Research Critique 2 / iLight 2019

This week, we visited iLight 2019 – The Bicentennial Edition. I’ve picked out two interactive installations that stood out to me during the show.

Photo by The Straits Times

Facey Thing is an installation along the Singapore River that recognises and captures faces of passers by who stare at its giant screen. When a person walks past the giant screen and comes into range of the camera, their face would be recognised by facial tracking sensors and captured on the large screen and enlarged, while attached to the person’s body on screen.

Facey Thing plays on the themes of selfie culture and universal surveillance, and celebrates how people love to see their faces, be it in reflections or captured on a screen and blown up. After their faces appear on screen, the participant can interact by creating strokes with their rectangular blow-up face as a brush. It was intriguing to see many people stop in their tracks just to get their faces up on the screen. It also says something about how comfortable and nonchalant we are about being filmed / photographed without permission.

I’ve seen similar set ups in malls like JCube, where the faces stay up for longer to form a wall full of faces the camera has captured. A good 20% of the images are the faces of beaming foreign workers.

photo by a170027 on OSS

I like how this installation uses the audience as the subject and therefore the subject is relatable to any audience, like how selfies are a universal thing.

Diagram to represent interactive system:



The next piece is a hidden installation titled Transporta (Quirky World of Quarks), tucked away behind an NParks information shelter. I would not have entered it if not for the girl with a lanyard that invited us to try it out.

The door to the installation features a vending machine aesthetic, with options like Quarkling Grapes. The audience enters after selecting their choice of drink and are taken into a corridor of LED lights that would lead to different spaces, as seen in this video:

pwd: tpta

Transporta was created with the idea of exploring concepts of the Big Bang theory and the birth of the Universe, through a journey of abstracted space, light, matter and time by focusing on the ‘Quark’ – a fundamental particle of matter.

Of the many spaces in Transporta, I enjoyed the red room (titled: experience the first second of the big bang!) with bouncing balls the most. Since the floor was padded with bouncy mattresses and there were large rubber balls all over the ceiling, everyone was jumping and bumping their heads into the ceiling, much like the ideas of the Big Bang and its colliding particles. I like how this installation had little surprises with each room and how not having any rules let us interact with the spaces in any way we wanted to, which gave the installation different outcomes with each group of participants.

Diagram to represent system:

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