Author: Zhang Longfei

Zhang Longfei, is a freelance motion designer and self-taught photographer, born in Chengdu, China.

Research ADM Library II

Title of installation


Installation Summary
Time seems to be unnoticeable and faster in library relatively, as students concentrate on their work with so much effort, event without noticing time change outside.
I’m eager to juxtapose Singapore life with the idea of timelessness, as life in Singapore cycles forever in Summer and as a residence, we seldom experience natural phenomenon change.
So the concept was embodied in a one-day journey in Singapore, focusing on different experience in morning, noon and night. By contrasting static elements, the looped motion indicates the idea of infinity and relativeness of time.
Inspired by Zen(襌), the artwork is also a gate away from the busy school work, which allows students to mediate and clear their thoughts.


Description of Installation: Indicate the material used in your work and how you plan in install them.

It is a digital work in which the artist presents us with 3 photo frames. Each one is inserted with an iPad, plugged with a set of earphone. Audience are allow to listen to the music which watching the looped video.

3 photo frames will be placed on tables beside A/V viewing carrels or behind book shelfs.





visualisation of proposed installation
Location recce















Presentation on Japanese Screen art


In the process of searching on Japanese screen art, I have gained a better understanding and insight in history of making traditional Japanese screens, especially Namban screens. It is so interesting to see Japanese people’s reactions from the screens when they first saw exotic foreigners. And also I was very impressed by Contemporary Japanese screens and how Japanese artists revived it and gave a new life to traditional screens. In addition, it inspired me to think about Chinese contemporary painting and how I can contribute to it, which I have little knowledge in.

Research: ADM Library I

Researching the site – ADM Library

ADM Library is specially designed to reflect the creative and artistic nature of its environment.  It houses a growing collection of resources in the visual arts, architecture, drawing, design, illustration, painting and photography and a strong collection of AV materials. It contains a cinema room, individual A/V viewing carrels, a flexible seating spaces, printing area, writable black glass wall as well as book section.



Stairs to the cinema

Mainly ADM students visit ADM Library for reading books and magazines, doing assignments, relaxing and printing services.




Normally, most of students will sit at white table area. They can read or use their own laptops there. Seldom people really interact with others, rather doing their own work.

And I also noticed only few people would use A/V viewing carrels. Maybe the place is not comfortable, like a computer lab, compared to Hive’s library. However, people likes to sleep in the library also in the corner. Because library is a quiet and comfortable place, students like to spend whole day there.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.19.57 AM




Interestingly, there are a few of very large glasses and empty spaces which I could experiment with.





Developing Idea

Initial impression

ADM Library is well equipped with lots research resources and convenient for studying. Sometimes we focus on a project attentively without even knowing a few hours already has past, as if time in library is faster than outside. It inspired me to do a installation about time to let audience experience the idea of time change in library. the focus could be on faster time or timeless experience.

I did some research on history of timekeeping device. It is quite interesting that how ancient people used water and candle to calculate time. And timekeeping devices changed our world where all human activities refer to it.

My initial idea is to build several water timer devices, ranging from 15mins to 1 hour. People can grab any of them for testing and timing their study time.


Another idea struck me in the process is people like to sleeping in ADM Library. I wanted to draw attention on and amplify this issue. Mainly because students don’t get enough sleep or stress out from the school works. So plan A is to lay a few sleeping bags on the big empty area’s floor and put assignment papers or coffee cups and so forth around them. Plan B is to put a figure in only cloth form on a chair. In front of him is a laptop and all rubbishes he consumes.




Point of View


 Works in a presentation layout




Ideas based on subject ‘Bird’




It is a common phenomena that birds always shit on the car surface in an outdoor car park. Because it is normally surrounded by trees, of which branches birds like to rest and build nests on. The front window of the car is chosen to be the birds’ target, which car owners always hate most. Birds fly diagonally and drop the bomb, under a red son, which creates a sense of war tension.



Different views from car’s inside to outside.




