image result for homeless projections

To him, vehicles “served as a means of enacting (and warning against) the oppressiveness of a psycho-social machine”. He explains that one is not truly aware of being subjects of oppression until they are exposed to this fact can they understand how dependent and incapacitated they are as individuals against the autocratic system as ruled in Poland. 

In his works. Wodiczko aims to uncover the conditions of life under the delusion of freedom– where one seeks refuge under a political or cultural entity as an excuse for their individual passivity. Andrzej Turowski calles this ideosis— the commonsense life of well-calculated choices for navigating through the system by claiming a critical or independent perspective on it.

In a sense, I think what Wodiczko is trying to portray in his works by projecting on cultural and political buildings is about the petrification of individuals and their personal thought process. Their individuality is sacrificed in order to protect themselves under the larger umbrella of a cultural or political entity. In a sense, these monuments which represent the cultural or political entity ironically becomes alive despite being dead matter; they are living in place of the people who have thrown away their individuality and ideas and are hence stagnant and in stasis. 

Nationalism? One people, One nation? Who cares when individuality and self-protection is lost along the way?

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In his works for instance Homeless Projections and then Homeless Vehicle, it was a mockery of American Freedom as the homeless die of wounds and malnutrition. Such a social commentary is one of the reasons why I felt that Wodiczko was trying to mock society about what they perceive as safety and perfection; trying to advocate largely established point of views can very well lead to one’s death instead. He calls this “Nationalistic Madness” and I agree with him. 

Perfection? I call bulls**t.

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In Homeless Vehicles and Projections, they tell us the story about how being homeless is not a choice, even though the government “pretends” to offer help; one might end up suffering even more under a shelter. People would rather run free on their own to avoid such dehumanizing, prison-like treatment. The government does not offer them opportunities to get back on their feet either. In a sense, once you are out of the system they call society, it is very hard to get back in. You are treated as an outsider, and you are abused by society’s lordings. And people who live well do not bother with these “trivialities” simply because it does not concern them because they are one with the general social sentiments. Pretty stupid in my opinion.

In my opinion, humans are slowly becoming cyborgs. We listen and abide by the rules of society. We are becoming increasingly dependent on social constructions, and live our lives based on that. The everyday cycle we put ourselves through turns us into mundane robots functioning on food, water and oxygen. This is also a part of us losing our individuality. This is aligned with Wodiczko’s projects The Alien Staff and Mouthpiece (Porte-Parole), where it portrays an authoritarian machine. “The instruments provides prosthetic devices, counter-machines that empower the wearer, in cyborgian fashion, to survive and transform the conditions of his or her social existence.” This essentially conveys to us that humans are becoming less vital in their social existence. To put it in extremity, the world can function with robots and without humans (in a sense) one day.

As sad as reality can be, I find this to be closely relatable to Singapore’s situation. We are constantly surrounded by high expectations in school and work in order to be productive for Singapore’s economy. The health of society’s progress is reliant on the deterioration of our own health. As cyborgs of society, we sacrifice ourselves in the name of hard work to make Singapore great and in turn, the government rewards us with some benefits which by the way do not make up for the shortening of our life spans from the lack of sleep and overworking. We become vehicles of work for society rather than being vehicles that can convey our emotions and thoughts properly.

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I just want to say I’m not on amos yee’s side btw I still don’t like him

Any wrong opinion can get you fired, expelled, or exiled from the organization and even the country. Look at the multiple political leaders and writers who can exiled from Singapore just for reciting their own opinions. Look at the disciplinary penalty we get just from being slightly off from the generic rules and regulations, such as not being able to take our exams just because we did not bring out matriculation cards by accident. Look at the amount of foreign expats flooding into Singapore and being able to purchase landed property with 2-3 cars per household while we have elderly Singaporeans still struggling to make a living and to feed themselves with porridge and canned food daily.

Image result for singaporean's poor

If you ask me, Singapore has gotten its priorities wrong a lot of times. Yet barely anyone speaks out about this. In Singapore, if someone pulls off something like Wodiczko did on the National Gallery building, I can promise that the person would be charged for political sentiments and would be put in jail or exiled.

#Reasons why I hate Singapore at times.

