Task 1A: Exploratory Research – Exploring What, Why, Who, and How

There are certainly many issues that concern the world today and especially in Singapore but social and health issues are definitely the most prevalent ones. Amongst all the social and health issues, these four issues particularly stood out and spoke to me.

What are some of the current issues confronting our world today? Amongst them, what is of interest and a cause of concern to you?

The first issue that I find rather unnerving would be the oblivion that young people in Singapore have over sexual health. According to a Straits Times article published in June 18, 2017, the number of young people in Singapore contracting sexual infections are alarmingly increasing. A survey done by AWARE Singapore also shows that 60% of young people simply choose to forgo any form of protection despite being educated about sexual health in school and they despite having sexual relations with multiple partners as early as 16 years old.





Staying in the realm of sexual health, the issue of abortion laws globally but in particular the recently made abortion bill in the United States made me quite appalled. As of June 2019, nearly thirty states have introduced some form of an abortion ban and with reference to a BBC article, fifteen states have specifically posed a “heartbeat bill” which ban abortion completely on pregnancies that are six weeks or over. With reference to a CNN article, the state of Alabama is the only state currently imposing a total ban on abortions at any stage of the pregnancy which has caused an uproar among pro-choice supporters.





Coming back to Singapore, I truly sympathise the elderlies as they are either forced to postpone retirement or they are forced out of their retirement in order to support themselves. This is evident as seen in an article by ASEAN Today, the employment rate for those aged 65 and older jumped from 13.8% in 2006 to 26.8% in 2018. Adding further pressure on the elderlies, during the recent National Day Rally, the government would also be subsequently increasing the retirement age to 63 in 2022 before being raised further to 65 by 2030.







The last issue that sparked my interest would be the increasing wedding cost for couples. According to an article by The New Paper, a couple’s wedding debt can reach up to $110,000 in which took them four years to pay off. Accumulated debts through lavish weddings are also caused by the term “saving face” in the Asian culture as couples would have to show off their social status. With reference to a ValueChampion post, other factors contributing to the skyrocket cost in weddings would be the wedding bands, dowry, solemnisation ceremony, wedding banquet, honeymoon and wedding photography to name a few.




Why is the issue important?

However among all four issues, the one that really spoke to me was the abortion ban issue. As a choice supporter myself, I really empathise mothers other pro-choice supporters that are upset and enraged with the ban that was imposed recently. With reference to Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health care in the United States and globally, pro-choice is a term used to describe people who believe that women have the rights to decide when and whether to have children, based on their own moral and religious beliefs, even though they themselves may not choose abortion as an option for an unplanned pregnancy.

With accordance to an article by The Atlantic, this abortion bill greatly affects pregnant women who are opting for safe abortion procedures as it would jeopardise their health if they carried a baby to term. Women who are denied safe abortion might even resort to a “DIY abortion” using the insertion of the wire from a coat hanger – or a knitting needle, or another thin rod or stick – into the cervix to induce a miscarriage. This could cause uterine perforation, infections, infertility and the deaths of women. In addition, it would also be immoral to impel a woman to carry a pregnancy she does not want, especially if that pregnancy is a result of rape or incest and studies also shows that abortion is medically safer than childbirth.







Who do you need to communicate to, and why?

This issue has to be communicated to pro-choice supporters in order to rally them to come forth and continue to stand up to the bill. This group of people are likely to be females aged between 18 to 35 years old that are also liberal Americans or females from any country that are pro-choice, really. Pro-choice supporters are in need of having their cause heard by the society as well as the government and the expected effect would be to have them spread the cause further through the potential support that is given to them and hopefully retract the abortion bill though it might look like a far stretch.


How has visual communication contributed to address the cause?

#1: 50 Years of Choice – Protein Studios London, Print Publication, 2018, Link

Although this particular example did not originate from the United States, it shares the same intention which was to celebrate and empower women although in this example it coincides with the vote to repeal the 8th amendment in Ireland. I love this artwork as it is a collaborative piece of work 50 typographic posters that involve not only female designers from the UK but it also involved many other female designers that are also fighting the same cause globally. Colours are also used minimally and limited to red, black, white and greys which really bring forth the intended messages the designers were trying to feature. There is also a “rebellious” vibe going on with the style of the different posters which clearly shows the stance against the amendment made by the government.


