Experimental Interaction – Final Project: Are you complicit?

Project Description

Are you complicit? is an interactive experience designed as a response to Singaporean society’s discrimination of skin colour. It was inspired by the various bouts of casual racism we have seen taking place in our own country and the desire to raise awareness about this issue. The participant is first asked to choose from one of two masks – either white or black. After which, they can enter an enclosed booth, where there is a mirror. As they hold up the mask to their faces, a recording of insults will play according to the colour of the mask. As the recording plays, the participant is left to stare at their own reflection with the mask on, perhaps contemplating the greater meaning of this interaction.

Observational documentation for user tests

This user test brought up a point we had not thought of – if the participant was already wearing a fully white or black top, the recording might play even when they have not put the shirt on and disrupt the interaction. In the video, our classmate Charm is wearing a black top. She alternates this by holding up the white shirt at times. However, only the “black/dark” recording keeps playing. We also noticed that our test participants tended to hold up the shirts to the photoresistor instead of wearing the shirts.

The next user test had a similar effect, but only the “white” recording kept playing even when our classmate Sze Wee did not hold the white shirt up and stood there in his grey shirt. It kept playing when he held the black shirt up as well.

At some point in the whole user testing session, our professors suggested that the crowd of our classmates outside the cupboard could be affecting the lighting value that we had already coded in. After everyone moved away from the cupboard other than the note-taker, videographer and tester, the code worked. Our classmate Munch held up the different shirts and the different recordings finally played. However, the recordings also appeared to be swapped, with the “white” recording playing when the black shirt was held up and vice versa. After this, we promptly adjusted the code by swapping the light values.

After the user tests, we decided to swap from shirts to masks to keep the action of putting oneself in someone else’s shoes. Masks are easier to put on or even holding it up to one’s face is enough to have the effect as opposed to putting on a shirt, which participants were less likely to do.

We also decided to completely close off the interior of the cupboard so that it would not be affected by external light. This would also help to isolate the participant, thus enhancing the interaction we intended for.

Design process documentation (intermediate designs, sketches, ideas)

Idea 1
Idea 2

Initial ideas revolved around the topic of youth suicide (expanded upon in a previous post: Project Development Drawings), which we decided not to go with in the end as they required way more time and effort than we had to spare.

Initial sketch

We decided to go with this idea which belonged to the Provocative Object stream. We went ahead with the idea of an uncomfortable interaction in the form of a booth in which the participant would go and depending on their skin colour, a recording of micro-aggressions directed at their skin colour would play out loud. Options we were considering included either headphones or speakers to relay the recording to the participant. As a way of detecting the participant’s skin colour, we wanted to utilise the photocell and mirror.

Later sketch

After the body-storming session, it was recommended that we use a black and white shirt instead as the skin colour idea was somewhat derivative and sensitive. We also changed our topic from racism to discrimination based on labels given to different skin colours so that participants would have an easier time making the conceptual leap.

Later on, we switched to black and white masks as the action of putting on the shirt was somewhat a hassle and might deter participants from going into the booth or getting the full effect of the interaction as seen in the user tests above.

A stand alone video describing our project and showing in the actual place or context of use

The context of use for this project would be an installation at an art exhibit, hence the writeup on the side of the cupboard. Not shown in the video is that the participant is facing a mirror when they hold up the masks, looking at their own reflections as they try the masks on and hear the comments.

Step-by-Step making of project

What you’ll need:

  • An enclosed space (We used an empty cupboard)
  • 1x Mirror (Big enough to show one’s face)
  • 1x Speaker
  • 1x Roll of Duct tape
  • 1x Black Mask (If you do not have one, use black matte spray paint like we did!)
  • 1x White Mask
  • 1x Large black cloth (To cover one doorway of the cupboard)
  • 1x LED Light
  • 1x Paper
  • 3x Hooks
  • 1x Breadboard
  • 1x Arduino USB Board
  • 1x Photoresistor
  • 2x Red Wires
  • 1x Black Wire
  • 1x Yellow Wire
  • 1x 10k-ohms resistor

Step 1: 

Close one of the cupboard doors. Use the duct tape to tape the top of the large black cloth to the opening of the cupboard to form the curtain. Remember to use pins/more duct tape to alter the length of the cloth if it is too long for the cupboard.

Set-up of curtain

Step 2: 

On the remaining closed door, stick a label stating ‘Please choose one’. Below that, place two hooks side by side and hang each mask on the hooks. We only had one hook for the outside, so we made do by hanging both on one hook but separating them so they were still side by side.

Set-up of masks
Set-up of exterior is complete!

Step 3:

Inside the cupboard, tape a small LED light to the ceiling. This is an important factor as it is the sole light source for the interior of the cupboard.

LED light set-up

Step 4:

Set up the circuit using the Arduino USB Board, Breadboard, wires, resistor and photoresistor following the diagram above. Our photoresistor was soldered to two much longer wires. Ideally, yours should be as well.

Circuit set-up

Step 5:

Attach the last hook to the back of the mirror. This is what will hold your mirror up on the wall of the cupboard later on. Use duct tape to tape the long photoresistor wires down so they stay organised. We also used duct tape to tape down the mirror stand as it was protruding too much.

Circuit to mirror set-up

Step 6:

Make sure that the photoresistor is at the edge of the mirror, like the image below. This will help to catch the changes in light as the light from the LED fixture on the ceiling above gets reflected off the mirror.

Photoresistor on mirror

Step 7:

Inside the cupboard, place the entire circuit set-up, the speaker, and the power source for the circuit (we suggest using a portable battery charger) into a black box. Stick the hook behind the mirror onto the wall furthest from the black curtain. Use duct tape to further reinforce the mirror to stick on the wall, as well as to stick the black box to the wall.

Interior set-up all done!

As for the codes used in Arduino and Processing, refer to the segment below. Remember to set up the codes first using a computer before putting the circuit into the black box!

Codes and circuit design required to make the prototype

We followed the circuit from the “Let there be light” slides during our second Arduino workshop. It had the photocell, which was what we needed circuit-wise for our project.

Arduino Code Pt 1
Arduino Code Pt 2

This is the Arduino code we used with Lei’s help – we set the sensor values according to the minimum and maximum values of the lighting in the cupboard. The lower value would trigger the “dark” insults and the higher value would trigger the “pale” insults.

Processing Code Pt 1
Processing Code Pt 2
Processing Code Pt 3
Processing Code Pt 4

This is the Processing code we used – also with Lei’s ample guidance. I inserted the 2 separate recordings (“White_Recording.mp3” and “Black_Recording.mp3”) into the code so that either would play according to the light levels. The code in Pt 4 shows how either recording should play at the different light levels (i.e. when either the black or white mask is held up to the mirror), but have nothing playing when neither mask is held up or when nobody is standing in front of the mirror.



Project 1: Auto-Graph


A few of my initial ideas involved iron filings and ferrofluid, as well as magnets attached to a clock motor.

Some initial ideas

However, I had to scrap these ideas upon realising that iron filings and ferrofluid are difficult to obtain in Singapore.