It was inspired by a movie called “The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock.It focuses on a series of sudden and unexplained violent bird attacks on the people. Hitchcock is a film director and “The Master of Suspense”. He pioneered many elements of the suspense and psychological thriller genres, like Psycho, Rear Window and Vertigo. The main actress is formed by the birds’ silhouettes from solid black to the scattered shadows, indicating the struggle and harassment are all around and it’s impossible to escape.



Tryout of different approaches to define horror.






H5N1 is a highly pathogenic avian (bird) flu virus, occurring naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide. Though these virus normally infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species, it becomes severely deadly when infection occurs in human. Bird flu viruses can happen when enough virus gets into a person’s eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled. Medical mask and glasses indicate how dangerous H5N1 is and reflection of aggressive flying birds hints the reason of it.  Black and white and high contrast support the anxious atmosphere overall.







Chickens and birds are similar species and look alike overall, especially both of them having two wings.  Ironically, only birds have an ability to fly, which make them more advanced and supreme, comparing to chickens. The idea of flying ability parallels to a supernatural power that superman got. The bird is represented in a symbol of superman, rising up to the sky like God. Yellow light rays draw your eyes to the main subject matter which is in the center.


Sketches of super bird symbol.






Before the release of a new Mac OS X operating system, an animal always come to eyes first, dating back to the first generation. Various types of animals, like tiger, snow leopard, lion and mountain lion have been used as its symbols. It is relatable and possible that Apple will view and plan bird as their potential mascot for next generation of Mac OS X. The overall composition resembles the real Mac OS X releasing page where a bird is super imposed, in an iMac.


Tryout of different layouts of Apple website.




Kids born in the 2000s indeed can be referred to a digital generation. It is a period that smartphones and mobile devices comprehensively occupied our life.A video game called ‘Angry Bird’ has attracted millions of people, especially little kids, after first release in 2009. It is a sarcasm that children’s perspective can be manipulated by high-tech product, so in their eyes, real birds should look the same as angry birds that also live in nature.



Angry bird in different types of birds’ form.



Inspired by a well-known American graphic designer Saul Bass, who did lots of title designs for film, as well as ‘Naive’ illustration style, which focuses on simple geometrical shapes to convey messages. 


I think this project really trained us how to view things in a special perspective as well as allowed me to explore new design approach, using lesser graphical elements to convey messages. Also design is based on the experience. The broader you know, the better and maturer your design is. So sometimes we should take a step out of design and learn other aspects of knowledge.


Research Essay – Chinese Tomb Art (Terra-cotta Army)


Chinese Tomb Art reflects how ancient Chinese approach death and how they live. Thorough out different dynasties, people believed death is an extension of life, but in a spiritual form. So some daily comforts of their past life, such as servants, guards, charioteers, horses, drinking vessels are provided for them in the after life. Today, as some important tombs have been excavated, like recent discovery of Marquis of Haihun’s tomb, we are able to study those burial objects in order to reveal the insight of ancient Chinese society. Among the many remarkable archaeological excavations in China, the most extraordinary one is the discovery of the terra-cotta army. It was built for the China’s first Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, who conquered six other states and unified the realm in 221 B.C. It is estimated that there are more than seven thousand terra-cotta warriors been buried.[2] The figures are life-size and originally painted with vibrant colors, which make them look lifelike and unique. Comparing with two kneeling archers in necropolis, it is noticeable that they almost look the same overall. However, it is noticeable that each of them have distinguishable features, like different facial expressions and various sizes of legs. Terra-cotta army reflects a standardizing society with a capability of mass production in Qin Dynasty, through its production.



