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4D II – Time, Space & Body [Sleep Debt]

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The significance of this project is to highlight the issue of sleep deprivation through physical form, of how much sleep and rest we have sacrificed to keep up with the hustling lifestyle and school work. Participants are students in NTU. We thought that this should be brought up since such unhealthy lifestyle is increasingly perceived as a norm and hence students have been neglecting sleep since they do not see it as of importance to their health.

According to The Straits Times, a SingHealth Polyclinics study reflects that “more than 40 per cent of Singaporeans do not get enough sleep on weekdays”.


Project Execution:

  • In the dark room, the whole venue will be generally filled with white balloons on the floor.
  • A table stands in the centre of the room. Above the set-up, a lamp droops over.
  • We place a clock on the table in giving a sense of time.
  • An exercise book will be placed on the table which includes the aim of this installation and also descriptions of what the participant can do – to blow the balloons corresponding to the number of hours of sleep they have missed.
  • In front of the table on the wall will be a projected screen which will show a video.
  • It shows participants who have responded to this project, recalling the number of hours of sleep they have missed on a particular day, setting the standard that one ought to have at least 7 hours of sleep in order to have adequate rest.
  • While watching the video, the audience may contribute to the installation by blowing up balloons according to the amount of sleep they have sacrificed. (Over a period of time or on the day itself)
  • One balloon in the room represents one hour of sleep that one has sacrificed.
  • Another projector will screen a counter which shows a counter of the total sleep that everyone has sacrificed collectively.
  • The room will show an accumulation of sleep debt collected over a period of time.


Rough Floorplan:




We decided to work on the issue of Sleep Deprivation.  

This idea came about when many of us were working very hard for our final submissions, often stretching work hours till late night. Dead beat, but we would still continue with work even having only about 4 hours of sleep each night. This is common in friends around us, that we lack rest as we burn midnight oil.

This topic, with its high relativity and creative potential, we found strong reasons to expand on it for our project.


Concept development

Having discussed, we agreed that we wish to bring attention to the issue of sleep deprivation; a potentially dangerous health concern, and hopefully bring about change in such unhealthy lifestyles. We question, “Is is really worth it?” to allow participants to think again, about priorities with consideration of health.

The primary aim of this project is to explore possibilities of Time, Space and Body.

To deprive oneself of sleep, is to owe one’s body the time to rest. We relate such ties in physical form – balloons!

It is an appropriate representation as it it similar to us. We accumulate all of these ‘sleep debt’ and as we continue not getting enough sleep each day, the balloon increases in size, showing how much it all adds up. Eventually we would reach a capacity, and our body would be like the balloon, bursting at its limit.

We conceptualised a balloon representing a unit of sleep lost (1 hour in this case), and the room would contain a certain number of balloons. We estimated a high number, and this would allow the audience to experience a room packed with balloons, to feel overwhelmed by the truth and a commonality sleep deprivation has become.

Also to raise awareness, we planned to project a video at the set-up in delivering our message. It also documented few of our friends and their accumulated hours of ‘sleep debt’.

The overall mood we put up, is the dreamy feeling most of us feel in the morning when we did not get enough sleep the last night. We created a slight sense of familiarity for participants to be able to relate to.


Inspirations/ References

In order to develop our idea, we researched on the topic to understand it better and definitely referenced art works similar to our concept.

Wen Lei had also recommended us a project called A Journal of Insomnia.

It is a surreal interactive documentary, where participants ‘invest their night’ and experience real-time what other insomniacs go through as they observe visually via an online network.

It is an amazing idea, and the inclusion of interaction has definitely helped in pushing awareness and enhancing art experience.


Work – in-progress

Setting up:

Making a screen out of what we have 

So danielle and jiaman handmade this super laptop stand… putting 3D skills to good use

Our lights!

Setting up screens

Friends from other classes came in and found our installation giving them a sense of horror due to the red text, and also found the balloons too brightly lit and it distracts them from the notebook on the table as well as the video… ):  so we changed those! 

The table!

And the end result



Our biggest challenge would be interactivity. We had to constantly make changes and fine-tune as we prepare ourselves for the many different possible reactions of participants. There were so many concerns and worries – how could we make use of different tools and aspects to engage the audience, how do we direct them to behave in a certain way?

It is a must to do test-runs and invite other friends to provide us with feedback and their experiences so we could improve and better prepare ourselves, to overcome this difficulty.

As for logistics, we planned to have a dark room but it was difficult to find a room of suitable size, and with as little furniture there is in it. In the end, we found a room smaller than ideal, but it insulates light and sound pretty well, so we decided to make use of that anyway!



Entering the space, the accumulated amount of sleep lost could be experienced visually, physically by moving through the many balloons and also emotionally from the atmosphere we built.

Here’s how it went!
(Password: Sleep)

At the end of the class’ participation, there is a rise in number of hours of sleep lost collected from the previous number of 130.
The new number is 


To watch the original video played at the set-up:

(Password: Sleep)

(PLEASE NOTE – The 1st and last minute of the video is only music.)