Sketches for magnets rolling idea

My next idea involved a tilted board with elevated surfaces upon which magnets could roll down. On top of this would be another tilted board with magnetic paint/metal items on top of paint blobs, which would be the method to make marks as the magnets rolled down beneath.

Above is the prototype for the board beneath, designed to have multiple magnets rolling and knocking into each other to create a chain reaction so as to create a more interesting piece on the surface layer. I used coins for the time being to test if the prototype’s lanes would be feasible.

However, after much research and testing, I discovered that this idea would not work as the force of the magnets was either not strong enough to pull the metal items along the top as they rolled down, or if the force was strong enough then the magnets would lift off the board entirely and stick to the metal items on the surface instead of rolling down.

Hence, I had to change my idea entirely. While researching on the patterns I could make for the board where the magnets would roll down, I came across a pinball machine surface and was inspired to make a pinball machine instead, with the pinball as the main tool to make the drawing.

The biggest problem would be getting the paper onto the machine (to get the drawing) while still having all the usual obstacles that the pinball would bounce against. As these obstacles are usually set on the surface of the machine, I decided to make an extra cover on which the obstacles would be placed so that paper could still be placed on the machine and removed after the drawing was made.


I used this video as reference to make the flippers. I decided to go with using cardboard boxes to make the machine instead of wood as I was unsure whether I would be able to get the exact diameter of the chopsticks through the sides using a drill. I had the impression that using cardboard would be more precise as I was poking the chopsticks straight through.

Flipper components

I started making the components on the bottom with styrofoam as these had a sturdier form than cardboard, which I would have to cut and paste to achieve the thickness required, and would easily fold under pressure. I worried that styrofoam may be the same where it might crumble if too much pressure was applied, but it maintained its structure and so I decided to go ahead with using it.

In progress of setting up the flipper mechanism


Flipper mechanism sans rubber bands

The biggest problem I had with the mechanism was that the styrofoam kept getting ripped from the box despite being superglued or hot-glued down to the box. It was not strong enough to withstand the force of the rubber band, hence I decided to get wood pieces instead to replace this component.

Another problem I had was getting the rubber bands to work – I realised that I had bought the wrong kind of rubber bands – they were too big for the mechanism. To combat this, I wrapped one end around the chopstick several times and it worked.

Close-up of Push Mechanism
Top View of WIP


Front View 

I used a translucent polypropylene sheet for the cover as I wanted the obstacles and drawing to be visible so that the player could see what they were doing and making as they played on the machine. I used this same material to form the sides, back and surface of the machine to keep the box tilted at an angle.

Side 1
Side 2
Top View with Cover
Top View without cover, after drawing machine has been used

This was the first test, in which I put the purple paint on the paper for the pinball to pick up as it traversed the machine. The results were unsatisfactory as it only made dot-like marks and it did not really track the path of the ball. I added water to the surface of the paper in an attempt to help the ball move around with less friction, but it did not work and only caused the paper to wrinkle.

I tried this again but with pink paint at the side of the machine itself and not on the paper. It worked better as the ball picked up the paint more easily and its path was trackable as can be seen from the pink lines in the photo.

Acrylic paint mixed with a little water

The medium I used to make the painting was acrylic paint mixed with a little bit of water, as acrylic paint alone was too thick and dried too quickly, causing the pinball to stick to the paper/machine instead of rolling down.

This was the first successful piece in which the ball’s movements were tracked using the paint and the areas where the flippers hit it or where the ball knocked against the obstacles are visible. The most common path is also demarcated by the thickest paint lines.

This was the result of the demonstration and try-out done on presentation day – not many marks as people only tried it out for a few seconds.

This piece was made after adjustments to the machine to direct the ball better and the flippers were fixed to be fully functional.

This piece was made on tracing paper, unlike the rest which were made on normal opaque paper.

This is an orthographic plan view drawing of the machine.

This is a combination of the drawing made by the machine and the drawing of the drawing machine itself.

Final Thoughts

I am glad that it worked as I spent a lot of time agonising over the flippers and whether or not they would have enough power to propel the ball upwards into the playing field.

On hindsight, perhaps I should have used wood after all as that would give the machine a more complete finish – or used opaque polypropylene sheets instead of translucent ones. However, I am satisfied with the end product and have learnt much about form and mark-making using different mediums and methods.


Project 2 – The Improbability of Vision

Initial ideas

Our project brief was, in simple words, to create/recreate an optical illusion. I had many ideas spawned from scrolling through Pinterest. One idea was having multiple glass layers with parts of an image on each layer to altogether reveal a whole image when lined up. Another idea was to have multiple hanging pieces of items to reveal an image through its shadow when a light was shone from the top. The next idea was something I came up with – a few clock hands propped up by stands and lined up with parts of an image attached to each of the clock hands. These hands would reveal an image at a split second when the images are all combined together and as the hands tick on, the image would be mixed up again.

However, the clock idea did not seem optical illusion-y enough for me, so I went back online to look for inspiration.

I chanced upon Matthieu Robert-Ortis’ wire sculpture where the viewer would see 2 giraffes from one angle and an elephant from another angle. It looked really difficult to do and I wanted to challenge myself, so I decided to go with this.

However, I did not want to use the same images of the animals as it seemed somewhat arbitrary. I came across some blind contour images on Pinterest and was inspired to do faces instead. On one side, there would be three different faces with different expressions and on the other side, it would be a single face. This was to convey the multi-faceted nature of humans despite the main image of ourselves that we try to portray. Upon consultation with Peter, he suggested making the main face a portrait of an actual person to give it more meaning.

Thinking about the message I wanted to convey and who fit this concept the most, I thought of my mother. As children, we tend to have a lot of preconceived notions of how our mothers are supposed to be, but we forget that they are just as human as we are and just as susceptible to bouts of depression, exhaustion, and escapism.

For the drawing style, I decided to go with blind contour as it was more forgiving in terms of the wire form. Sticking to a clean-cut, normal drawing style would make the styling of the wires much more complicated.

Planning sketches

As for the main singular portrait, I decided to trace my mother’s profile photo as a representation of the image she portrays of herself to the world. The main characteristics were the short hair and glasses.

Sketches – the one on top is the main portrait of my mother

For the three faces on the side, the different expressions I chose were sadness (a face with a tear running down the cheek), escapism (the face turned away at an angle), and exhaustion (the middle face with eyes closed).

First prototype – miniscule version

To test if the wires I was using were thick enough to hold its shape but thin enough to still be malleable, I made a small version of two faces. I concluded that the size I made it at was too small to be impactful and that a larger size would also be easier to manipulate.

Larger version – one face

I proceeded to try making one with a larger face.

Larger version – 2 faces

I finished the first face and attached a second face to it that was made with a separate wire. I attached them by hooking the ends. This seemed fine but unstable, so I thought it was better to just use one continuous wire to form the whole thing.

First version – spray painted black

As the final version was going to be black in colour against a white background, I decided to test the spray paint on my first prototype to see if the paint would affect the metal in any way. It turned out fine, as seen in the photo. In fact, it made the image clearer as there was no reflection like when it was silver.

