Assignment 1 : The Portrait (revised)



f/2.8 , 1/50s
ISO800 , 50mm
Nikon D750


Artist Statement

As much as a portrait is primarily about the face of the object, I decided enhance small elements of the subject that brings out his personality. This was done so through the crop, where I included a small peak of his clothes. I did not want to touch his skin up too much as the texture of the goosebumps were unique and injects some life into the image.


Digital Touchup






Stubble / Cheek




I mainly spot-healed away blemishes on his nose and pimples and stubble. I used the gaussian blur to smoothen some pores on his cheek that may serve as a distraction. Grain and Sharpening was added to finish the image.



working file can be found here

Treatise by Cornelius Cardew, interaction between the composer and the musician.

Treatise (1963-1967) , Cornelius Cardew

Treatise , page 49
Treatise, Page 131


Treatise is a 193 page abstract musical score composed by Cornelius Cardew. Instead of the conventional western notation we often notice, the scores are flooded with abstract lines, circles and curves. This score is not accompanied by any instructions on how it’s supposed to be played or with what instrument. This gives the musicians a free reign on deciding how they want to approach reading a score, translating a visual directive into sound.


Treatise performed by SYNTAX ensemble with piano, violin and flute

Treatise : Conducted by Nino Jvania (1:40min)

Treatise played with electronic instruments


The following examples of the piece being played by various ensembles displays the unique interaction between the score and musicians. There are human universals in music on how we relate visual cues to sounds. For example when there’s a line growing in size or height, it has the visual stimulation of a sound or feeling that grows in value. Similarly with shorter dots or dashes you would imagine it to be sharp attacks or jumpy accents in music. But if all these various visual cues are layered and compressed within each other, how do the musicians make out how a 3 dimensional sound would make. This questions the idea of notation, the method of reading and translating an thought from the composer to the musician.

Vasily Kandinsky , Composition 8

“Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another purposely, to cause vibrations in the soul. —Vasily Kandinsky, The Effect of Color, 1911”


same same but different?


Similar connections between visual stimulation to sound has been explored by multiple artists in various mediums. They all tackle this transient and tactile moment that can be felt but difficult to be explained consistently to an audience.

Cardew had two phases in his career as a composer, from the 1950s-60s where his works were Avant Garde and during the 1970-80s when he tried to apply socialist and realist methods into his works. Treatise was made during his avant-garde period of composing of which he rejected the creation of the work as it went against his new beliefs. The piece allowed freedom and pure spontaneity between the artist/composer with the musicians, however it leaves the audience out of the picture. It therefore did not serve it’s purpose of being an artwork for the people as the audience is out of the loop.




Reference Links:

Vasily Kandinsky (1866–1944): Composition 8 (Komposition 8)






Project Description 

200227 is a sound installation that examines the attraction of rhythm and anticipation. We identified “interstice” as the intervals between a sound, where the lengths of intervals create a rhythm. This piece allows the audience to alter the sonic experience by their movement and behaviour within the space. The sounds created are chaotic and unpredictable when engaging with the piece at a distance. However when they close in towards it, the sounds start to synchronize and settle in a repetitive score. The interactive options in the space encourages the audience to identify what rhythmic composition and intensity is attractive or pleasurable to their ears. 


We wanted to work on a project that transforms a banal or annoying sound into a pleasurable composition. One of our initial inspirations for the projects was a experiment of 32 metronomes ticking at a chaotic rhythm and slowly coming in synch due to the weights of the metronome swinging in resonance with the table. 

We identified the sound we wanted to work with which are the clicking of pens in the context of a classroom or a exam hall, where when someone begins to rapidly click a pen more students join in to annoy their teacher or peers. It became a challenge to find a method in which we can transform a sound that carries a negative conniption and experience into something pleasant and attractive to the ears. 

Our artist references created works where their installations used industrial or everyday objects to create soundscapes that had presence in the space and also a certain allure to make the viewer stay. Zimoun creates sound installations using common materials that create sounds that expands and consumes an exhibition space. He uses cardboard boxes, styrofoam and metal wires with simple motors and mechanisms to scratch, hit and graze to create a trance like drone sound. He multiples a simple noise and through the overlapping of the same sound in various timings, it creates a calming and consistent tone with one sculpture. 

