4D II // Final post

Group members: Alfred, Darren, Gladys, Jo Inng, Valerie, Ziyu


  • Programme Purpose/Objective
    The main purpose of this installation is to allow participants the chance to take a step back to evaluate their lives so far. The installation aims to evoke recognition of the fast-paced lifestyle Singaporeans have in general. It also allows participants to reflect on the qualities of their life experiences and authentic connection they have with the things that truly matter in life. It also questions them on the meaning of their lives so far – if they were to die in this instant, what sort of legacy would they have left behind, and would it be something they could be satisfied with?
  • Programme Rationale
    Singapore is a fast-paced society and there is rarely any time for people to slow down and truly appreciate life. We thus felt it was necessary to remind participants to take a breather and rethink the value of their lives.
  • Programme Details
    The installation comprises 2 rooms, both of which are expected to work independently as well as together. The first room is a narrative recreation of Singapore’s fast paced life, and will end in the ‘death’ of the participant. This is followed by the second room which allows for the participant to do a self reflection of his/her death.

    Artistic Direction

    Life experiences differ from person to person, and we wanted to be as inclusive as possible to whoever that would be viewing it. The installation thus has a mixture of both literal and abstract elements. This allowed us to create a more poetic narrative that was more flexible, allowing participants to slip into the character portrayed.

We will be making use of sound, videos, voice overs and props to create the desired atmosphere. To ensure that participants are able to understand the installation, we decided to make only the voice over explicit while the rest of the mediums will be kept abstract.

Room 1
As mentioned earlier, the first room is a narrative re-enactment of Singapore’s fast-paced lifestyle. The room is set up with 3 projected screens adjacent to one another.

In this room we use the metaphorical representation of water as life and merge it together with scenes of the protagonist’s life. The protagonist is never explicitly shown, allowing participants to insert themselves into the narrative and relate the events with their own lives.

The three screens are played in sequence and document the growth of the character from a toddler to a teenager to a young adult respectively. Interlaced with the scenes of the character’s growth are scenes of coloured water droplets being dropped into a tank full of water. The water represents life, and the different coloured droplets represent the memories, experience and feelings associated with each growth stage.

The first screen narrates the toddler stage. The tank of water starts of transparent to represent the character’s innocence and purity. Her first memories, which are represented by yellow droplets are seen penetrating the surface of the water before spreading outwards. The screen then shows clips of a young kid playing with toys and having fun in the playground. The screen then fades back to the now yellow water in the tank.

The second screen starts playing as the first screen continues showing the yellow colours fusing with the water. Red droplets are added into the yellowed water, and is then overlapped with scenes of the character’s slow submission to teenage pressure and rebellion. She is stressed from studying and is too absorbed by commitments which result in negligence of her family. The screen fades back to the water, which is not a mixture of yellow and red. The water is now turning darker and murkier, symbolising the chaos and impurity in her life.

The final screen starts playing as the second screen continues showing the yellow and red tainting the water. This is overlapped with scenes of the character descending into a downward spiral in her life. She starts smoking, and is increasingly distant with her family. She is then seen fainting as the fast pace of her life has finally caught up with her and her health. She dies, and only realises the important things in her life during her last moments, when it’s already too late for her to change anything.

The screen turns black. Black is an irreversible colour, which means that the addition of other colours will not change it. Her life is over, and there is no turning back.

Room 2
While Room 1 focuses heavily on using videos, Room 2 shifts towards the usage of props and performance to create a reflective mood for the participants.  In this room, a mock ritual for the dead has been set up.

The room is darkened as much as possible, and a table is setup at the end of the room. On the table lays different objects that are related to death. They include red string, candles and flowers commonly used for offering. In the center of the table lies a dirtied glass bowl. This is a connecting element for the 1st and 2nd room, and is representative of an empty life vessel. Life, symbolized by water, has been drained out, and only the ugly stains of the black contaminated life has been left behind.  Behind the table stand a mirror that reflects the face of those who enter the room, and is meant to prompt participants to look at themselves and self-reflect.

As participants enter the room, a short performance is also put up. A male and female stands on either side of the table. They have a short dialogue about the character in the previous room.

ZiyuShe didn’t have to die this way.
AlfredBut at least she was doing what she loved
ZiyuBut what does that amount to?
AlfredHave YOU lived a fulfilling life?
ZiyuOr are you just chasing after happiness that is only temporary?

After this short dialogue, an usher will come in to encourage participants to have a silent self-reflection for a duration of 1 minute. The narrative her is kept short as the main highlight here is the participants’ own involvement in the room.