More sketches

Throughout the sculpting process, I kept testing paths for the wire I could take by drawing them out since it was a single continuous line. This meant that I could not make any major mistakes as I would not be able to fix them easily – I would have to unravel the whole wire and that would cause the lines to be less straight

Main portrait WIP

As I created the three faces in front, I had to figure out how to make the main portrait on the side at the same time. It was rather complicated which is why I drew out the lines on paper first to see which would work.


When the whole wireframe was done, I spray painted it black and began to set up. I planned for it to be a hanging sculpture as the wires could not support themselves from the bottom.

I used a white board for the top and hung the sculpture using thin white threads that were less conspicuous.

Set-up from another angle

It was really difficult as the wires kept twisting and turning and I had to keep readjusting the placement of the threads to ensure both sides were clear.

Final Image Side 1 – Main portrait
Final image 2nd Side – 3 faces

The lines are definitely not as clean as I expected and hoped, but the images were somewhat visible from both sides.  Also, if the backing and ceiling were more spacious, I would be able to show the images in its entirety – part of the reason I could not achieve what I wanted is that the wire did not have enough space to freely hang. Overall I learned that wires are more complicated to maneuver than one can anticipate and it required more time than I expected to be able to complete it.

Zine: Locale Part l – Process and Research

Final Video:


My initial idea was to explore Pasir Ris as it is the neighbourhood I live in. It also seemed like the perfect size – not too large in scale like Tampines, but also not so small that there would be nothing to explore.

However, I later changed my location to Tuas as I wanted to explore a new area that I had never visited. Tuas in particular intrigued me as I was certain that most people, not just my fellow classmates and relatives, had not visited the area. I wanted to see if there was anything interesting about Tuas to uncover.


I conducted a survey to gather the impressions of Tuas, if they knew of certain events that had happened there, and whether they would visit if Tuas had certain facilities or was more accessible.

The questions and findings can be seen in the video and presentation slides.


The architecture in Tuas is generally very angular and modular, made of mainly geometric shapes with the occasional cylindrical building.


Most of the colours I found there were white, blue, grey and brown due to the industrial nature of the buildings. Any colour I found to be slightly more vibrant like the pink of roof tiles or yellow of the occasional wall were still very muted in and of themselves.

Presentation of Findings

I decided to present my findings in the form of a motion graphics video as I wanted it to be visually engaging yet not just static images.


Storyboard Part 1
Storyboard Part 2 with cancelled frames


Following the architecture of the actual buildings in Tuas, I cropped the buildings in a very angular manner. The video itself rarely featured any organic shapes other than as decorative accents. I also featured more photo images rather than illustrations to give a more realistic portrayal of the area.

In terms of colours, I allowed myself to use a slightly larger variety than what I found in Tuas, but kept the colours muted in adherence with the actual colour palette of Tuas.

For the overarching animation style, I took inspiration from this video:

I made presentation slides from the frames used to create the video. In it are the survey results.

Tuas Amenity Centre was covered in the slides but omitted from the actual video as it did not fit into the criteria I had of being interesting enough to attract the general public to come to Tuas.

Moving on from the video, below is an in-depth documentation of my trips to Tuas.

MRT Stations

Upon my trip to Tuas, the first places I documented were the various train stations.

Tuas Crescent MRT Station
Gul Circle MRT Station
Tuas Link MRT Station

All of them had very geometric designs, as visible from the ceiling and ground.

Exterior of Tuas Link MRT Station

I noticed that the MRT stations on the Tuas West Extension all had a unique feature – the pointed tip of the roof.

Raffles Marina Club

One of my first stops was the Raffles Marina Club, where the Raffles Marina Lighthouse is located. A special feature of the lighthouse is that it is rather famous for being a photo-worthy spot – there have even been weddings held there!

Entrance to Raffles Marina Club
Reverse side of Raffles Marina Club
Raffles Marina Lighthouse 
View of the pier
Close-up of a yacht at the pier
Various boats

Unfortunately, I was unable to get a proper close-up shot of the lighthouse as there was a sign that said the pier was off limits to the general public.

Tuas Amenity Centre

The next place I visited was the Tuas Amenity Centre, which as far as I knew was the only building that had any semblance to a shopping complex in the area.


Exterior of Tuas Amenity Centre
Another view of Tuas Amenity Centre
Row of shops on the first floor
Some snacks the shops sold
Some spices the shops sold

There was a row of shops on the first floor, and I noticed that while they sold typical goods one would find at a neighbourhood plaza like Milo packets, beer and Pringles chips, they also sold a large number of Indian spices and snacks. This is probably to cater to the demographic of the workers in the area.

Outdoor eating area on the first floor
Food stalls

There is also an outdoor eating area where patrons can sit after buying their food and coffee. It seemed as though the only food stalls there sold Indian and Muslim cuisine, once again probably to cater to the foreign workers who frequent the centre.

Hawker centre at the back of the building

However, when I went to the back of the building I discovered a larger hawker center that sold a multitude of cuisines including Chinese, Indian and Muslim food.

Men queuing to place bets

On the second floor, I discovered a betting centre. It was packed full of people waiting to place their bets. On another day when I returned to the centre, the centre was closed and the building was emptier than my first visit.

I also interviewed some of the foreign workers visiting the buildings and a couple of the shop owners. Unfortunately, my phone ran out of battery so I was unable to record them, but I wrote their responses down in a notebook.

The questions and their responses can be seen in the slides provided above.

Tiger Beer Brewery

Another location I visited was the Tiger Beer Brewery. I thought that this might be a place of interest as breweries are uncommon in Singapore and the tour had many perks for beer lovers.

Exterior of Tiger Beer Brewery
Exterior of Tiger Beer Brewery
Interior of Tiger Beer Brewery
Interior of Tiger Beer Brewery

The interior was more well lit in person than in these photographs and had a welcoming atmosphere.

I interviewed the ticketing receptionist about the brewery and managed to get an audio recording as well which would be played later in the video I was making to present my information.

Tuas Beach

I discovered Tuas Beach, which really was a secret beach in Tuas that had no official name, through various online articles such as the ones here, here and here.

Screenshot from https://theinfluencermedia.com/2015/02/04/5-things-you-can-find-in-tuas/
Screenshot from https://sg.get.com/sg/blog/5-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-singapores-beaches/

However, upon heading down to the address, I discovered that the entire area had been barricaded and was undergoing construction.

Exterior of barricade
A close-up of what’s past the barrier

At one point in the barricade there was a tiny window so I went up to that, peeped through and got a photo of the scene inside. It appeared that the beach was being transformed into a road of sorts.

Part of the barricade that extends for miles around the beach area

There was no other way to see what was happening to the beach, much to my disappointment.

Tuas TV World

Another interesting location I found was Tuas TV World – a filming location where Chinese dramas used to be produced in the past. Upon Googling, it seemed to be a historical landmark in Singapore and seemed like it would appeal more to people.