I would like to end off with a quote from the reading which I find very applicable and suitable of Wodiczko’s projection art:

“The aim of critical public art is neither a happy self-exhibition nor a passive collaboration with the grand gallery of the city, its ideological theater and architectural-social system. Rather, it is an engagement in strategic challenges to the city structures and mediums that mediate our everyday perception of the world; as engagement through aesthetic-critical interruptions, infiltrations, and appropriations that question the symbolic, psycho-political, and economic operations of the city. “

Siah Armajani Exhibition @ CCA: Reflections


SIAH ARMAJANI reflections

  • Reading Room No.3
  • Siah Armajani’s Films


Sacco & Vanzetti Reading Room No.3:

With the purpose of being functional and inviting, Iranian-born political activist Siah Armajani created a reading room that has a deeper meaning. Dedicating many of his works, including the display of books to poets, philosophers and political activists, he quietly and passively declares his political stance through art. His main art style revolves around American conceptual art, such as dealing with geometry.

Among many of his art pieces such as stippled art of tombs dedicated to different individuals (“The Tomb”) and mirrored bridges symbolizing an interstitial space that connects architecture and sculpture (“Street Corner 1 & 2”), the works that stuck with me the most were the Reading Rooms. 

Pencil Spikes,  shophouses converted into reading spaces, and spiked chairs to “relax” in. These are very unconventional uses to create a space meant for relaxation and indulging in complex texts. 

The room that caught my eye the most was the Fruit Store Reading Room. With only one square table and one planked chair in the room, it gave me a serenity and solitude akin to meditation. I felt like I could accomplish a lot just by sitting on that chair, putting my hands on the table, and looking out of the room through the fruit store’s open “window”.

On the shelves, it displayed a lot of novels Siah had dedicated to, and on one shelf, every single book on the shelf was a Poem Book. On the opposite shelf, every single book was about Anarchism and finally, on the bottom fruit rack outside the shop, every book was about Power play. I found this really interesting because it was as though Siah was trying to “sell” his ideas. The shopkeeper, in this sense, was Siah himself. 

At the other shop, its outlook featured a tobacco shop, and there were only two chairs facing each other inside. Sitting inside the space made me feel safe, as though I could share my ideas and opinions with the person sitting opposite me without fear of betrayal. I guess in a sense, this emulated the feelings of the two political activists who were executed via electric chairs for being… well, political. 

The Relaxation chair made out of Pencil Spikes was also particularly interesting ever since Kee Yong tried to sit on the chair and made a resounding pencil-breaking symphony from his attempt. Maybe the chair of spikes was a reflection of how it felt to be a political activist. On the front, it seems that life is fair and one can relax in their chair but underneath, one is actually lying on a bed of spikes rather than a bed of roses because they may be prosecuted any time for their political sentiments.


Siah Armajani’s Films:

Image result for siah armajani films gif

Regarding Siah Armajani’s Films, it took me several revisions at home to understand what it was trying to convey. Siah Armajani took a very modern approach in playing around with lines and other geometry to shift perspective and create points of departure. While some of them like Rotating Line was easier to understand, Before/After was a little more abstract. However, they eventually conveyed the same concept. 

Image result for siah armajani films

All in all, I found his concepts quite fresh, and at the same time brave, because he dared to create an art piece based on political sentiments. At the same time, his pieces gave me a homely effect from the way the structures were built on; earthly colours for its paints, old school buildings fashioned into reading rooms, olden day utensils, and even the iron bridges had an old-fashioned vibe spun into them. This homely effect could be seen as an attempt to communicate and bond with the masses to make them understand and be able to relate to what Siah is trying to portray.

Project 2 | Ideation | Evoke body & movement without actual presence in space


W3 Assignment:

1-2 Project Ideas that evoke the body and movement without them being present in the spaces.


Digital Idea#1: <The Little Travelling Notes We Leave Behind> / <Travelling Notes>

Image result for piano travelling

An arduino will power up a “piano” in a room, which is also linked to a touch sensor and recorder (Microphone). The “piano” is actually made up of various buttons that could be placed in various places. This will be placed in an enclosed space. Whenever a person enters the space for five minutes per period, they can feel free to press any of the buttons.

When the buttons are pressed down, it will record the sound that is played while also playing a specific sound out loud. This will carry on for a whole day or period. By the end of the period, all the recorded sounds can be compiled in sequence to create a “music track” that will be a representative of the “footsteps” visitors have left behind in the booth during their visit.

Image result for arduino piano


Analogue Idea#2: <“All Schools are Good Schools”>

Illustration for article titled Hardcore Studying in China Looks Absolutely Frightening


Revolving around the concept of how the government constantly emphasizes that “All Schools are Good Schools”, yet it is increasingly so that parents are dumping their kids in hoards of tuitions and additional classes, such an idealistic dream is clearly a flop. Every student is forced to study madly and compete with each other against the bell curve in order to get into a good school, or to make their CV look good with that 5.0 GPA. My idea will be a photographic representation of how much each student studies throughout a school year.

