4D II | Library Installation Idea Development

Group members: Rochele & Ling Ern

From the site research, we have come out with some ideas for the site-specific installation, mainly based on people’s perception of the library as well as feedbacks received from the interviews.

3 Proposed Ideas:

  • Idea One – Lost Age

Project Synopsis

Technology has greatly improved people’s reading experience these days, and it is  proven that there has been a diminishing use of the library. Libraries these days are  considered merely a “warehouse” for the prints with unused content. There wasn’t any  people browsing the books whenever I drop by the library. The books are arranged  almost too neatly as if they have never pulled off the shelves. One possible reason may be when there are too many books, people don’t know where to begin with. “The Paradox of Choice”, where excessive choice can produce choice  paralysis. When there is a large display, people are less likely to make a choice as they feel overwhelmed. Hence, a small number of books on display allows viewers to do a quick browsing and thus enhance the perceived value of the books. Also, there is a sense of discovery when people come across books they never knew they wanted to  read.

Description of Installation

Clear up an area of the shelves or it can be on table. Place a number of “unborrowed” books (approx 50). The books can be wrapped up with brown paper and interesting quote is written on each of the book or arrange them according to book jacket colours/alphabetise them.

  • Idea Two – I Chope Like That

Project Synopsis

We realised that a lot of people often leave their stuff on the table to reserve the seat at the study table. By observation, there are times where the person has not come back/ reappear after more than 45 minutes to an hour. To maximise the usage of the study area, “I Chope Like That!”  helps one another to be more aware and mindful of their behaviour.

Description of Installation

A deck of cards will be produced and placed at each study table, enclosed with a stopwatch at the front. The user has to press and activate the stopwatch before being able to open the box to retrieve the cards. Each card contains words like “I am off to the toilet! Will be back in 5 minutes!” / “Please wait, I will be back in 10 minutes” / “I am printing my stuff, be back in 5 minutes” / “20 minutes break time!” etc. The maximum chope-ing time for a person will be capped at 20 minutes. Once the 20 minutes is up, the stopwatch will beep and the librarian on duty has the right to remove any belongings on the table.

  • Idea Three – Hall of Fame

Project Synopsis

How can a library transform itself into a hub where people and ideas are connected? One of the major issue we found is that library can be too quiet for some people and it becomes uninviting somehow. Besides, the level of interaction between people in the library is extremely low. In order to tackle this problem, mini entertainment is necessary while not causing too much noise and chaos to the quiet space. Through this installation, it helps to create a livelier environment where library users are able to see themselves mirrored in their surroundings. This enriches the library space and reflects the diversity of our users.

“People are always drawn to words and words fragment themselves into graphics and photos which tell a story.”

Description of Installation

Library users are able to view the installation from the study area through the glass window.

Power sockets are available at the side for convenience.

A set of stamps with basic shapes are provided on the wooden table with stack of A5 white cards and pens. Viewers are free to create the image they like using the stamps provided or even include messages on his or her artwork. After which he or she needs to hang their art piece on the blank black wall together with others’ artwork. //OR the metal panels in front of the photocopy area where we will loop the strings through the panel together with fairy lights for people to hang their artwork.

Mini Ideas –

People’s Library – Users can bring their books to the library and place on a specific area to share it with people.

Silent Disco – A pair of wireless headsets provided at the grey seating area where two people can have their own “party”.

Stickers – Paste stickers on the floor starting from the entrance to guide people to specific shelves; stickers may contain sentences like “When in doubt, walk five steps and turn to your left”

After consultation, we decided to pick #Idea Three for further development.

Some of the questions/issues we are left to ponder upon are –

  • Is there a need to display people’s art publicly on the wall?

Instead of putting up their artwork on the wall, shall we explore other ways of art display? For example, on the table. Will it become more inviting for users if they could just “submit” their artwork instantly after they have completed or better to walk to the wall? Therefore, it is important to take note of certain issues such as “stage fright” and eliminate it for better outcome – People may not want to publicly display their art as some may feel a degree of nervous apprehension in such situation when they are in the center of attention. Even though the art is anonymous, the sense of being watched may put people off.

  • Incorporating moving sequence/still image or sound.

How do we add in the elements required in the brief instead of pure interactive installation? By providing a theme as a guide for the users, we can create cards with found imagery.  This helps to limit the possibilities (because too much freedom can be tough too!) yet there is room for people to use their imagination. 