  • Target Audience
    Students of the School of Art, Design and Media and NTU aged 19-30.
  • Location scouting / Logistics checklist
Filming Location Foundation Drawing Room 1
Foundation 2D Art Room
Foundation 3D Room
Crit Room B1-14
Product Design Spraying corner
Gladys’ House
Hall 15
NTU’s playground
Presbyterians High School
NTU North Spine
Things we borrowed Projector
Bamboo sticks
Black cloth
Speaker x2
Laptop x3
Long Mirror x1
Fish tank
Tables and Chairs
Things we purchased Black cloth
White cloth
Fake candles
Tea candles
Fresh flowers
Dried flowers
Secondary school textbook
Black garbage bags
Food colourings

research paper

For this project, we aimed to tackle and address the issue of leading a fulfilling lifestyle in a modern context. We observed that many youths face the similar issue of being overwhelmed by school work and other commitments, and often had little quality time with things in life that truly mattered. (BBC, 2007)

In our research, we came across one particular trend that had a huge impact on our artistic direction.
Due to high societal pressure and escalating suicide rates, the ‘Near Death’ movement has become increasingly popular in South Korea. This movement aims to address this issue by giving participants the chance to detach themselves from their fast paced lifestyle to reflect on their lives. As such, multiple ‘Fake Funeral’ services have been conducted across the country. In this particular one, they are lectured by a philosophical guru and invited to write out their own eulogy. After that, they will be placed in a coffin for 30 mins to experience death. The act of being enclosed creates a deafening space of endless darkness, and the atmosphere allows the participant to evaluate their lives from a objective and detached point of view.  A lack of self reflection usually leads to people feeling lost and depressed, and this death meditation in the enclosed space forces them to look within themselves for answers that they have been seeking, but thought they didn’t have.

Another work we came across was Christian Boltanski’s The Heart Archive. Occupying a space in a museum on the uninhabited island of Teshima in Japan, this artwork collects heartbeat sounds from all around the world. Participants are invited into a room where they listen to the sounds of their own heartbeats through a headset. After that, their heartbeats recordings are saved and used in subsequent set ups of the art piece. The heartbeats are immortalized, and remain as fragile remains of their existence on earth.The work makes one contemplate on bereavement and what we remember during our existence on earth. As you take part in the installation, it evokes a sense of uncanniness which acts as a mirror of what lies ahead and our future and our nonexistence in it.  The artwork questions the impact left behind by each individual whose heartbeat sounds have been recorded, and we believe the fragile and faint nature of the recordings makes one ponder on the meaning of their lives, and how many people they have impacted. It also relied heavily on symbolism and non-literal ways of portraying the theme, which we found interesting.

We believe these two artworks were greatly valuable and conveyed an important message. We thus decided to reference these two particular artworks/movements in terms of artistic style and content.

Life in the fast lane ‘speeds up’. BBC. BBC News, 2 May 2007. Web. 4 May 2007.
“Fake Funerals in South Korea.” Vice. Vice Japan, n.d. Web. 21 Apr 2016. Demetriou, Danielle. “Boltanski’s hearts don’t skip a beat.” The Japan Times. The Japan Times, 6 Aug 2010. Web. 4 July 2013.
Waters, Florence. “Christian Boltanski: The Heart Archive, Serpentine Gallery, review.” Telegraph. Telegraph, 12 Jul 2010. Web. 6 Aug 2010.

artist statement

Click here to view individual Artist Statement from previous post!

Group Artist Statement
Sheng-Si (Life-Death) is an immersive video installation aimed at the everyday individual. Playing with both literal and abstract representations projected on three screens surrounding the audience, this exhibit seeks to invoke thoughts on the bigger picture in life. Drawing reference from the fake funeral trend in South Korea, it ultimately aims for people to diverge into deep thought and contemplate on their purpose in life.

docuThroughout this project, we have been taking turns to film some behind the scenes (BTS) and the process of this entire installation. From the clips we have, I edited them into a video-log style BTS to allow viewers to understand our project from the very beginning till the installation day.

We also asked our classmate (Thanks Tiffany ^^) to help us hold the camera while visiting our installation during critique.

Our group consist of 6 people, the biggest group amongst our classmates, and that is because our plan was to make the project like a sequel in such a way that the narratives are connected for 2 different rooms. In the initial stage, the 6 of us came together and planned everything from the storyline, to the visuals and art direction; then we proceeded on to filming. Next, we somehow divided ourselves into different main roles, while also helping one another in our respective roles.

Jo and Val were mostly doing the writings and enhancing our existing conceptualization; Darren and Gladys were the film team, including execution and post production; while Alfred and I handled the planning of room layout, props, all the technical aspects as well as me volunteering to do the BTS video! Through the BTS video, you can actually see that we don’t just stick to what we have to do, but instead, help each other every where as and when we could.