However, I found out pretty quickly that it has been closed off from the public and is now a tactical training village for the Police Force today.

A view of Tuas TV World from the outside. Image Source: http://joyloh.com/blog/?p=10882

Below are some images of Tuas TV World in its heyday.

Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/77634078@N04/sets/72157631248627210/
Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/77634078@N04/sets/72157631248627210/
Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/77634078@N04/sets/72157631248627210/
Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/77634078@N04/sets/72157631248627210/

I included Tuas TV World and Tuas Beach in my survey before finding out that they had closed down, but it was still eye-opening to see the results.

Graphic Form Project 1: Image Making Through Type


Initial job ideas for this project included maze maker, pixel artist, video game designer, dreamscape engineer, architect, motion designer, letter writer and professional sleeper.

I also decided that while there was no overall theme, there would be a manifestation of myself in the form of a cat reacting to being in these jobs, most of the time not doing so well.

Maze Maker, Video Game Designer and Motion Designer (scrapped ideas)

Sketches of layout experimentation for Maze Maker
Sketch of draft for Maze Maker

I did up a few drafts for the Maze Maker job, but later scrapped the idea as it had no message that I wanted to convey.

Sketches of Motion Designer

I also created a few variations for the job of Motion Designer featuring the Adobe After Effects interface, but I was trouble incorporating that into the letter forms so I scrapped that idea as well.

Sketches of Video Game Designer

I made sketches of the Video Game Designer as well, utilising video game consoles and old-time video games like Pacman and Tetris to form the name. However, I could not find a message I wanted to convey as well, so I moved on from this idea and focused on the other job options.

Dreamscape Engineer

Sketch of Dreamscape Engineer

For this job, I had a certain mood and landscape in mind. After looking at several references, I was greatly inspired by Victor Mosquera’s Surreal Dreamscapes illustration series, which aligned with my visions for the look of this piece.

The concept I had in mind was of an uppercase ‘A’, forming a face/mask of sorts, meant to represent my assigned identity (as it is the first letter of my surname). This ‘A’ would be levitating to reveal the uppercase ‘N’ (the first letter of my name) beneath, a symbol of my actual self. Inside the ‘N’, which forms a tunnel, lies a cat which is the manifestation of my self, frantically coding on a laptop which is supposedly linked to the dreamland surroundings.

Dreamscape Engineer Version 1

After consultation with Joy, she pointed out that the message is rather ambiguous as the face is not obvious and the overall meaning of the piece was not clear enough, which I agreed with as there was no concrete message that I had though of, only that this was supposed to be a landscape in which my mind was freed. She also mentioned that the letterforms were not being utilised to fit the job, hence I decided to make a few tweaks to try and fit the brief better.

Dreamscape Engineer Version 2

I changed the uppercase ‘N’ to a few lowercase ‘n’s to utilise the shape to form a tunnel, and adjusted the uppercase ‘A’ to look more like a face, changing the protruding lines into hair and the hole into a nose.

However, as I was ultimately unable to draw a link between both letterforms and their utilisation together, I sadly decided to let go of this idea and work on something else that fit the brief.


For this job, I was inspired by these images found on Pinterest which depicted unorthodox building structures.

However, I did not want to simply construct a building without a message, so I put more thought into developing the concept. As I have always found the HDB buildings in Singapore to be rather boring with their modularity and plain colour schemes, I realised this was a good opportunity to create a response using the letterforms.

I decided that the final image would be of a HDB building, but with elements all topsy-turvy and things in places they should not be, even being in impractical positions. I chose to go with an isometric style to maintain some semblance of order as I knew the combination of elements could get rather chaotic.

Sketches of Architect

I started with using an uppercase ‘N’ at first as that allowed me to add slides using the diagonal line in between and include more elements as well. Later on, I changed the letter to an uppercase ‘A’ as that allowed me to utilise the pointy top as a roof for the building and add HDB elements as the line in between in the ‘A’. I would have the cat hanging on for dear life from a part of the structure as I wanted to convey that although it was more fun and innovating to have the elements in places they shouldn’t be, too much impracticality can have consequences as well.

Architect Version 1

In this first uncoloured version, I made the block number signage as what formed the line in between, with the edges of the building elements and tree coloured in shadow to make the letter ‘A’ more obvious.

Feedback from Joy was that she recommended the bamboo poles to replace the signage’s position as having the poles indoors would convey that sense of impracticality too.

Architect Version 2

This was the second outline I completed and I was satisfied with the usage and placement of the elements, but it looked rather flat, so I decided to add shadows.

Architect Version 2 without grid with Shadow

With the outline confirmed, all that was left was the colour scheme. In line with my concept of the anti-HDB, I decided on colours that were as vibrant as possible that would still meld well together.

Architect Version 3 with Textures in progress

This is the final combination of colours that I decided on that had a nice balance of vibrancy and slightly darker tones. I made the background yellow to add to the bright atmosphere and designed textures to be applied to certain elements so as to give the piece a more playful vibe.

Architect Final

The final piece included a cat dangling from the tables to show the dangers of impractical architecture, as intended. I also added an orange border as that made the piece look more complete.

Professional Sleeper

While researching interesting jobs, I found this one which I thought would be fun as it was reflective of my actual perpetually sleepy self.

Sketches of Professional Sleeper

The initial idea for this job features a cat lying on the surface of the uppercase N, turned to form a Z to allude to the ‘zzz’ sound of sleeping. However, Joy asked to utilise the shape of the ‘N’ more to show the job, rather than using the cat character. Hence, I tried to develop more iterations to utilise the letter form.

Various Iterations

3 is the next iteration that I came up with, with the idea of the N as a divider. The cat is supposed to be so good at their job (sleeping) that it can sleep upright and while exposed to bad weather (the rain). The other line of the N forms the roof under which the scientist observes the cat. Joy mentioned that this makes it seem more like the main job is that of the scientist, hence I dropped this idea.

5 is another iteration in which the cat is so good at their job that they can sleep upside down, but this version felt rather forced and hence I dropped it.

2 and 4 are iterations where I tried to make the uppercase ‘N’ a bed and meld the cat’s body to the shape, showing that it can sleep in any situation, even where its body contorts.

1 is where I exaggerated the shape of the ‘N’ to dramatise the concept of 2 and 4 to have a greater effect.

However, Joy pointed out that these ideas did not utilise the unique shape of the uppercase ‘N’ – the concept of the cat’s contorting body could be applied to any other letter. At this point I was having trouble grasping the brief and its specific requirements of having to utilise the letter form as well as have a concrete message, hence the multiple failed iterations.


New iterations for Professional Sleeper using the letter T

Therefore, I decided to change the letter entirely to something else that would be more feasible – an uppercase ‘T’. With this new letterform I came up with another idea as well – a Trapeeze Artist. Joy approved of both ideas and hence I decided to stick with the Professional Sleeper.

This new idea consisted of a very thick top line balancing on top of a very thin pole. The thick line makes up the bed the cat is sleeping on and is tilting at an angle, making the cat about to slip off, showing that even in precarious situations the cat is able to sleep, and is hence good at its job.