  • Proximity issue between the working station and display area.

There has to be a link between the making of the work and where it displays. Due to it being a non-gallery installation, we don’t have a large space dedicated for it. Hence, placing the work station (where people make their art) further away from the display area may break the connection and causes confusion.  

  • Will people interact with the installation/Is it inviting enough?

How do we make the installation stand out in a space so crowded or do we want it to be blended into the environment so much that people will not think that it’s an art installation? We definitely want it to be an interesting project which people get to involve and together we make the library a better space. However, we are going to test out the installation work after setting up in the space. 


Title: What we SEA in You


How can a library transform itself into a hub where people and ideas are connected? One of the major issue we found is that library can be too quiet for some people and it becomes uninviting somehow. Besides, the level of interaction between people in the library is extremely low. Through this installation, it helps to create a livelier environment where library users are able to see themselves mirrored in their surroundings through the exchange of art. This enriches the library space and reflects the diversity of our users.


A collection of stamps with basic shapes are provided on the brown table with stack of A7 vanguard sheets and markers/pens. Library go‐ers are free to create the image they like based on the theme, using the stamps provided or they can include messages on his or her artwork. After which he or she will display their art piece on the slitted foam platform on the table. With every piece of artwork contributed, participants are free to take one of the art piece done by another participant.


*This installation idea is inspired by my visits to Art Science Museum and Capitol Piazza.

4D II | The Library Research

Group members: Rochele & Ling Ern

Project Three requires us to explore the idea of site-specific intervention, by incorporating images, text and media. So what is site-specific installation?

“It refers to an artist’s intervention in a specific locale, creating a work that is integrated with its surroundings and that explores its relationship to the topography of its locale, and to restructure the viewer’s conceptual and perceptual experience of that locale through the artist’s intervention.” 

Below are some of the interesting examples:

An Earlier Account by Allen Topolski | 2010

In this site-specific artwork, Topolski based his concept on his understanding of domestic residences and personal experiences when he moved to a home previously owned by Jews – what it had, what it has and lost.

“…our habitation of the house obliterated a record of a family and its routine intersections with objects and spaces”

In his installation, Topolski projected images such as pots, into the remnants of an abandoned kitchen. The “pots” images are doubled to represent the Jews’ practice of the separation of dairy and meat – a custom which is not practiced in today’s kitchen.

Bookbed by Ruth Beale | 2014

An installation in a playful environment which consists of a giant book-shaped bed featuring duvet pages of story titles on top drawn from creative writing workshops, a bookshelf and typewriter for simple book-making.

“Libraries are one of the few meeting points between society and the individual, public and private. However mediated, they represent more than the sum of their parts because they offer us both practical services and the potential for educational and cultural development on our own terms…”

Beale’s theme in this installation is “dreams, aspirations and imagination”. It is a comfortable, surreal, magical experience set in a night-time dreamscape which helps to connect the audiences and opens conversations for them. I love the idea of Bookbed which allows audiences to explore the library in the context of 21st century technology. For instance, flipping the “book” on a bed is somehow similar of how we read from Kindle – a “book” with quotation marks.

Untitled (Selections from Truisms, Inflammatory Essays, The Living Series, The Survival Series, Under a Rock, Laments and Child Text) by Jenny Holzer | 1989

Untitled is a site-specific installation which employs a variety of voices and express a wide spectrum of biases and beliefs, aim to encourage the audiences to be an active participant in determining what is legitimate and what is not.

Holzer transformed the museum’s rotunda into an electronic arcade with her own one-liners from different texts, displayed on the LED board that was installed along the winding inner wall of spiral ramp.

Before this, all her messages were printed on posters and pasted on buildings/walls around Manhattan. I love the idea that by bringing street art to the museum, Holzer could switch her target audience to people who really care about the consumption of art instead of mere passersby on the street.

Making Visible the Invisible: What the Community is Reading by George Legrady | 2005

This is another site-specific installation which uses similar display method – an electronic artwork that presents different ways of analysing and visually mapping check-out data from the Central Library.

Legardy installed 6 LCD screens above the librarian reference desk to display titles of books and other items patrons have checked out in the past hour. For example, the titles enter the screen from the far right and slowly move to the left until an entire hour’s worth of materials have passed by.