#2: Trapped – Women’s Health Specialists California, Free Browser Game, 2018, Link

Trapped is a browser game that is supported by colourful vector illustrations to illustrate the various situations a women contemplating abortion is being put through. With reference to The Guardian’s article,  the game simplifies and make players understand the practical realities of how difficult it can be to get an abortion, particularly when economic, political and cultural factors get in the way. The game portrays a very approachable yet informative and educational edge which allows players to be able to comprehend the different procedures leading up to an abortion in which may be too dry and intimidating when being told by a medical professional face to face.


#3: Gucci Cruise 2020 – Alessandro Michele, Fashion Garments, 2019, Link

During the Cruise 2020 Fashion Show Gucci had in Rome, they certainly made a bold statement which showed their stance regarding the latest debate over abortion rights being waged in the United States with a number of garments that featured phrases associated with the pro-choice movement. The visual used reflected the female reproductive system and the font used to portray the statements on the garment were highly visible and made an impact to very influential people in attendance. I personally feel that these garments are highly engaging as there would certainly be buyers that are interested in buying the custom-made pieces which would mean that the statements and visuals on the garments would be exposed to a larger set of audience.


#4: #StopTheBans Rallies – August Mulvihill, Protest Signage, 2019, Link

In late May this year, many pro-choice supporters came out to the nation-wide rallies with different signages to protest the abortion bill made by Republican policymakers. This signage in particular stood out to me as compared to many others as it really sends quite a straightforward yet still impactful message. The signage was done using a white and red paints which were minimal yet still serves the message. The use of the phrase “NEVER AGAIN” against a coat hanger as a supporting visual truly communicates how coat hangers were a popular form of unsafe “DIY abortions” and that the artist would never want women to ever go through such measures again.

Through these four different examples, I hope to take inspiration from them and in turn create a cohesive design solution that is not only relevant but is also effective in serving the cause.



Ma () is a Japanese word which can be translated to “gap”, “space”, “pause” or “the space between two structural parts.” The spatial concept is experienced progressively through intervals of spatial designation. In Japanese, ma, the word for space, suggests interval.

As mentioned in class, convexity and concavity also come in play when taking about negative spaces. A concave is a surface that is curved inwards and is hollow whereas a convex is a surface that is curved outwards and is bulging.

Our Sound Pattern

Pattern 1 – The Spooky Sounds

Pattern 2 – The Bustling Beats

Translating our analysis of the sounds into modules and actually executing it visually, we have come to a proper visualisation of how our moodbox would be for both our sounds. We started off with a very rough moodbox before improving on it to create a much clearer, cohesive and put together mood box.

Mood Box A

As the soundtrack for mood box A is relatively spooky due to the minor chords, we decided to go fo something spiky, sharp and has a couple different textures.

The spiky metallic piece is the Dominant piece and sound of this mood box. The pice is tapered at the end and has a sharp edge. There are 3 cut-out rectangular shapes that are decreasing in size as the shape gets higher and tapered so as to show how the pitch gets higher each time it is striked.

The broken balsa wood plane is our Sub-Dominant piece and sound as it is to show how we used the wooden sticks to strike it twice after the Dominant piece has been striked.

The small twirl of banana paper is to represent our Sub-Ordinate. It is the sound mini scratcher instrument that comes is very quickly at the end of the repetition along with the strike of the wooden sticks.

Mood Box B

The soundtrack for mood box B sounds very bustling and “busy”, and it had a very rhythmic and organised sense of feel to it. The engulfing sound of the xylophone also adds to how we plan to incorporate a sense of “binding” into the mood box.

The equally spaced out satay sticks are to represent our Dominant sound and piece as it comes on every first and third beat of a bar. The satay sticks act as a base for the other elements and it also a very prominent module out of the entire mood box.

The translucent cone with beads inside is our Sub-Dominant sound and piece as it represents the Kinder Musik shaker that goes on consistent four shakes per bar, throughout the soundtrack.

Lastly, the bell is our Sub-Ordinate sound and piece as it represents the minor xylophone that chimes at the end of each bar. The bell is placed singularly as it is to represent how it only comes on once throughout one repetition.