Professional Sleeper Version 1

I decided to incorporate the dreamscape setting from the previously scraped ‘Dreamscape Engineer’ job as it fit this job as well.

I selected a gradiented style and softer colour scheme that incorporated darker colours to contrast the pastels, which would suit the dreamland setting. This first iteration utilises more dark colours.

Professional Sleeper Version 2 (Final)

This second iteration utilises more pastel colours and I decided to stick with this scheme as it suited the dreamland setting more. I also added a blanket and pillow to make the top of the ‘T’ look more like a bed. This version would also be used as my final.

Sushi Chef

More ideas for the letter N

Keeping on with the idea of using the uppercase ‘N’ as a divider, which is unique to this letter, I came up with more ideas on how this could be utilised. The sushi chef features the cat chef on one side, with the letter forming the conveyor belt, and the diagonal line in between forming a divide between the kitchen and the dining area.

The fake Facebooker (another job I researched upon that seemed rather unique) features the cat on their computer on one side, with the ‘N’s diagonal line forming a divide between the cat and their screen showing the job. However, as the message was rather unclear for this job, I decided to go with the sushi chef idea.


Sushi Chef Version 2

I then decided to change my letter from an uppercase ‘N’ to an uppercase ‘A’. This is because I thought I could do more with the concept I had in mind, which was to have a kitchen too small so as to have more space for the customers. The ‘A’ would be more effective for this, and I adjusted the hole in the ‘A’ to be squished and small, with the chef cat struggling to get its ingredients all in the small space. The lines below formed the dining area for plenty of customers to fit. The letter itself formed the conveyor belt by which the sushi travels.

Sushi Chef Final Version

In the final version, I decided upon a cut-out paper style to reflect a more ‘Japanese’ aesthetic since it was supposed to be a sushi restaurant, and paper crafts are common in Japanese art. The colour scheme I chose also featured turquoise and salmon and beige to reflect actual sushi restaurants.

Robot-building Robot Operator

Robot-building Robot Operator Sketch

Above is a sketch of a Robot-building Robot Operator. I first came up with the idea of utilising the diagonal line in between to form the arms of the robot, and when thinking of items the robot could build, I thought it would be amusing if the robot was building another robot.

Due to the structure of the ‘N’, the arms are unable to properly balance and support the robot being built, resulting in the robot’s components falling out and the robot bracing for dear life with its legs. The cat is controlling the robot from an operating room located in the side of the ‘N’, about to panic.

Robot-building Robot Operator Version 1

The first style I tried was a cartoon-y style with outlines as I felt that it suited the fun, ironic mood of the piece. The colour scheme also featured red, yellow, green and blue to add an association to the toy-form of the robot.

Robot-building Robot Operator Version 2

The second style I tried was one without outlines as I felt that the one with outlines looked really tacky. I felt that this worked, but it was missing something.

Robot-building Robot Operator Version 3

The third style I tried was one that leaned towards a more Noir style, with the whole robot thrown into shadow and everything in solely black and white. While I really loved this iteration, there were many details that became unclear because of the style, and hence I could not go ahead with this.

Robot-building Robot Operator Final Version

I decided to change up the style to look more like crayon was used for the edges and adjusted the colour scheme to better suit the ‘toy robot’ theme I envisioned.

Final Thoughts

Out of all these pieces, I am most satisfied with the “Architect” piece as it was my first time trying out the isometric style. It was challenging but rewarding to arrange the pieces together and complete it.

It was also fun to do the “Sushi Chef” piece as I could add little details of a sushi restaurant like the customers putting the plates back onto the conveyor belt after eating, or eating the sushi halfway and returning it.

This project was one of the most challenging ones I have encountered in the 2D/Graphic Form vein as I had a lot of trouble grasping the purpose of the brief. It was especially tough to figure out ways to utilise the uniqueness of the letterforms and yet incorporate an intended message inside. Given more time, I would have liked to develop my ideas further and add more details to the pieces.

Zine: Locale Part ll


In the survey, I asked the participants what facilities they thought could be in Tuas, other than industrial buildings. One unorthodox answer was a theme park, and Joy suggested that I draw upon this and reimagine Tuas as a theme park for the zine. Another option was to create a guidebook for all the picturesque spots in Tuas as some of my research included such spots.

However, as some of said spots were no longer open to the public or not as accessible, this idea was not very feasible. I also much preferred the idea of reimagining Tuas as a theme park, and hence decided to go with that instead.


I had two ideas regarding the theme of reimagining Tuas: the first being the various areas of Tuas being “repurposed” to become elements of a theme park, e.g. industrial metal piping becoming slides, a lighthouse becoming a helter skelter, part of the amenity centre becoming a carousell etc.

The second idea would be to reimagine Tuas as various landmarks including a theme park, shopping mall, ice skating rink etc. However, I was not too sure about this idea as it may be going down the vein of commercialising the area too much.

I wanted to utilise paper pop-outs and paper layering in the spreads. The purpose of having these layouts is to reflect the hidden surprises and create wonder within the viewer/reader with regards to the reimagined Tuas.

In the end after consulting with Joy, I decided to go with my first idea of the various areas of Tuas being “repurposed” to become elements of a theme park. However, in the interest of time, I had to scrap the experimental layouts I had in mind and stick to a completely digital layout.

Looking at the ideas I had as to what to feature in the zine, I decided that the zine would take the form of a guide book to the highlights of the reimagined Tuas theme park.


As the main aim was to draw out the elements of Tuas and what makes the location unique and bring them into the zine, I planned for the style to be mostly geometrical with minor organic shapes as detailing. This is an ode to the largely angular and modular architecture in Tuas as most of the area consists of industrial buildings.

I decided on using photos that I had taken of certain landmarks, cropping them in an angular style and illustrating upon them to transform them into their reimagined state. This was to show the difference and contrast between the existing aspects of Tuas and the reimagined aspects.

Colour Scheme

The initial colour scheme I came up with followed the common colours seen in Tuas closely – greys, tans, and muted blues. However, having this colour scheme killed any inspiration or motivation I had to work on the zine as it looked utterly dull and boring. After consultation with Joy, she mentioned that the colour scheme depended on my intentions in designing the zine. If I wanted to take on a more realistic stance and have the zine have a somewhat ironic note on how it is supposed to be a theme park but is dull, then I could stick to the original colour scheme. But if I wanted it to be completely imaginative, then I could also choose to go wild with the colour scheme.

In the end, I decided to go for a more vibrant colour scheme, but I still wanted to retain some element of Tuas. Hence, I decided to use the blues of the buildings, yellows of some of the walls, and pinks of the roof tiles and bricks and appropriate these colours to a more amped up, vibrant version to suit the theme of an amusement park.


Common motifs I noticed in Tuas would be the orderly formation of windows on the multitudes of industrial buildings, as well as corrugated metal from multiple construction sites. I decided to reinterpret the windows into grids and corrugated metal into stripes, which I would later repeat in my spreads as either part of the illustrated elements or incorporated into the background.


