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.
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…
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.
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…)
THE HELLISH PROCESS OF MAKING AMIGARA BOX:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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:
- To create a longer tunnel, with different objects in place to poke people.
- 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…
- Consider using objects that are representative of pressure if I want variety!
YEY PROJ 1 ENDDEDDDD.