In the beginning of filming, we tried out the ink dropping into water and almost resorted to using stock videos, but we managed to make it work! To make the screen’s timing work, we had to plan it in such a way that the duration of 3 different video is timed very accurately.
video plan

& Gladys managed to work her math and made this happen!!!

Next, I drew up 2 different floor plans because we were not sure if we will get to book our ideal location or not.


After deciding on logistics and required props, we headed out of school to purchase everything we needed and prepared for set-up. As I have worked with event companies before, I’ve had prior experiences to setting up a venue and installation and it really came in handy!


All in all, I felt really glad that I managed to combine what I have learnt previously in my polytechnic days, during my gap year, and also what was covered in 4D I and 4D II in adm into this installation! Through this project, I have learnt a lot about how much an environment could affect the narrative and the impact it can create on the viewers.

Also, the narrative we plotted is really relatable to me; and I believe it is to many of my fellow classmates too. We all have a lot of commitments in and out of school, and this installation aims to allow viewers to really relate and think about what they have done so far. I really hope viewers can relate to this as much as I do, and that everyone will do what they wanted to do and live with no regrets!

Also, I am so happy I got to work with all my close friends and that we worked in such a cohesive manner; it really helped us pull through all the late nights that lasted till 3am or 4am :’)


4D II // Artist Statement_Ziyu

SHENG.SI consists of three screens designed with visuals portraying new birth, adolescence, and the chaotic life of young adults chronologically and on each screen respectively. The projection on screen will be injected with different coloured inks dropping into water, implying the emotions of the individual visuals. At the end, all inks will turn black, representing life progressively turning chaotic and tainted. The water level will then go down, symbolizing the motion of “draining out”, which relates to humans getting so tired and drained out. With references to a South Korean event, “Mock Funeral”, they aim to lower the increasing rate of suicidal case. The event allowed participants experience death, or being alive at their own wake, and reflect on life in a coffin. Similarly, SHENG.SI aims to let viewers reflect on their life and themselves with their take on an abstract portrayal, and then an experiential theatre. SHENG.SI aims to let viewers think about how much they have done in life and if they have lived life to the fullest.

Produced by: Alfred, Darren, Gladys, Jo Inng, Valerie, Ziyu

4D II // Class Activity_Expanded Cinema

In class, we’ve learnt that Expanded Cinema is to think about how our works can engage the audiences. While curating an act or artwork, we will have to consider not just the narrative, but also its time and space, and how the emotions from the visuals can affect its audiences’ mood and thoughts.

  1. The Funeral
    Reference: http://diply.com/what-the-facts/article/south-korea-fake-funeral-experiment
  2. Afterlife
    Reference: http://www.yoursingapore.com/see-do-singapore/culture-heritage/heritage-discovery/haw-par-villa.html
  3. Metamorphosis
    Reference: https://www.facebook.com/willyfoo/videos/vl.1634940396757247/10153910203474245/?type=1
    The first few minutes of this video features an interactive dance that portrays the transition of life: slow-paced → discovery → beautiful world → setbacks → crisis → every cloud has a silver lining

    This dance performance / interactive show was choreographed and created collaboratively with my former workplace (events company) as well as 1 dance mate. To fully enjoy the projection display alongside the dance, we had to black out the section of the exhibition in Suntec Convention Centre. Thus, I felt that it is really interesting to recreate a similar concept where dance meets technology for this installation.


4D Assignment 2 // Sound & Image

In this project, we had to use only audio/foley to present our narratives. This is a really interesting assignment and it also helped me understand how much music and sound effects can affect the mood and setting of a “film’, and how important it is to choose a suitable piece to fit at suitable place.


Story 1: Psycho Murder

Genre: Thriller

Scene description:
Sarah is being kidnapped in a dark room, she couldn’t see anything, and the silence was deafening; until the door finally creaked open, and the mysterious sound of footsteps slowly approached her.
As the footsteps reached beside her, all she could hear was voices calling out her name in the creepiest way ever. She then heard the mysterious person giggling, and then going a distance away from her, ransacking items, and then she hear him carving knives….In no time, the mysterious person ran towards Sarah and attacked her, and she passed on.



Story 2: A Chance Encounter

Genre: Romance-Comedy

Scene description:
The scene started off with a romantic jazz music in a French setting that leads us back to around 1940s. The protagonist would be having their meals, and as they got the bill and leave the restaurant, it started pouring and the male and female lead bumped into each other. Feeling the same way for each other, the two immediately had feelings for each other and they went off into a car, back to the apartment to “get a room”!