“The concept is to try to show what the community is thinking based on the flow of books leaving the library…”

In today’s age, social media has become a tool/guideline for people to make decisions. “People tend to believe in what their friends recommend” – and YEAP! This is an issue for me as well. Therefore, I find that the idea of having book titles displayed on the screen for everyone to see can help audiences to decide on which books they could borrow in the future.


In this project, we are tasked to reflect on the library as an encounter that connects and disseminates information.

Library is an extensive place yet there are good constraints for us to generate ideas on how to improve its role on campus. It is a centralised location where new technology can combine with the traditional. It helps to establish an intellectual community contrary to the virtual platform i.e. internet, which tend to isolate people. Library ought to serve as a place that provides user a sense of inspiration when they set their foot inside as well as strengthening the community involvement.

My initial impression of the library is that it is a pretty cold, static place, not very inviting to me and definitely not a place that I will stay for long except queueing to print. I guess a huge part of the reason is because of its quietness that makes me feel like I need to be extra careful inside.


Existing furniture/fixture in the space

Sofas, bean bags, printers, computers, tables and chairs, shelves, books, DVDs, easel

What surrounds the place

Occasional tourist, roads, pretty view

Who goes there

Mostly ADM people but there are students from other faculties as well, especially when it’s nearing exam period. Lecturers do visit the library too.

How people engage the space

Generally, I find that people (those occupy the study area or bean bags) are quiet in the library since it is understood that there are rules to follow, except there might be occasional noise coming from the printing station as well as the computer area in front of the counter, where group discussions can be seen. There are also several people taking their naps at the bean bags area.

Level of interaction between people with people

There isn’t much interaction between people in the library. Fair enough, because library is treated as some kind of “serious” place where certain rules are meant to be followed. However, I did see people started talking to each other when there is a printer breakdown.

People’s perception of ADM library and what they think can improve as follow:

  • It is a quiet place.
  • Able to focus well.
  • Nice place to study compared to other libraries in NTU.
  • Comprehensive in materials.
  • Too cold.
  • Confusing labels on shelves.
  • Hogging issues.
  • Need water point, light music.
  • Conduct enrichment classes in the library.
  • A rest area with soundproof wall with snacks for group discussions/ conversations over coffee.
  • Opening 24 hours.
  • A network system that connects to other libraries in school (more convenient to locate a specific item).
  • Automatic device that brings the item to students instead of searching yourself.
  • Display more artwork.

2D II | Neighbourhood Research

When we returned from our first semester break, we were all tasked to list down one or a few places that we are familiar with. Little did I know that this was part of our 2D project – we were assigned a neighbourhood that we are UNfamiliar with to explore and find out the “interesting” features about the subject area.

I was allocated to Sengkang (secretly hoping to get Changi lol.) But oh well, let’s keep an open mind, shall we? Sengkang in my mind, was just a place almost reaching the far end of the Purple Line and it also seems like a place with parks and greens everywhere (which proved to be true too!). Literally there was nothing fun I can think of when it comes to this location. As usual, I went on to Google “things to do in Sengkang” but all I get was the typical stuffs such as riverside park, wetland, complex, food etc. 

No way I’m going to build my zine around nature theme so I decided to JUST GO there and I will figure the things out later.

As expected, all I could see is HDBs and MORE of them as I walked around; maybe just a change of colours.

  • Idea #1: A series of visuals about flats and its somewhat interesting architecture

I chanced upon Jalan Kayu (a malay term of “wooden road”) while I was exploring Fernvale. Why is it called wooden road?? I find it rather unique as compared to other areas’ name. Curious, I googled about Jalan Kayu and it opened a new door for me.

One version for the road name’s origin is that firewood used to be stacked on the roadside. Another version is that the muddy laterite roads leading to the rubber estates in the area were made passable due to logs of wood that used to cover the muddy roads, hence the term in Malay jalan kayu. -Wikipedia

Jalan Kayu itself is an one lane road. My first impression of the road was that it was just a typical road dotted with many bars and restaurants of different cuisines. My mind was completely blank. I wanted that “something” of Sengkang but I had no idea what it is and where to find it. Annoyed by the fact that I had to go home empty-handed, I walked into an alley and A HA! I found a gem.

The architecture of these shophouses wasn’t what I would have imagined it to be. It exudes a kind of 70s post-war vibe. Vintage. Retro. I thought I was transported to another era or even country. Besides, I realised that the colours are recurring.