Zul Mahmod with his work DIALOG(2016) featured an installation along the walkway of the Esplanade tunnel. The installation featured a composition that was played out by solenoids hitting a copper pipe. With the hollow sound of the pipe reverberating throughout the room. We found the interaction of the sound in relation of the movement of the audience intriguing. The nature of a walkway directs the audience from travelling from one point to the other or in an inverse direction. The artist have to create an experience that accompanies the behaviour of the user. The audience are most probably constantly in motion, thus the quality of the sound created from the structure is always in flux. This gives the control of the quality of the sound experience to the audience as the positioning of the sound sources are always different. 

From our research we identified a few qualities we wanted to experiment with in terms of both the interactivity and what makes a sound attractive. 

  • RepetitionWe decided on a hypothesis that repetition creates a pleasurable sound experience. As the user recognises a pattern, the sounds heard will be less foreign and the lack of uncertainty can create a banal sound comforting. This was an inspiration from Zimoun’s work with the multiplication of sounds. Although he does not play the pieces in unison, he makes them overlap and thus creating a long never ending loop.
  • Movement behaviour of the audienceThe idea of interactivity comes in form of the viewer being able to control the intensity of the sounds created. The interactive level in Dialog is passive as the viewer has to be an active listener to hear the effects of moving through an artwork to appreciate the different qualities of the sound. We wanted to create an experience with a higher level of interactivity as a method to draw higher viewer participation. 

Initial sketches and brainstorming


Fabrication of Installation 


Technical Description 

The sculpture can be split into two parts, the software branch that consists of Processing, Arduino and the Kinect and the hardware branch where consist of the relay and solenoids.

fritzing diagram of 200227

We create random compositions through an array list and a delay mechanism in Processing that generate random numbers in various delays. This is translated as output pin activation in the Arduino (via Firmata), of which is connected to the relay. The Kinect is also linked through Processing, taking in the depth data of the audience in proximity of the space. It splits the depth reading into 3 zones and through a (If statement) plays the appropriate random composition and delay for the zone. 

When the pin signal of the Arduino is sent to the relay, it completes the circuit of solenoid. The solenoid when energised pushes the pin and clicks the pen. 

Kinect Depth code and Visualization on computer
Delay and zone code & random rhythm generator


Character of Interaction 

Our interactive project falls in between the spectrum of a passive and interactive installation. The viewer has the control for change that makes the project interactive, but they are not in control of the exact rhythm and composition of the sounds. In the Continuums of Interactivity by Nathan Shedroff, we identify the interactions in the categories of Feedback and Control. The feedback in this installation is moderate as change in rhythm and visual cues of the solenoids clicking on the pen can be seen when you enter the active space of the sculpture. However to activate and notice the subtle differences in the zones of the piece, the viewer has to to concentrate and spend time in the space and distance to notice the changes. Therefore the feedback is in the middle of the spectrum as it is reactive, but won’t respond as well if the viewer is moving to and from the sculpture at a fast pace. The viewer has control of the rhythms and intensities by moving through the various zones that each carry a different variation. However the composition of the rhythms are randomly generated by the computer, therefore the viewer does not have total control of the experience. 

Breaking down the interactions through the Characteristics of Interfaces by Richard Colson, we can further define the nature of the interaction in our project. Firstly, the user is one of many variables that can change the sounds produced. This is due to the sculpture not being able to create a personalised experience when there are multiple viewers in the space. Each viewer can affect the compositions but only one will feel valued at one time. There is an intuitive selection/result relationship with the work and the viewer, as there is an opportunity for the viewer to work with the interaction to dig the subtleties of piece. Lastly for the structure of the interface, there are constant elements providing continuity in the experience. When the user stops moving throughout the zones, there is still feedback from the sculpture, playing a certain composition. The sculpture is constantly creating sounds to fill the space with or without the viewer actively participating in it. 


Personal Reflections 

Nok Wan 

We were too ambitious at the start during the visualisation of the sculpture mechanism on paper.

There were supposed to be motors which would turn and point the pens at the user’s location.

We scraped that idea (thankfully)

I learnt a lot about writing code effectively. There are so many different ways to write them for the same result. But the best way is the shortest and the clearest way.

There was still a lag in reactivity due to the presence of delays in the code. Each zone loop has to be completed before the program is able to read the depth information from the kinect to enter 1 of the zones. There must be a way to constantly check for the depth and for the code to jump out instead of completing the zone. I have an idea that introducing a internal countdown would work, but there were no time to test it out. Definitely something to improve on.