Page 8-1 (Ticket)

Sketch of front cover

The idea I had for the cover page would be a ticket to enter the theme park. Joy suggested that the back page could be the ending of the progression in the zine, and that it could show the ticket at the end of the participant’s day at the theme park. This was a great idea and I decided to incorporate it into the zine. The sketch I did was for a horizontal layout, but I later changed it to a vertical layout as that was more seamless with the rest of the zine.

Ticket Front Version 1
Ticket Front Version 2
Ticket Back Version 1 & Ticket Front Version 3

The ticket went through many redesigns, but I finally managed to settle on one I liked and thought was suitable.

Ticket Back and Ticket Front Final Versions

The dates convey the time from which I started working on designing the zine, to the time it was due in class. As the theme is of reimagining Tuas, the idea is that this amusement park will only exist in my imagination for the time that I am working on it.

I also included a chop stating “Leaving Singapore” on the front and “Returning to Singapore” on the back as a satirical statement on the inaccessibility of Tuas, and the area being so distant from civilisation that it seems like a separate part from Singapore entirely.

Page 2-3 (Industrial MRT Rollercoaster)

I came up with the idea of turning an industrial plant into a rollercoaster ride as during my research process in Tuas, my friend and I passed by a huge metal structure of intertwined pipes and she said that it looked like a theme park from far. Hence, I decided to have a rollercoaster reimagined from pipes as my first feature in the zine.

Image Source: Pinterest

In terms of layout, the spread would have folded paper textures to enhance the form of the images as it will be 3D on top of 2D images. Above is an example of what I mean.

Sketch of Industrial MRT Rollercoaster Version 1

Version one features a horizontal spread, with a part of the rollercoaster cut-out to adhere to the layout I had in mind with the folded paper textures.

Sketch of Industrial MRT Rollercoaster Version 2

Version two features a vertical spread, with a part of the rollercoaster cut-out as well, as part of my layout exploration. I also added an explanation box to add to the guidebook theme. In the end, I decided to go with the horizontal spread and remove the cut-outs in the interest of time.

Sketch of Industrial MRT Rollercoaster Version 3

I briefly considered a comic strip layout as well, but decided that it did not suit the guidebook theme.

As the MRT stations in Tuas (Gul Circle, Tuas Link, Tuas Crescent and Tuas West Road MRT) all feature an architectural aspect unique to the Tuas West Extension – the pointed tip of the roof – I thought that it would be necessary to include the MRT station in my zine. It also looked like it could be the station where people get on and off rollercoaster rides, hence I decided to reimagine it as that.

Something unique about Tuas Link MRT station is that it is the only MRT station in Singapore where the station is above ground, but commuters have to go downwards from the concourse to the platform instead of upwards. As a nod to this feature, I decided to place the station in the upper section of the spread, with the rollercoaster tracks going downwards from it.

Having pipes connected to the MRT station looked rather odd, so I decided to have a hybrid of pipes and MRT tracks to form the rollercoaster in the end.

Industrial MRT Rollercoaster Version 1 WIP

The page on the left shows the pipes and the right shows the MRT tracks. In the background, I set a paper texture that was akin to the concrete often seen in Tuas, as well as a grid pattern as part of the motifs I wanted to include. However, I greatly disliked the colour scheme and was extremely unmotivated to continue. The colours combined with the geometric, angular style made the piece look very flat and boring, which I hated.

However, after consulting Joy and changing my colour scheme to something more vibrant, I was inspired once more to continue developing my design.

Industrial MRT Rollercoaster Version 2 WIP

I decided to adopt  a blue-yellow-pink palette as previously mentioned in the Colour Scheme section above. I made the background yellow at first for the whole spread, but later changed it as I wanted a bit more contrast since the pipes and MRT tracks were 2 different materials to form the rollercoaster. I also used negative space on the side with the pipe in white to include a tidbit about the ride.

Industrial MRT Rollercoaster Version 3 WIP

After completing the colours, I was afraid that the lines connecting the pipes and tracks may not align perfectly once the zine was binded. To combat this problem, I added a white border with rounded corners on each page to match the style of the rollercoaster. I also included the motif of stripes in the railings and tracks of the ride.

Industrial MRT Rollercoaster Version 4

After adding the border, my original idea was to place more emphasis on the highlights of the ride. To do this, I decided to have the whole spread in black and white and only place the important parts of the ride in a circle/ellipse of colour.

However, I much preferred the colours in their full glory, hence I decided to scrap the idea of the coloured circles.

Industrial MRT Rollercoaster Version 5

Joy also mentioned that the body text in bold drew more attention than the title text of the ride which was only in an outline. Hence, I changed the title text to be filled instead of outlined, and the body text to medium weight instead of bolded, as can be seen in the image above.

After printing, the yellow colour came out really pale, so I had to adjust it to become more saturated, which can be seen later in the final piece.

Industrial MRT Rollercoaster Final Version

Page 4-5 (Map)

In a very early stage of planning the middle spread, I intended for it to be a third theme park akin to ones that had transportable rides, almost similar to a traveling circus. It would include rides like the amenity center carousel, Tiger Beer snack shop, factory Haunted House, and other attractions.

Image Source: Pinterest

I planned for the layout to be like the image above, the spread having a foldout piece to form the “bottom” of the image, creating a 3-D like space like the previous spread.

Sketches of Page 4-5 (middle spread)

I intended for the foldable sheet to have scenery elements, but had to do away with the whole idea of a foldable sheet in the end due to time constraints. Instead, I decided to utilise the middle spread not having any alignment problems and design a map of the theme park instead.

I planned to separate the map into three sections according to category: water theme park, industrial theme park and miscellaneous facilities.

I flushed all the facility locations to be on one side of the map, making it really inconvenient and inaccessible if this were a real theme park, as a nod to how the facilities in Tuas truly are quite out of reach. There are also much fewer facilities than a normal theme park would have, yet again as a reference to how Tuas only has one amenity centre in the entire area in real life.

The shape of the map itself also follows the actual shape of Tuas.

I added foliage to the corners to help direct the viewer’s eye to the center.

Map Version 1 WIP

In this first version, the island contains more texture and patterns, similar to the style of the Zine: Locale Part 1 final video.

Map Version 2 WIP

I did a second version with a different background as I thought it resembled water surrounding the island, emphasising the isolation from the rest of Singapore.

I much preferred the first version as the black background helped the colours pop more, but Joy mentioned that it did not really fit the vibrant overall look of my zine and I agreed. Hence, I went ahead with the second version.

Later on, I added a border as well to keep the consistency throughout the spreads in the zine.

Map Version 3 WIP

I adjusted the surrounding foliage so that there could be more focus on the island.

Map Final Version

I also changed the actual style of the island from the textured look to a more vectorised, flat look to keep consistent with the rest of the pages.

Page 6-7 (Water Theme Park)

This was the spread I had the most trouble with, due to not really knowing what to do about the composition and layout.

Image Source: Pinterest

I wanted the third spread to feature several layers cut along the top of the image’s outline to give the image some depth, in a similar fashion to the image above. In the end, I also scrapped this idea due to lack of time and decided to stick to a fully digital image.