Figure 1


Figure 2



The overall measurement and almost identical gesture of the two archers prove that they were made by following a standardized system. According to Lothar Lederrose, the height of them is almost the same of 122cm. The length of the feet varies from 25cm to 29cm, the circumference of the torsos from 85 to 107 centimeters and the length of faces from 19 to 20 centimeters.[3] It is believed that ancient Chinese using molding technique to standardize overall size and speed up the making process. The hands gestures of both also indicate they were holding same weapons, which later archaeologists identified are crossbows. But only the bronze trigger, containing four parts, survived today. The four mechanical parts are cast precisely to fit together perfectly. “The tolerance for error lies within fractions of a millimeter.”[4] When comparing with thousands of other bronze triggers in all pits, they are all identical in measurement, which proves that the triggers are actually interchangeable. It is more efficient during the war that archers could exchange the broken parts to a workable one in a very short time. Two terra-cotta figures are both carved with small inscriptions on unnoticeable parts of body, which indicates who made them. Whoever made a mistake or created the parts in incorrect size will get punished strictly according to Qin’s law. Inscription serves as quality control to make sure the uniformity in overall.



Relics of crossbow


Bronze trigger mechanism


In spite of uniformity, the army still conveys an overall impression of extraordinary variety.[5] Mass production plays an essential part in making every terra-cotta figure look unique and individualistic. Comparing left legs from two figures, figure 1‘s looks bloated and similar to a drainage pipe used in the necropolis and under the Qin palace, while left leg of figure 2 is slimmer and straighter. The inscriptions on each figure indicate there are made by different groups of people. Inscription beginning with the character “gong” and in a stamp form means he is a master of craftsmanship from state factories and set standards of quality. Whereas, a place-name, capital Xianyang, in front of the name, Ke and without stamp signifies he is an ordinary worker from local workshops. According to Lothar Ledderose, in total there were a thousand of masters and each of them controlled a ten-man team.[6] The usage of inscription systems proves that a large of number of workforce made this big project possible. Another difference lies on the angels of heads, hands and legs. For instance, the head of figure 1 is facing straight toward the front. However, the head of figure 2 is slightly titling left. And figure 1 is showing the full back of left hand. Whereas, figure 2’s left hand is titling almost 45 degrees. After scanning the broken parts, archaeologists believe each of the figures normally consists of seven major parts: a plinth, the feet, the legs, the torsos, the arms, the hands, and the head, of which each varies in size and style. Eight types of heads, two types of feet, eight types of torso and so forth, with each type having three subtypes were identified. With a large number of different combinations, it is doubtless that over 7,000 terra-cotta warriors look different and unique. Further more, their facial appearances differ from one another. Figure 1 has a lager pair of eyes, and thicker eyebrows, while figure 2 has frowning stokes on forehead and got a sharper nose and denser mustache. It is a result of imperfect handmade process that workers had to stick different parts with wet clay and add another carving texture by hand. Imperfection made by massive workforce indeed caused every figure lifelike and individualistic.



The discover of Qin Shihuangdi’s terra-cotta warriors restores an ancient model of Qin society and impresses us that ancient Chinese were capable of applying complex systems of mass production to assemble extraordinary works through a standardized society. And these systems have deeply influenced how Chinese think and behave till now.



Words count: 931


[1] “House Model.”

[2] “Unification of China”

[3] Ledderose, Ten Thousand Things, 72.

[4] Ledderose, Ten Thousand Things, 60.

[5] Ledderose, Ten Thousand Things, 72.

[6] Ledderose, Ten Thousand Things, 70.



Title of the work: The Battle Box

Medium: Video

Work description:

A Promotional video, restoring the lost memory and history about Fort Canning park and its role during WWII.  By applying the mixture of motion graphics and real photos and videos as a story-telling, the story became much more dynamic and interesting, which the aim is to draw public’s eyes and make them curious about how and why that historical moment (the decision of surrender to Japanese)  occured on 15 Feb 1942 in Singapore.










Motion graphics will occur within the text ” Battle Box”, indicating lots of stories are all related to the main subject.


From this project, I had a chance to learn more about the situation in Southeast Asia, especially in Singapore in the 1940s. However, as asking some of my friends about the history of fort canning and Battle Box, I was a bit shocked by their ignorance. I think it is necessary for us to remember that history and not repeat the same mistake. And that’s why it prompted me to make a video to get attractions from the public to visit Battle Box museum.

Research Paper Proposal

What is Chinese tomb art? Compare two terracotta figures from the Qin dynasty.