To start off with the project, I searched on silent films to see how each narrative flows and also to see if the visuals still play a big part of the film, or is it heavily reliant on the audio effects.

Below are some of the reference videos that I used as a guidance to my assignment or some of which I found really interesting.

Le Roman De Max


Charlie Chaplin



Get your man





Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 8.58.57 am Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 8.59.16 am

Alter Egos


Five Fictional Characters

  1. Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens in High School Musical)
    gabriella-montez-profileIn the movie, Gabriella is a person who loves to perform singing and dancing in her college days, and she is also madly in love. I felt really relatable when I watch her because I really enjoy singing and dancing and I am heavily involved in these activities in school, just like Gabriella.
  2. Remy (Rat in Ratatouille)
    Ratatouille-remy-spoon1Remy is an idealistic and ambitious rat in the show, feeling inspired, he wanted to become a chef so bad that he hid in the protagonist’s hat to cook. Just like me, whenever I feel inspired or have the determination to do some thing, I would give my all and become quite stubborn in a positive way!
  3. Shen Jia Yi (Michelle Chen in You are the Apple of my Eye)
    shen jia yiA couple’s romance – they liked each other but they didn’t confess…… ^.^”
  4. Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother)
    "Benefits" -- Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Ted navigate being exes who are now roommates and discover they get along better when theyÕre sleeping together on HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, Monday, January 12 (8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Ron P. Jaffe/FOX ©2008 Fox Television. All Rights Reserved.Outgoing, slightly indecisive, jump ship (career) very often
  5. Cheon Song-Yi (Jun Ji-Hyun in You Who Came from the Stars)
    cheon song yiShe thinks that she is actually very fabulous and glam (some times she really is, because she is a celebrity), but she’s actually quite candid and spastic

Five Public Figures

  1. Beyoncé
    beyonceEveryone knows that Beyoncé is a really independent woman, and she is a feminist. The main quality that I found between the both of us is not feminism, but performing. She always characterizes herself on stage in such a way that she is as queen or a diva, which happens to me a lot on stage too!
  2. Sylvia (NightOwl Cinematics)
    sylviaSylvia is the owner of Night Owl Cinematics (Local YouTube Channel) and the reason why I find us relatable is that I came across her vimeo doing corporate videos or wedding videos. Thus, she does film for a living and that is what I am considering. Also, she often self-direct and act at the same time, which is also what I aim to do. Thus, I really find a strange connection between the both of us.
  3. ChaeLin (CL)
    She used to be in a performing group, but now she’s exploring much more on her solo career. She is very daring at trying new styles and things and not afraid of people judging her.
  4. Parris Goebel
    parris-goebelVery successful dancer, tour around and danced for many international artistes. Recently directed a movie, and also assisted Justin Bieber in his new album.
  5. Tyra BanksTyra-Banks-Photography
    Professional model and she used to have her own talk show. Now, she is just focusing on America’s Next Top Model, nurturing new talents and creating opportunities!

Five people I know/have known

  1. Uli Chan (Fashion blogger+model)
    ulimaliUli is my secondary school friend and she has since gained a lot of knowledge and skills from her past experiences. From her own hobby of collecting magazine cut-outs of fashion column, she started blogging about herself and her fashion and is now a pretty famous fashionista. She was featured in many magazines like Nylon, NuYou and I feel a connection with her because I love to do video-blogs!
  2. Gavin (Mediacorp Artiste)
    gavinGavin is my polytechnic friend, and through the Mediacorp Hey Gorgeous scouting, he managed to earn himself a contract and is now in the local showbiz industry! He also does a lot of music covers and that is also why I feel relatable to him.
  3. Xavier (Dancer)
    Instructor in Singapore, but travelled around and got scouted – he ended up touring with a USA instructor over in Europe, Japan, and back in Singapore too. Recently participated in Mediacorp Channel 5’s The Dance Floor and got 1st Runner Up.
  4. Carmen (Dancer-student)
    My best friend! Cliques really well and we have many things in common! Most importantly, we dance and participate in competitions together. 🙂
  5. Aprilia (Dancer-student)
    Dance mates since 2010, and we only recently realized how much things in common we actually have – life goals. And we would always get performance opportunity together, which allows us to grow together as well 🙂


Whenever I have a performance regardless whether it is singing or dancing, I’ll usually remind myself that I am not Ziyu for that hour, I am Beyoncé, or Zeyoncé; so that I can get into the mood and character and portray my alter ego instead of this usual Ziyu you see everyday. Many people think I am just a girl next door, but has anyone encountered the other side of me off-stage?

[1-min VIDEO]

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