The rides I wanted to feature were a yacht turned into a viking ship ride, and a lighthouse transformed into a helter skelter ride. The lighthouse is one of the more significant landmarks in Tuas due to being very picturesque. I also chose the yacht as while yachts are not unique to Tuas, it is interesting that there is a place featuring such leisurely activities in an area that everyone assumes contains nothing but industrial buildings.

Sketches of Water Theme Park

In the sketch, I experimented with a vertical layout, but later changed to a horizontal layout to match the rest of the zine as the planning of the other spreads was finalised by then.

The image of the lighthouse I used is the only image in the zine not taken by me. I was unable to get a clear, close-up photo of it as the pier leading to the lighthouse was not opened to members of the public. Hence, I used an image from  https://untouristsingapore.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/raffles-marina-club-its-johor-strait-lighthouse-a-hidden-find/ .

Water Theme Park Version 1

At this point in time, I had not come upon the idea of turning this section into a water theme park – I just knew this part of the theme park would be near the sea to stay true to the actual monuments I was reimagining. I had not confirmed my style at this time as well, experimenting with paper textures to form waves and sand and sky. As I had also not confirmed my colour scheme (this piece was made before consulting with Joy in person, hence nothing was really confirmed), I found the piece a bore to work on and hated the look of it.

After I had consulted Joy and confirmed my colour scheme, things began to look up. I also confirmed the idea that this area would be a water themed park instead of just a usual one.

Water Theme Park Version 2

I used the negative space of the border to form a wave as a device to help direct the viewer’s eyes towards the ship. I made the background blue but it still looked rather plain.

Water Theme Park Version 3

I tried another version with layers of waves and gradient sky to make the imagery more dynamic. I also adjusted the text to match the look of the rest of the zine. I included the motif of stripes in the pier and winding slide around the lighthouse

Water Theme Park Version 3.5

While I found the gradient to be beautiful, I felt that it did not match the rest of the zine that much as everything else had clean lines marking the changes in colour. Hence, I tried to change the sky to match this style and it had quite a nice effect.

Water Theme Park Version 4

I decided to swap the pages’ sides as the Industrial MRT Rollercoaster had its negative space tidbit on the left side as well. Changing this spread would move the wave to the right side, which I thought would be nice for a bit of balance for the zine’s overall look. I also changed up the water to a cleaner style that I thought fit better with the other spreads.

My classmates commented that the previous version did not really look enough like a water theme park, so I added floats and more water slides in linework in the background of the “Lighthouse Helter Skelter” page. I did away with the multicoloured sky so more focus could be on the slides.

Water Theme Park Final Version

I really enjoyed the look of the sky in Version 3.5, so I decided to stick with that instead. Joy also mentioned that I had to be careful that the water slide linework did not look like escalators as the currently did – so I just did away with them. I added water splashes to add to the effect of a water theme park.


This is the final zine.

Front and Back cover

The front and back cover feature a connected background and lighting in the foreground. The front cover shows a ticket to the Theme Park. The back cover shows the ticket after a day at the theme park, corner somewhat warped after getting wet at the water theme park.

Page 2-3 (Water Theme Park)

I decided to shift this spread to the front, to follow the map’s progression of water theme park > industrial theme park > facilities.

Page 4-5 (Map)

The map was chosen to be put in the middle spread as I would not have to worry about aligning the middle.

Page 6-7 (Industrial MRT Rollercoaster)

I decided to shift this spread to the back, as it came after the water theme park.

In terms of the material, I considered a glossy material harkening back to theme park brochures one would typically come across. However, upon looking at the material at the printing shop, the glossy material seemed like it would cheapen the look of the zine. Hence, I opted for a sturdier material instead – High White 135gsm.

This is what the zine looks like in person (colours are more saturated in person):

Front Cover
Pages 2-3
Pages 4-5
Pages 6-7
Back cover


Final Thoughts

Through a ton of experimentation, I learnt a lot about the contributing factors to an effective layout. I also learned how to incorporate motifs in abstract forms and utilise colour to add to theme of the zine. While I sadly did not get to experiment with different formats like the pop-outs and paper layering, I still learnt how to come up with an interesting format for the spreads.

I also learnt how to compromise on the colour scheme instead of continuing to work using a scheme that was uninspiring. All in all, it was a great experience and I am happy that I did not settle until I was proud of how my zine turned out.

Final Project: Project Development Drawings

Idea 1 – The Suicidal Map

We categorised our ideas by the topic we wanted to touch upon. Most of our ideas go down the provocative object track.

Our first idea revolves around the topic of media censorship regarding youth suicides, or just on youth suicides in general. It consists of a humongous board set up in a public space with tiny LED lights set up all over a map of Singapore to represent the different locations in Singapore. The input for these lights would be certain keywords that Singaporeans tweet, such as “die” or “kill myself” – warning signs of suicidal tendencies. The output would be the LED lights lighting up. We also thought of incorporating buzzers alongside the lights to draw even more attention from the public as this installation will be in a place that is easily viewed.

However, we decided not to go with this idea as Serena and Wen Lei advised us that it was too large a scale for our 4-5 weeks project.

Idea 2 – Boxed In

Our second idea with a similar theme focuses on the message of how society does not take suicide seriously enough. This interaction would take place in a small, cramped box with barely enough space for the participant to move around in, with a set of instructions on the wall for them to use the items that they see. Ideas for some of these items include a penknife that turns out to be a party horn, a noose that turns out to be a tie, and a bottle of pills that turn out to just be mints. The intention of this is to subvert the participant’s expectations of self harm, into harmless objects.

Idea 3 – Black or White?

Our third idea revolves around the topic of racism. The interactive space would be an enclosed booth, with speakers that would be triggered to play a recording of micro-aggressions when the participant steps in and faces a mirror that has a photocell attached to it. Depending on the participant’s race, different comments will be played through the speakers. After consultation with Serena and Wen Lei, they suggested giving the participants different coloured shirts to choose from so as to contextualise the interaction, rather than linking it directly to race.

Idea 4 – The Blaring Mask

The last topic we wanted to touch upon was ignorance in speech – more specifically, Singaporeans using racial slurs in everyday speech without realising the gravity of their usage. We came up with a mask that used a motion sensor, which would cause the buzzer to ring and attached LED light to light up when the participant used it. However, the mechanics of this idea is underdeveloped as we focused more on the 3 ideas above.

In the end, we decided to go with Idea 3 as it was feasible and resonated with our intentions.

1. How does your audience experience your project?

Natalie: The audience will first be greeted by a door and two different coloured shirts – black and white. They are to choose either shirt to wear, after which they will step past the door and the door will be closed behind them, entrapping them in a space that is enclosed from all sides, including the top. After which, they will see a mirror and while standing in front of it, a recording will start to play. This recording consists of mean remarks and micro-aggressive comments about their shirt colour. The recording will play for a minute or two while the participant listens to it and stares at themselves at the mirror. After the recording ends, they can step out of the space. Whether they choose the black or white shirt, the remarks in the recording will be equally nasty accordingly.