Revised Mood Box A

Based on the feedbacks given in class, we made a couple of changes to make our final mood box much more clearer and modular.

Realizing that our Dominant piece and sound increases and also decreases in pitch, we made another similar tapered piecebut this time, putting it from air to almost-ground, clearly indicating how the pitch decreases after hitting the third and highest note of the xylophone.

The Sub-Dominant piece which used to be the broken balsa wood piece has been changed to pairs of quarter satay sticksand it is not being repeated four times in the mood box so as to show how the Sub-Dominant sound of the wooden sticks coming in 2 beats after each Dominant sound has been striked.

The Sub-Ordinate piece had been changed to a sharp shard of card with a texture of foam balls on top of it. The piece has also been wedged onto one of the four satay sticks. This is to make it clear how the scratch sound from the mini scratcher comes in at the same time as the wooden sticks, nearing the end of the repetition.

Revised Mood Box B

We have almost completely changed the basic form of our mood box B to make it much more interesting and exciting.

The Dominant piece has been changed to 2 tapered curved planars, representing the two counts the wooden sticks strike in one bar, making it much more clearer. Instead of the satay sticks, we used the banana paper to create a much more textured feel to the piece.

We incorporated translucent threads all around the box to show how our Sub-Dominant and Sub-Ordinate sounds are able to engulf around the Dominant sound. as such, our Sub-Dominant had been replaced with 4 sparsely placed beads to represent the 4 beats that it comes in, in one bar.

The Sub-Ordinate remains as the bell but it has been increased to show a better presence and it is placed on the outer region of the box, as compared to the beads which were closer to the centre of the box to show how it engulfs the sound more when it is being striked.

Mind Map

We will be exploring Mood Box B further in creating our final model as we thought that the suspension idea would be very interesting. In addition, we would have to change the materials of our planars to make it modular with our habitats.


Modules is also a term that is actively used in architecture. A module is set of standardised parts or independent units that can be used to construct a more complex structure, in our case, our city.

In architectural terms, modules are a design of any system composed of separate components that can be connected together. The beauty of modular architecture is that you can replace or add any one module without affecting the rest of the system.

Modular Objects

Modular objects are relatively smaller in scale as compared to modular furnitures and even modular architecture. For instance, in the image above, the speaker is seen as a modular piece of object as the different tiers are all in a circular module shape that stacks on top of one another to create a bigger speaker.

Modular Furnitures

Modular furnitures are a great way to furnish an interior beautifully. Modular furnitures look absolutely cohesive and simply makes furnitures look futuristic, minimalistic and fun to interact with. Furnitures that commonly use modules are sofas, chairs, room divider and book shelves.

Modular Architecture

Modular architectures are larger in scale than the two previously mentioned modular objects. Modular architecture saves space as compared to normal architecture as the specific material used might help in setting the boundary. Modular architecture also harmonises the building as a whole and it is apparent in the Hive at NTU. It uses a rounded module for each classroom and thus on the surface, looks very cohesive, creating a bee hive-like structure.

Mood Palette

The mood that we will be going for would be mysterious and suspense. We are planning to use black, silver and an accent purple colour to illuminate our city. The modules would be in black and metallic silver and will be varying in size. The strings would resemble that of a laser security room where the lines are from one end to another, causing visitors to manoeuvre their bodies when they come.