Our initial hypothesis of repetition being a comforting sound had inverse effects when the work was installed in the space. We had feedback from the viewers that they prefer the chaotic sound when further away from the work in comparison to repeated score when the pens are clicking in tandem. The synchronised clicking sounded very aggressive and confrontational, almost giving the structure a human behaviour and reaction. I think is due to the distance the viewer is standing at, the sound of the sculpture is much louder in comparison to the chaotic rhythm from far away. The fact that all of the solenoids are going off at once, the solenoids sound like they are going off at the same pitch. The chaotic rhythms on the other hand have the illusion of creating various pitches that form a melody of sorts. The sounds created by the solenoids and pens behind the table tops come off muffled in comparison to the ones in the front. The variations in the sound quality creates a more interesting composition to listen to compared to the ones in sync. 

I feel that the the general interest for the the chaotic but more melodic sound has a relation to how much time people usually spend with artworks. There is much more activity occurring with the chaotic rhythms and thus seems more exciting for the ears despite it’s chaos. In a nutshell, variation and pitch are more interesting and attractive sounds. 

One aspect I felt we should’ve done better was the selection and calibration of the space. The work should be designed around and for a space rather than a singular entity. The human traffic flow and the general soundscape of the space has to be taken into consideration when creating an interactive project. Our current installation didn’t work as well as the corridor was rather noisy and also cut off from the main exhibition area. We could’ve also spent more time in customising the rhythms to have a more gradual change as the viewers tend to walk in and out really quickly. 


Key Responsibilities 

Nok Wan – Kinect code and calibration on site, fabrication of sculpture & research 

Mark – Random score generation, wiring of circuits, fabrication of sculpture & research 



Work in progress videos can be visited through these links:

part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5






Do you know why you have to put on your own oxygen mask before helping your kids? Because if you don’t do that you both die.
How are you going to dive into another discipline of craft if you can’t even be a master of one to save your own life.

– Be good at your discipline and take pride in the quality of work you put out.

– Diversify only when you are good enough.

– Cross disciplinary work is impressive when their technical foundations are executed well. If you want to jump boats, don’t half ass it.


It’s the arts and craft movement in the 2020s BAYBEEEE

Installation Analysis : Principles of New Media

The current interactive 1 project has evolved from it’s infant stages into an installation with much more basic functions. The installation plays with our subconscious comfort to repetitive noise, as well as how people interact with artworks in a designated space. The work is a wall sculpture made out of school table tops and wire frames. Within the structure there are eight modules that clicks pens through the use of solenoids. The sound and score of the pens clicking are randomized and chaotic when the audience is far from the structure. However they will start to click in synchronization as the audience approaches the work over time.

installation sketch

Although the work is not computer based as the examples elaborated in Lev Manovich’s article, it still fulfills some of principles of New Media, the principles being : Numerical Representation, Modularity, Automation and Variability.



Numerical representation is defined when new media are composed of digital code, of which it can be described with a mathematical function. The data goes through an algorithmic manipulation before being transmitted as a new product. A big part of the installation relies on this numerical representation to function. Firstly the data retrieved from the camera manipulated optical (kinect) or sonic (ultrasonic sensor) data into numerical data that is relayed into the Arduino. The data once again gets manipulated into certain conditions to transform them into signals and scores for the solenoid to go off with.

test pattern , Ryoji Ikeda

One of my artist references for this piece is Ryoji Ikeda with his work Test Pattern in particular. His work is an iconic example of numerical representation as he visualizes his research of sound with mathematics and science. For this piece he was representing the effect of how different ratios in sound can result in varied responses. By reflecting the data acquired into binary 1 and 0s, they appeared as black and white strips across the light panels. Sounds that can’t be heard by the human ear is represented visually for the audience to experience the chaos that can’t be processed normally.
His work goes beyond just manipulating data to create an experience but harvests the data as material for his compositions.


As proposed by Manovich, new media objects are object oriented, being composed of parts made up of smaller parts. We can break down the installation through the various modules of which the data is transmitted to and from to create the final output of the sounds produced. The modules include the computer, the microprocessor (Arduino), the relay and the solenoids. Another interesting note we took from the research is that the focus is more on the pattern and rhythm of the score rather than the sound of the pens. Therefore the solenoid and pens are modular as we can switch it out to a different device or object that creates a different sound but still hold the integrity of our original concept.