Sherneese: Our project aims to get in touch with an array of senses – tactile, visual and auditory. By first inviting the audience into a space that limits movement, we create confinement, a strong emotion that is present in our concept that this provocative object is meant to represent. The audience also assumes a label (of their choice?), which is symbolised through different coloured shirts. There is now the added weight of a new tactile aspect weighing on the audience’s physical body. The audience is then confronted with their reflection coupled with the additional aspect of largely politically incorrect ideas being played in audio to create discomfort deep within the audience.

2. Is it for a single person to engage with your project or for multiple participants concurrently?

Natalie: It is for a single person to engage with at a time. This is to emphasise the loneliness and “othering” that victims of racism tend to experience. Being enclosed in the space alone prevents others from being able to engage with the participant and vice versa, eliminating chances of distraction or being able to reach out for help.


Sherneese: Physically, our project is meant for a single-person experience. Ideally, our audience is to experience it alone to fully absorb the extent of our social message regarding racism.

However, the big picture focuses on the entire concept in relation to society. Through this individually shared experience, I hope to raise awareness at the very least, and to possibly start conversations on such topics that we have shun away from for so long.

3. What is the interaction or situation you are creating for your audience?

Natalie: The isolation created by the cupboard leaves the participants with no choice but to stare at themselves in the mirror while listening to the recording, unable to escape. This interaction is meant to create discomfort within the participant as they associate the recording with the colour of the shirt they are wearing, listening to remarks that they have commonly heard before in popular media or may have even uttered themselves. Upon leaving the space, they may think more upon what the experience signifies.

Sherneese: A wave of initial confusion, confinement, isolation and hopefully followed by understanding. The audience first enters a confined space, perhaps feeling a little confused and suspicious. As they are forced to confront themselves, the limitations we impose on them (facing themselves in the mirror with nowhere else to turn to, the audio we will be playing either through speakers or headphones that is once again another aspect that confines their senses) lead to the subsequent emotions we hope they will feel. As they exit the space, the entire experience shall leave some sense of lingering in them.

4. What is the intention of this interaction?

Natalie: The participant steps into the cupboard, touches no other item, and does nothing else to trigger the recording that starts playing (other than the white/black shirt which will trigger the photocell, but this is unknown to them). This interaction is meant to be reflective of the unsolicited racist comments and micro-aggressions that victims of racism face.

Having the participant face the mirror while listening to the recording is meant to lead them to taking the comments personally, instead of something that can be easily brushed off as it is not their concern. Being enclosed with the recording is intended to overwhelm them with the audio. While listening to the remarks that may seem familiar but have never been projected to them directly unlike now, they get a somewhat simulated experience of how damaging these seemingly harmless words can be.

At the end of it all, the experience is intended to build sympathy within majority races towards minority races and raise awareness on how internalised racism is a concern in Singapore.


Sherneese: Right off the bat, the interaction occurs between the one audience in the space and their reflection. It is through coming to terms with how they feel and understand the world that can potentially lead to awareness and empathy.

As stated the above, the basis of our project aims at raising awareness. However, I do wish to push it further by igniting open-minded conversations about such topics that are still seen as taboo topics many fear to bring up at a dinner table. It is through open discussions that can alter mindsets and the way humans treat one another.

The intention was simple. But the results are endless. Ultimately, I believe that the extent of what can be achieved is largely dependent on how the audience chooses to react to this project.

Final Project: Project Development Body Storming

The interaction space from the outside

As the temporary space for our intended “booth” set-up, we sectioned off a small corner of the class using a large cardboard piece as a makeshift door. We left the white shirt and the set of instructions on the door surface itself.

A close-up of the door, complete with the instruction sheet and white t-shirt

There was meant to be another black shirt for the participant to choose between, but we did not manage to find one in time for this Bodystorming session, hence there was only one white shirt.

A close-up of the instructions
Inside the interaction space, where a mirror and makeshift “photocell” is placed against the wall

We taped a mirror where the participant would face, as well as a makeshift photocell which would be the trigger for the recordings.

A speaker from which the recording plays, hidden from the participant

We hid the speaker from the participant’s view – and as what the recordings were actually going to say was not confirmed yet, we simulated it through saying the words out loud through the door, as seen in the video.

1. What did you learn from the process?

Natalie: I learnt that for the sake of the interaction, it was important not to have remarks directly related to race in the recording as it was a little bit on the nose and not directly applicable to everyone who wears the shirt. I also learnt that we would have to figure out a way for the participants to make the associations to race on their own while we focus on making the interaction about the shirt colours. Furthermore, we realised that having a completely enclosed space would be helpful to the intention of our interaction. In this lo-fi version and for the sake of being able to record, the participant was not enclosed at all.

Sherneese: Through this body storming session, I got to see my project from a third person’s perspective. Void of bias and preconceptions, and purely based on the instructions and set-up we have put together using cardboard and paper. I also managed to see potential confusion that the audience may experience with our project that we otherwise would never see from the creator’s standpoint. This process opened my mind to other possibilities and suggestions from both users and bystanders that we can incorporate into our final project. It also made me realise that what I may want my audience to experience may not necessarily pan out the way I want in reality. It is through such testing that we can visualise the variables and work them to our benefit.

Additionally, I’ve realised the importance of the deliberate layout set-up, pre-interaction and post-interaction. They are all equally as important as what happens during the main interaction experience. Every minute detail makes a difference. As our project was meant to be take place in an enclosed space, it had to be verbalised to our audience during body storming as the video taking meant that the door had to be open, causing our audience not being able to experience what we wanted them to go through. 

Another aspect of body storming is that we were not using final materials to create our objects/space and thus it was difficult to achieve certain qualities that are reliant on quality/type of material/context created through objects.

2. What surprised you while going through the process?

Natalie: Some members of the audience noted that making the conceptual leap from the colours of the shirts to the colours of people’s skin may be a somewhat of a mental reach. I did not foresee this problem as while conceptualising, we started out with making directly race-related comments corresponding to either the white or black shirts.

How the public viewed my project differently from what I thought. What may seem clear to me – since I contributed to the creation of this project – may be obscure to others. Realising this point was really important to me because this hitch in connection with the audience can cause the entire project to fail/not achieve the desired outcome. It was also made apparent that different people have different thoughts and suggestions with which we can use them to our advantage.

3. How can your apply what you have discovered to the designing of your installation?

Natalie: We need to ensure that the space is completely enclosed, such as sectioning off a part of the classroom and making sure the top is covered as well, or using a cupboard as the interaction space. We also need to think of a solution to the shirt situation to make it easier for the audience to make the association to race without directly mentioning race it self, such as putting mirrored “labels” on the shirts that the participant will then be able to read when they face the mirror.

Able to understand from feedback given on how to make concept/what I want the audience to get out of this experience more obvious. Have an open mind and use suggestions given to suit concept better.

The interactivity between creators and audiences allows the project to be pushed further, to piece the finer details more complexly and intricately.