This Art Piece will be presented in the form of a photo collage consisting a grid of 26 by 26 photographs. 26 students, consisting Primary School, Secondary School, Junior College and University students will take part in this art collage. 

Image result for students studying hardcore

At the start of the school term and for every two weeks, each student will take a photo of the state of their study table at a consistent angle (the table they use the most for studying at home or dorms). Their study tables do not have to be the same table throughout; as long as it is a table they study at. It does not have to look pleasant either.

Image result for students studying hardcore

This will be carried out for a year and the photos will be collected. By the end of this project, each student will have submitted 26 photographs. 

Each photograph will then be arranged chronologically from Day 1 to Day 365. As shown below, each column depicts ONE person, while each row depicts each day for each photograph taken. I.e. P1 is Person 1, P2 is Person 2, etc. while P1.1 is Person 1’s first photo, P1.2 is Person 2’s second photo, etc.


*Note that there should be 26 squares, not just 10 as shown in the picture above. 

In that sense, once all the photos have been published, we can compare side by side how each student studies throughout the year; the number of books they study, the stationery they use, the number of foolscap paper pads they have already gone through, stale and fresh eraser dust still left behind, etc. This can even include the game consoles they play at their desks during study breaks or during vacations where they do not have to study, etc. We can compare such photos to those of extremely diligent students who still study during vacation. It will then be an artistic representation of a student moving through their days within a year while studying. 

Image result for photo collage of study tables

How hard do students actually study, then? Ultimately, it can depend on one’s individuality, or one’s home environment.

Suggested Ideas by Profs:

  1. Make physical rooms rather than photographs, many different rooms
  2. Auto-snap camera — more natural

Atmospheres by Peter Zumthor


Reading; Atmospheres by Peter Zumthor

Text Inference:

In this text, Atmosphere defines what moves a person. This can come in forms (objects, people, air, noises, sounds, colours, material presences, textures, forms, etc.), moods, feelings and sense of expectations.

Atmospheres by Peter Zumthor elaborates about how Zumthor visions and observes when he creates an atmosphere in the houses he builds. Philosophical ventures into poetic and meaningful  atmospheres always begin with a location that links to a person, a literary event or a motif. Beauty is also taken into account when an atmosphere is being analyzed, where Outer Beauty is a measure of things, proportions and materials and Inner Beauty is the core of things. 

Atmosphere is perceived through emotional sensibility, which is instinctual in humans. When this is carried out, we are thinking linearly, otherwise known as thinking in a mentally organised fashion. This is usually largely influenced by the five senses and through the common experience.

Architectural atmosphere is also largely influenced by craft and graft. An atmosphere is a body and anatomy, which is established through collecting different objects and materials  in the world, and combining them (craft & graft) to create space. 

Image result for atmospheres peter zumthor summary movement through space

This process also involves movement, where thought can come from how people move through spaces. An immersive atmosphere, in that sense, would be a space that you can enter and begin to feel that you could stay there and not just pass by without further thought. It is a spatial art, as well as a temporal art.

Image result for atmospheres peter zumthor summary movement through space

In atmospheric design, there are also loopholes, where they are imperceptible transitions between the inside and the outside of the atmosphere. The inside and the outside of an atmosphere should communicate an impression that sends a message. For example, a person who does not like being seen will not have glass windows. Proximity and Distance then comes into play, alongside light perceptions in order to have a balanced atmosphere.


Personal Thoughts:

Through this reading, I am further enlightened about how we should view the invisible aura residing in the areas we are in; that is none other than an ‘atmosphere’. 

In my opinion, while Zumthor argues that it is the surrounding body of meanings and objects that influences our perception of how atmosphere can be, it differs slightly from my point of view. I agree that the 5 senses and experiences we have faced in our daily trials (such as movement through familiar spaces) will allow people to come to a common understanding about how an atmosphere qualifies. 

However, rather than only the experiences we face daily, I feel that our feelings and perceptions are the main driving force of what defines an atmosphere. If things are arranged haphazardly and messily, it is our feelings that tells us that the atmosphere is disturbing and hence uncomfortable. Our reactions towards the treatment of our own comfort zones is the ruler towards measuring how much a location should affect us.



How do we then differentiate a human perception defined by the location/place around us, and one that is affected by our pure emotions only?