Coming from a non technical degree course automation saves lives with users who have zero knowledge in coding. Automation exists in the coding programmes such as Processing and Arduino. They hold libraries that are created and programmed from scratch by other users that allow for the mathematic manipulation of data into something more sensible for the common man. It’s similar to the example given of a filter in Photoshop where the user can just apply the function and receive the end result immediately. An example of the library we used in the prototyping of the installation was the library for the ultrasonic sensor. The library translate the delay with the sound waves that the sensor is giving our and receiving and translates the timings into metric values.

Automation via libraries


The elements of this installation that we have no control over is the scores as well as the distance values being received from the sensors. The variable in the installation is defined as the element that changes the cycles or the output of the sound. As we plan to use a randomizer in our code to trigger the solenoids off, there won’t be a fixed score throughout the installation. The sounds are a variable to computer randomization. Another variable is the the audience interaction as their distance from the work will translate into the intensity of the sound. As we have no control over how the audience is interacting with the work, there will not be a fixed sound throughout the installation. They affect the data received by our sensors, in terms of the audience size, speed of which they approach the work and how long they stay in the proximity of the installation will translate into a different soundscape at every moment.

Pretty Enticing Noise (working title) : BODY STORMING


This sound installation plays on how we find comfort in repetition. The installation will consist of multiple pen clicking modules that will go off in erratic, chaotic rhythms when the audience is at a distance. The pens will then start to click in synchronization when the audience comes closer towards the installation of modules. The modules will also turn towards the audience as they come closer towards it.

For the body storming session, we tried to figure out how the modules would look like, taking in consideration the fact that their mechanisms have to be visible and the module to be mobile. The module is tentatively a metal bracket with a solenoid on one end and the pen on the other. The modules would be fixed onto rods that allow them to rotate freely to point at the participant. To mimic the chaotic sounds from the pen, we ran multiple online metronomes at the same time and closed the tabs accordingly to match the interaction.

Pen clicking module
Rotating modules
Instructions for audience



Observations & Notes

  • The installation requires audience participation in order for a change of state in the object
  • When the participant is far from the object, the sound is more chaotic and may not necessarily invite them to approach it, unless given a prompt.
  • Speed of the participant moving towards the wall. If the participant moves at a fast pace, does the reaction match the speed of activity? Do we want it to be super interactive??
  • Do the pens point towards the participant or away. Chaotic sounds vs aggressive position of pen.




Project Sketches

Drafting out sketches

The project that me and Nok Wan are working on plays on the idea of comfort and repetition in sound. We decided to create a device that clicks pens in an unorganized chaotic rhythm but will click in synchronization when the audience moves closer to the object. Through the sketches we decided on two optional modules, the wall module and the box module.


Box module sketch

The box module features a 360 approach where the audience can move towards the work from all directions. The sensors would then have to accommodate this angle of direction.


Wall module sketch

The wall module on the other hand only has to sense the audience moving towards it from one direction. The flow of wall-mounted works also allows us to consider changing the interaction to the flow of human traffic instead, similar to the basement walkway space at the esplanade. We also considered making the module turn towards the audience as they approach the work.

Research | Intro to Interactive 1

Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time No. 2

William Forsythe

This installation features a room filled with hundreds of pendulums programmed to swing in a specific timing. Audiences are invited to participate by being in the space and manoeuvre around the moving objects. The artist and choreographer William Forsythe explores a different approach to dance, where the movement is user generated and unexpected.

Instead of creating a set of movements for the participant, he creates a condition for the movement to occur. Moving the content creation to the participant rather than the choreographer himself. I feel that the intention of the interaction is more active and user generated which creates the element of spontaenitiy and fun.

Electric Stimulus to face -test3
Daito Manabe

The electric stimulus to face experiments by Daito Manabe is a collection of him attaching sensors to his face to activate sound bits on his computer. This results in the participants trying to trigger the sounds by twitching and isolating various parts of their face to generate a signal.

The level of interactivity in this experiment is high as it pushes the participant to make gestures that they are not usually used to doing. It also explores the idea of sound and noise as music. 



Graphic Form | Gallery

Image making Through Type:

Creating compositions using letter forms of your name to describe your future jobs.

Process and research can be found here



Locale : Research and Zine

A field research on Golden Mile Tower and a Zine created through abstracting location imagery and data

Process and research can be found here