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.