Reflections & thoughts


After showing the installation, it is even more evident that this issue is prevalent amongst us due to the reactions of participants.
As the last line in the video appeared saying “is it really worth it?” as to sacrificing sleep, many still said it is worth it. This shows the significance people place on other aspects of their life, mostly work, and do not prioritise sleep. but at the end, I do still hope that our work had created some awareness and encourage them to improve their well-being.


I think I have underestimated “installation art” and the difficulty in adding in “audience participation”. Through this project, I have gain more respect and appreciation for installation art and the people behind them.
There are many factors that can change during an installation performance and that has made me really worried and anxious. A lot of work is needed to understand people behaviour and how they will react to an installation. Will they participate? Will they understand the installation? Will they hate it? Their reactions varies and cannot be predicted. Unlike designing a Zine or poster, we are designing a space. How a person reacts to a space, what will capture their attention, to be aware of sound and light and lastly TIME. What we predicted and vision our installation is very different when we finally set it up.
We made many changes and regarding time. People’s reaction to TIME is the hardest part for me. Overall, this was an interesting project and I really enjoyed it.


Initially, we had many ideas and it was a hard time deciding on which to work on. Then we finally decided to expand on this topic which we could all agree that it is fun, impactful and something we would be proud to put it in our portfolio. Now after completion, I am glad to say I have immensely enjoyed this experience producing this delicate interactive installation.
Though our result has shown as that people are generally still willing to sacrifice their own sleep time for work or for other reasons, I hope this situation would improve. Ultimately, our health matters most not only for ourselves, but for those who care and love us.




4D II Proj 2 – Soundscape/ Sonic Portrait

Soundclip here


Artist Statement

My father works as a taxi driver. He stays in his taxi for at least 12 hours a day, 15 years, almost everyday.
I would like people to picture how taxi drivers like my father, work in their small driver seats and spend their days on the roads, and occasionally conversing with few passengers. He would sometimes have meals together with his colleagues in the same taxi company. But his life revolves very much around his taxi job after sending my siblings to school and my mother to work.
Main idea – With sounds, imagine space, time & experience
Why did I work on father? 
I want my works to have a little bit of myself, of my family. As I grow to an adult, they grow old. I want to always remember how they were like to me, I want them to see for themselves what influence they have made to me, how they are a part of me, through my work. In the previous semester, I worked with my mother in mind for 4D I Proj 2. And, it is time for my father, whom i am similar to in personality, yet we don’t connect as much. I hope to show that I appreciate them as they are involved in my production. Specifically to this project, I want to show appreciation in the sacrifice my father has done for the family.

Concept Development

Initial brainstorming

(trying different perspectives) 
  • My friend’s dog
  • My grandmother who stays at home all day
  • My father
  • My neighbour
  • Soundscape of my trip around the neighbourhood



recorder in the car (footsteps nearing the car)
opening the door
turning on the engine
setting up for work
seat belt on
driving off & on the roads
sounds of motor vehicles passing by
wind while winding down of windows
sound of money transaction (notes & coins)
driving (fade out)
engine off
birds chirping
cricket sounds
returning home
“hi daddy”


I didn’t have to interview or do much research on the taxi-driver occupation. It is something I am already familiar with, I grew up with the car, and there are times when it is silent in the car and I pay attention to the environmental and mechanical sounds. With these familiar sounds, I formed an idea in my head – Journey.


Film/Artist references

Gentle Bones – Shifting Over

Reference from a music video!
(Okay, honestly my ambition is to shoot music videos so I find a lot of inspiration and reference from MVs)

  • How the engine starts off
  • How it includes the sounds of the vehicle + environment
  • Imagining space and journey with sounds


The greatest difficulty of producing this sound clip is that I currently live in hall and I rarely spend time with my father and my family. It is challenging to find time for the both of us to obtain recordings of my father in the car, when he goes to work and when he ends work, considering the fact that as I process the audio I do not have the time to re-record if it fails. So, I could only work with the separately recorded sounds then mix and arrange them to make it flow as best as possible.

Another slight challenge would be using sounds to tell time (how the story flows). For example, how to tell that my dad has been driving all day… Then, I remembered to include sounds of birds chirping in the day, and the cricket sounds at night, as well as fading out to drag.


4D II Proj 01: Alter Ego

Truthfully, i’m excited to be doing alter ego. I have known myself since young that I have many many alternative personalities of me in my head that I think about and feel about. But moral education and my own set principles lead myself to who I am today.

This project would kinda be stripping a part of my inner a little and I’m just excited to do that.
Haha oh, you don’t know me man. 


Task 1: Fictional characters
Severus Snape
Bruce Banner
Harley Quinn

Task 2: Public figures
Show Luo Zhi Xiang
Cara Delevingne
Lu Rui En
Song Ji Hyo
James Corden

Task 3: People I know
Wei En
Kai Xin
Arrow (My God Dog – friend’s dog)

Task 4

Harley Quinn
she reflects our own dark desires, our own animalist nature that most of us suppress with religion, cultural values

voluntarily dives into the acid to prove her love
walks the fine line between dependent and independent
crazy and lovable to slut and bimbo
constantly seeking a sense of identity but doesn’t know how
a character full of conflicting personas
and another one of her personas is her rational, Harleen Quinzel side
ultimately, Harley is a character of passion
instead of allowing societal constraints and accepted norms dictate her action, she feels she is only free when she is allowed to do absolutely anything she wants
and she doesn’t hate people like the Joker, she loves people
Harley has a strong sense of compassion and loyalty towards the people in her life

The Psychology of Harley Quinn: A character analysis

I feel I have conflicting personas similar to her.