Who is Mnemosyne?
Image result for mnemosyne
Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory and the mother of artistic inspiration. She was a female titan who had children with Zeus, the God of thunder and sky. She was an important figure to the Greeks that there were rivers and fountains dedicated to her or had her name on it.
In addition, the Greeks also placed a great significance on memory as a fundamental gift which differentiated man from animals. To them, memory served not only to remember, but to also reason and draw or foresee the future, based on the experience of the memory.
Examples of Mnemonic Devices
Mnemonic devices are actually techniques a person can use to help them improve their ability to remember something. In other words, it’s a memory technique to help our brain better encode and recall important information. To put it simply, it is a shortcut that helps us associate the information we want to remember with an image, a sentence, or a word.
The first technique would be acronyms. Acronyms are created from the first letters or groups of letters in a name or phrase. These can be used as mnemonic devices by taking the first letters of words or names that need to be remembered and developing an acronym or acrostic. An example of an acronym would be LOL which translates to Laugh Out Loud.
The next technique would be The Method of Loci. It is a mnemonic device that dates back to Ancient Greek times, making it one of the oldest ways of memorising. Using the Method of Loci is relatively easy. First, users would need to imagine a place with which they are familiar. For instance, if they use their house, the rooms in their house become the objects of information they would need to memorise.
Another example is to use the route to work or school, with landmarks along the way becoming the information needed to memorise. To summarise The Method of Loci, it is to go through a list of words or concepts needing memorisation and associate each word with one of the locations. Proceed in order so that retrieving of all of the information in the future would be easier.
The third device would be rhymes. A rhyme is a saying that has similar terminal sounds at the end of each line. Rhymes are easier to remember because they can be stored by acoustic encoding in our brains. For example, a personal favourite of mine:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
They way that you kiss me,
The next device would be Chunking & Organization. Chunking is simply a way of breaking down larger pieces of information into smaller, organised “chunks” of more easily-managed information. For instance in Singaporean telephone numbers – 8 digits are broken down into 2 parts, with 4 digits each. As such, placing larger quantities of information into smaller containers helps our brains remember more, and more easily.
Organising information into either objective or subjective categories also helps. Objective organization is placing information into well-recognized, logical categories. Trees and grass are plants whereas a cricket is an insect. Subjective organization is categorising seemingly unrelated items in a way that helps you recall the items later. This can also be useful because it breaks down the amount of information to learn.

Visual imagery is the last device and is great way to help memorise items for some people. For instance, it’s often used to memorise pairs of words such as green grass, yellow sun, blue water, etc. The Method of Loci, mentioned above, is a form of using imagery for memorisation. By recalling specific imagery, it can help us recall information we associated with that imagery.

My 2 Scents ( unpleasant & pleasant memory)
The scent that evokes an unpleasant memory would be my mother’s perfume. This is because getting that particular perfume takes a lot of effort. This is because to get the perfume, my mother and I would have to travel back to Indonesia back to our perfumist to get at least 30 bottles to bring it back to Singapore. It is a hassle because I would always have to carry half of the bulk items into my luggage as well. Often times, it is pure luck that we get through Singapore’s immigration but often times, we find ourselves talking our way through “smuggling” the items in.
The scent that evokes a pleasant memory would be my lemongrass aromatherapy roll-on. This is a pleasant memory as I got a really awesome massage in Bandung and my whole body smelled like the roll-on liquid. In addition, after the massage, my mother and I ended up purchasing a few boxes of the roll-on to bring home to Singapore. Till this day, we regularly have these boxes mailed to out home solely because we love the scent and experience we had from it.
A rough form of the scents
Mother’s Perfume
– Sharp edges, spiky, bendy
Lemongrass Aromatherapy
– Wavy, grounded, thicc
Recycled Plastic Art.

Recycled plastic art are created using recyclable plastic bottles, Tupperware as well as many other containers made out of plastics. They are then cut and carved into sculptures and can also be shaped to take new forms such as that of plants, flowers and other decorative items.

Another form of reusing plastic wastes would be to turn it into a hot air balloon. Argentinian creator Tomas Saraceno created an art installation that features the ubiquitous plastic bag, generally made from low-density or high density polyethylene. The giant recycled plastic exhibition is essentially an enormous hot air balloon made of used plastic bags. Titled “Becoming Aerosolar”, the balloon is functional, in theory, and solar powered when heated by the rays of sun, the plastic bags float upwards.

Another way of utilizing plastic waste would be paintings. African artist Mbongeni Buthelezi specializes in an unconventional medium. He is known for transforming everyday, unassuming plastic wastes into sought-after works of art. He heats up pieces of plastic with a heat gun, then applies the melted form onto a black plastic background that doubles as a canvas. By layering and positioning bits or recycled plastic, he is able to create incredible portraits and mosaics that almost resembles oil paintings.

Final thoughts on starting this project.

I am curious as to finding out how I am suppose to manoeuvre different types of plastics and I would like to know how malleable different types of plastics are and how well are they able to retain the form that I have given them, I am also interested and excited to see which of the mnemonic devices I can apply for my final works!