Terracotta army reproduction in one-third scale.




  • Tomb art
    • History
    • Function
      • Afterlife use
      • Religious sacrifice
    • Legacy
      • Time capsule – better insight of ancient China society
  • Tomb sculpture – Qin Shihuangdi tomb
    • Brief description
    • Terracotta warriors – Human victims replaced with pottery substitutes
      • Mass quantities
      • Life size
      • Look unique
  • MAIN POINT: Result of Mass production and standardizing society
    • Kneeling archer & Armored general

tcw-kneeling-archer 2012_TerracottaWarriors_300_08


How were they made


Mechanism of crossbow




  • Difference
    • Unique facial features and body parts
    • Costume
    • Hair bun
    • Body gestures – suggest holding something
      • Crossbow and arrows
        • Position: Archer
        • Interchangeable
      • Bronze sword
        • Position: General


  • Similarity
    • Making process
      • Material – baked clay
      • Heads and 4 limbs created separately
      • Inscription
        • Hierarchy production system
    • Missing weapons mass produced
      • Large quantities
      • Precision
      • Moulding
  • Terracotta warriors reflect Chinese art and culture rely on complex mass production system
  • Protection &Reservation
    • Color
    • Qin Shihuangdi’s Mausoleum




Lethar Ledderose. Ten Thousand Things: Module and Mass Production in Chinese Art (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 51-73.

Jessica Rawson, ed., The British Museum Book of Chinese Art (London: British Museum Press, 1999), 134-149.

“House Model,” Asian Art Museum,  accessed March 11, 2016, http: //





Final Presented works






As a street photographer, I alway like to take a walk on the street and observe interesting scenes. Every one has an unique way of recognising things. An ‘L’ I composed from a building may not be legible to another person. And the most intriguing aspect of the street is the situation is never predictable. For instance, in the letters ‘L’ and ‘E’, a bird and a person emerged simultaneously when I pressed the shutter.






Different compositions and bringing up contrast with black background.





Inspired by the low-shutter speed photography, where the light becomes traceable, I was using a light source as a brush to write my name in Chinese. The line of lights have various widths and weights, depict the essence of Chinese script Calligraphy, which ables to finish one character within one stroke.



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Chinese script calligraphy


Australia written with fire sticks Gawler Ranges South Australia


Slow shutter photography





Chinese calligraphy requires the character to be squarish and structurally balanced.







The intention is to seek the essence of Chinese culture – Food. We Chinese have developed a complicated system and rules about how to eat and what to eat. And even daily greeting also involves ‘food’, like greeting people with ‘have you eaten already?’.



Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 11.57.52 AM








I have chosen some iconic Chinese food, such as dumplings, bao, youtiao, sesame and century egg, to form strokes and shapes. And red chili represent my own taste as well as Sichuan food.






Living under censorship means only positive information about government is accessible to the public. And media, in China, becomes its mouth and agent, filtering, amending and twisting  what is supposed to be right and true. Using newspaper collage indicates the process of how China media works.






I was inspired by Zhang Dali’s works, showing how China newspaper officials ‘photoshop’ some famous photos back to the 1950s and1960s.




Different choices of font type


Week 4 Reading Workshop – The Brush and the Burin


The Brush and the Burin

Mogul Encounters with European Engravings

Yael Rice, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia


What is her methodology/approach?

The author firstly introduces the origin of albums folios. Then she showcases her studies on five single leaves from Jahangir period albums folios. In each single page, she looks into the arrangements of different terms of arts including calligraphy, engravings and paintings. By doing this, she finds that, being different from paintings, engravings and calligraphies used to be categorized together in that period. In the end, she does some researches on the previous studies and tries to find out the relationship between engravings and calligraphies. Moreover, she suggests the reason on why the two types of art was under the same category.


What is the connection between the arts of calligraphy and painting?

As the author declared, “Scholars of Mogul art have treated the arts of calligraphy and painting as distinct and removed from each other[1]”, it is clear that Calligraphy and paintings serve the context equally and independently.