  • Idea #2: A series of visuals about the interesting things I found along this route + play with colours

After my first trip to Sengkang, I was left rather confused, undecided on what to do for the project. Should I extend my search to another area?  And YEAP I went back again on the following week to further dissect the subject area.

It was raining the day I went back, so I took the bus instead and travelled along Jalan Kayu till the end which I then entered into the British-built military compound. Seletar Airport is just a few minutes drive away and I knew that was going to be my next spot! 

There wasn’t a single passenger there on that day. It did feel like I own the entire airport. After spending some time walking around the airport, I started wondering about my whole existence. What if I disappear right here right now? 

Onwards to my next stop – Buangkok.

I wasn’t really that interested about Buangkok area mainly because it has been a “touristy” place. Nonetheless, I decided to pay a visit and see what it has to offer. 

And then it hit me that all the photos I have taken has this same kind of vibe which I feel cold, distant, abandoned and yes LONELY.

It’s time to work on the Zine concept —



4D II | Evocative Object Research

With the end of Project One, it’s time for another journey!

In Project Two, we were tasked to create a sound artwork that can be paired with an object. Basically, it is to make the object interactive such that it must be able to communicate something.

Before I began to work on this project, I went on a little research.

What is sound? What is sound art all about?

Sound is not a substance nor a mass. It is something that constantly pour into our ears without us noticing.  This brings us to recognize the terms “hearing” and “listening”. Sound is literally everywhere, but only people who listen can be engaged with the sound. When the sound is being listened, we are conscious about its details such as the volume, pitch, speed etc, which brings about a whole new meaning.

Sound art, on the other hand, is a type of experimental music. For instance, putting together unconventional sounds to articulate the characteristic of a place, object.

John Cage, an American music composer, successfully moved beyond the confined of conventional musical structures. One of his masterpiece is 4’33” (four minutes thirty three seconds) where the performer stayed silent throughout but there is plenty of white noise involved – the audiences in this case has become the “performers” instead. This is because all the movements from the audiences can be heard while the stage is in complete silent.  Through this piece of sound, John Cage has completely changed the roles of performer and listener.

Some of the sound installations which I find interesting are as below:

Artist: Kiwan Sung

Title: Sonic Jar

The objects used here are Korean traditional jars, known as Hangari. As Hangari is believed to be closely related to the lives of Korean women, the artist recorded 5 women talking about their pregnancy stories and childbirth. The players were then put into the jars. I love that how the artist uses symbolism to depict the idea of women. Something small is loaded with significance – using merely jars to represent Korean women.


Artist: Jacqueline Rommerts, Fedde ten Berge, Malu Peeters and Marloes van Son

Title: Sound Boards

This installation uses porcelain plates to function as instrument. The plates will produce sounds when they are hit by drumsticks. The sound of the porcelain is picked up by four electret microphones that are mounted under the plates in the box. When the plates are hit by a performer different sound modules will then become active in a random order. I like how aesthetically pleasing the porcelain plates are when they are arranged in such manner. It is a piece of art itself on the wall. However, there is  an extra layer of meaning when they are combined with sound.


Artist: Don Ritter

Title: Intersection

Visitors are required to enter into a dark space where they will encounter the sounds of four or eight lanes of car traffic rushing across them. A dimly lit exit sign is found on the other side of the room such that the viewers need to venture across the dark room in order to exit. While passing through the speakers, visitors can hear loud screeching sounds of cars coming to a halt, accelerating cars or the sound of cars smashing. It taps on people’s fear (the overwhelmed feeling in a dark space, anxiety, lost, tension), while the visitors themselves are active participants in this installation, and I hope to achieve that in Project Two!


From these three examples,

I thought of sending out google forms to people to ask about their personal insecurities/fears, something that haunts them in the past or are still experiencing to date. From the data collected, I could do a voiceover. Apart from that, I can try interview people and record their stories.

The objects that I plan to work with are mirrors, such that when a person passed by the mirror, the mirror will start to play the conversations recorded beforehand. Mirrors are chosen because it is the most intimate way of looking at one self. Looking at the person inside the mirror can be a challenge for some people. It makes people confront their insecurities be it body image or their own characters. It is believed that people who look at themselves long enough will experience a kind of visual illusion. For example, they might find that they don’t really recognize themselves after staring at their own reflection for a certain amount of time.

The purpose of this installation is to make people feel that they are not alone and that many people out there are facing the same kind of fears and insecurities.