She does shows our dark desires, one of them 敢爱敢恨 (dares to love and dares to hate). Her love for Joker so strong to willingly do almost anything for him, and sticking by him no matter what.

People may say she’s dumb to be his puppet when he doesn’t reciprocate her love. But she’s brave.

Most of us today have reservations about showing our vulnerability and about being dependent and clinging onto what we love and what we want. Sometimes, we let go.

I want to love like her. In another side of me, I want to be that crazy and lovable and a slutty bimbo.

Yet understandably, we suppress our dark side with morals and values we think are more important in the society. That is the rational, Harleen Quinzel.

Wanting to break free from societal norms and constraints to do anything she absolutely wants, that is Harley Quinn.

And that is me too.


ill-tempered, pretentious, and cynical who strongly despises his neighbors for their constant boisterous, noisy behaviour
also has a passion and interest in reading, arts and music

a darker side of his personality where he sometimes became wrathful, indifferent, and sadistic
however, Squidward is not a heartless character as he had softer side
to some degree, he actually friends with SpongeBob and Patrick but incapable to see the positive side of their childish antics, reason why he tend to loathe them more than truly love them

deep down, squidward wants to integrate himself into the world of zaniness his bikini bottom, but his intelligence and inability to ‘turn off his brain’ means he will always have high expectations that the thrills of bikini bottom can never meet, meaning his only hope is to save up and move somewhere that he prefers.

Perhaps the personality of Squidward could be relatable to most of us Generation Z teens.

Grumpy 24/7, ill-tempered, indifferent and a little unconcerned about life.

I feel like that most of the time though deep down, I really wish to integrate myself into this world and socialise with everyone else.

But I also feel that I’m too old and grumpy for all these, and reality just falls below expectations all the time.

Despite how we really feel like squidward, we hide this self just to integrate into society, to make friends so we don’t really end up a sore and lonely squidward.

Bruce Banner/ Hulk
socially withdrawn
emotionally reserved

capable of deep love/
turns into Hulk under extreme stress and anxiety
simple minded
quick to anger
resistance to mind control

I was drawn to the personality of Bruce Banner and his alter ego, the incredible hulk.

I have been known to my family and friends as an easily hot-tempered person, but most of the time socially awkward and reserved about expressing my feelings and emotions. I agree I get mad easily and I didn’t manage my anger issues well enough in the past. I regret that I used to let them out on my closest kins, having hurt them physically and emotionally. ):

After regaining my rational sense, I was deeply upset by myself, seeing the disappointed and saddened faces of my family. I promised to learn to control my emotion with better ability, learning to change ‘hot anger’ into ‘cold anger’ at times, and even to not be as easily angered.

Under high emotional stress and anxiety, for example academic pressure, I am vulnerable to being annoyed and getting mad.

This has happened just not too long ago when I was extremely stressed about taking my ‘A’ Levels but my family wasn’t helping me at all in doing so. I had to take up much of the responsibility in taking care of my grandmother and my parents, while managing with the heavy academic workload. The home environment was especially disruptive, not allowing me to rest well nor being able to revise my work when I get home. I forced myself to cope with all the commitment but eventually, I couldn’t hold it in and things happened… pretty badly.

The more I hold my emotions in, the greater the anger reflected in my actions.

I finally decided to do it based on Hulk, as it relates to my life more.


Task 5

Perform alter ego.

(Password: Hulkie)



Candy is an emotionally reserved and shy student. She tries to mingle around but is socially awkward. 

Under high emotional stress and anxiety, such as academic pressure and social expectations, she becomes vulnerable to being annoyed and getting mad.

The more she hold my emotions in, the greater the anger reflected in her actions.

She finally flips… (pun intended)


Further character research:

Dialogue/monologue/narration is especially important in this assignment. Therefore, to construct a scene and script, it is imperative to first know the way Hulk speaks.

From watching movies and from comics, I found out that Hulk speaks in third person. It is the most crucial find, with others including the fact that he is stuck with very little vocabulary and very little speech as well.


Concept development:

I wanted to it to be a close reflection of my life, that it has happened similarly to me before with the characteristics and traits of the person whom I decided to work based on. From Hulk, I found relativity in his simple mindedness and easiness to anger. I follow a close personality of a usually shy and reserved person, but is able to ‘explode’ and change into a different person when triggered.



Film reference:
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Avengers (2012)

Paying close attention to how little Hulk speaks, when does he speaks, and how he speaks in third person with simple language.



The greatest challenge is to portray the similarity in characteristics and behaviour, without outrightly displaying or changing the outside appearance. Meaning, I have to show distinctly who was my inspiration for this video, without giving obvious physical hints. This has to be done with sufficient character research.