Because of the Mogul albums’ organizational format, allowing pages alternating between paintings and calligraphy, it is difficult to determine the context according to the precise pagination.

In Islamic arts, Arabic script is considered divine, compared to pictorial form. Rendering human and animal forms posed a challenge to the creative authority of God.[2] What’s more, most of paintings are sourcing from Europe. Hence, scholar believes, Mogul interests in the formal and technical aspects of art-making than about the development or evocation of a broader, overarching narrative.[3]


[1] P308 [2] P308 [3] P309


What is her evidence?

The author substantiates her points with information obtained about the historical context of the Mogul miniatures. One example would be the historical account of the Jesuits appearance in Mogul court (pg. 305), and what items they brought with them. She also provides a technical account of how the artwork was created (pg. 305), and compares the different styles of the Mogul miniatures against each other to further highlight any specific differences between them (page 307). She is also able to provide further insight into the miniatures by conducting a short visual analysis for certain pieces (pg. 307). Examples of European artwork from the Victoria and Albert museum are also given to enhance the reader’s perception of the type of artwork that was being exchanged (pg. 305). She also refers to articles published by other academics that allow her to further support her points, such as the study done in 1926 of the Jahangir album pages by Ernst Kuhnel and Hermann Goetz (pg. 308).

And, what are her sources?

The author uses a variety of textual sources that are derived mainly from books and journal articles, and mentions specific titles for reference for each one.

Project 2 Research

Fort Canning Park



Fort Canning Hill, originally known as Bukit Larangan (or “Forbidden Hill” in Malay) has been a local landmark in the city since Singapore’s earliest recorded history.

The hill once sited the palaces of 14th century Malay Kings and served as the Headquarters of the Far East Command Centre and British Army Barracks. The decision to surrender Singapore to the Japanese on 15 February 1942 was also made on the hill, in the Underground Far East Command Centre, commonly known as Battle Box.

Today, Fort Canning Park is a venue for celebrations. Its expansive, sprawling lawns play host to concerts, theatre productions and festivals



1. Pre colonial era

Extensive Malay and Chinese historical records support the evidence that the royal palace of ancient Malay rulers stood on the summit of this once “Forbidden Hill”.  Five kings of Temasek (“See town, and old name for Singapore) lived here prior to their destruction by invading foreign forces and fled to Melaka.


keramat Tomb

This tomb purportedly contains the remains of the last ruler of pre-colonial Singapore.



14th century artefacts on display reveal evidence of trading with Chinese merchants during that era.



Mural wall

This interesting mural wall, carved out by Balinese artisans, gives an artistic depiction of 14th century events and information pertaining to Singapore’s history.

2. Fort Canning Command Centre


Top of Fort Canning Hill

It included an office building that housed the headquarters, with barracks sited on the other side of the hill.

At the time of completion, the Fort Canning Command Centre was the largest military operations complex in Singapore. It served as the headquarters (HQ) of Malaya Command and had an area of responsibility that covered many regions including Singapore, Malaya, North Borneo and Hong Kong.

Surrender Conference Room

Battle Box

An underground complex



Decision for Surrender

They gathered at the Battle Box on the morning of 15 February to re-assess their ability to withstand the Japanese. Surrender seemed like the only option for Percival and his senior commanders in view of the depleting supply of food, water and ammunition.

On the afternoon of 15 February, Percival and a delegation of senior officers left for the Ford Motor Factory in Bukit Timah, HQ of LG Yamashita. They signed the surrender document that marked the start of the Japanese Occupation in Singapore.


The Japanese took over the Command Centre converting it into the headquarters for Major-General Saburo Kawamura. The underground complex was largely abandoned with the possible exception of the signals room.

End of War

The Indian Army’s 5th Division re-occupied the the Battle Box for the returning Allied forces. Over time, the Battle Box was neglected and forgotten.

On 31 January 1992, the Battle Box was reopened to educate tourists and locals on the events leading to the surrender of Singapore during World War II.