[Glitch Singapore] Sonder — Final Project!

project brief

As a project inspired by the work of Blast Theory, in groups, we had to create a piece of public performance art that played “off of real interactions with each other, Singapore, public, and media”. The artwork had to be site-specific, and partially scripted, with enough room for accidents and glitches to occur. It also had to incorporate the elements of the different micro-projects that we had been creating throughout the semester — namely DIWO (Do-It-With-Others), the Glitch, and the Third Space.


Initially, some of our inspo material included:

  • The Shed at Dulwich: A fake restaurant that gained popularity through its eccentric menu items, fake online restaurant reviews and “experimental” dining experience that tricked people into believing it was real.
  • Big Brother: A survival gameshow in which people were locked into houses with other strangers, and interactions between them would be viewed by external audiences who could vote them off.
  • Butler CafesCafes where the ‘butlers’ would address customers as masters, and play along with fake narratives that the customers would be free to come up with.
initial ideas
  • Pillow Talk: People in a bunk hostel would talk to one another anonymously, in a sort of personal pillow fort that would create a sense of intimacy with one another.
  • Real Life RPG: We would become RPG characters that could be guided around a space by our audience based on their commands.
“Final idea”: labyrinth

So we finally agreed on a specific interactive game whose name in the works was “Labyrinth”.

  • Location: Bugis Street
  • Number of players: 6 people who are strangers to one another
  • Duration: Hopefully around 1 – 1.5h
  • What exactly was the game about
    • A sort of ‘catching game’: The 6 players are split into 3 pairs, and of each pair, one is designated the ‘Renegade AI’ and the other the ‘Guard/Chaser’.
    • They would start on two different levels in Bugis Street.
    • The Renegades’ task is to run away from the Guard (neither of them know who the other looks like).
    • Renegades will have personal access to an Instagram account (the Third Space aspect). While they run they are required to take a picture of the space around them every 10 minutes. All Renegades will upload to the same account, meaning pictures will be jumbled up. (The Glitch aspect)
    • The Guard is required to monitor the Instagram account to track down where the Renegades are — but they need to find their specific Renegade using a “Finish the sentence” passcode.
    • The Renegade will have access to a group chat with the facilitators (us), where we will give them clues to go to specific locations within Bugis Street to complete missions tailored to the location while they are running away. Their missions will be monitored by us as well.
    • The Guard will have access to a group chat with the other Guards at the same time. If ever they spot or catch another Guard’s Renegade, they are free to coordinate within themselves.
    • If the Guards catch the Renegades, the Guards win. If the Renegades manage to make their way to the final pitstop, they win. Interaction will take place at the end of the game when everyone is together.
test run — sat, 7 april 2018.

We were really scrabbling find players for our test run, so in the end we had to settle for 2 players only instead of 6. The 2 players were Sihui’s friend, Daniel, as the Guard/Catcher. The Renegade was Yinghui’s friend Zihan.

Instagram account that was set up by us

We actually came up with the clue ideas at the last minute, and went ahead with the test run. The four of us (excluding Maythu) were located at each station to monitor their whereabouts. I was located outside the Bugis tattoo parlour. Here’s a video of me trying to monitor Zihan and Daniel (who eventually got caught aaa). Zihan was the guy with the backpack whereas Daniel was wearing a checkered shirt!!

Basically!!! The run was pretty much a failure. Zihan got caught pretty fast in the middle of the third mission (out of five) in like 1.5h, Daniel managed to catch me as I was?? Super obvious in filming Zihan?? Help. Apparently the Instagram feed wasn’t helpful at all to Daniel, and the game just wasn’t interactive enough within payers. It was already a giant hassle trying to coordinate one pair, so three pairs was….wow…

The game just wasn’t fun if it was simply one person completing missions (even though they were meant to be funny) without any company that they were familiar with. There wasn’t the thrill of competing with someone you knew.

Basic, biggest problem: There was no objective in the game. Zihan was pretty confused as to why he was carrying out all the missions in the game. There wasn’t any solid motivation for him to finish the game.


We realised we had to come up with a fresh new idea that could be completed within the coming weekend as we only had 10 days to the deadline after our failed test run. AAAAA. So we went back to our original ideas about Pillow Talk. After a 2h 20min Skype call we finally came up with a simpler plan. Continue reading “[Glitch Singapore] Sonder — Final Project!”

[The Third Space] Research Critique 2

The third space is to me, is a space where the realm of the physical crosses over with that of the virtual, and a uniquely existing space is created where we supposedly interact with another body that exists in another dimension.

Paul Sermon, Telematic Dreaming, 1992.

Collapsing boundaries in the third space employs a wide usage of technology, especially concerning live feeds that allow people from different places to interact, and despite the difference in locations, closeness and intimacy can still be forged. Quoting from Randall Packer’s “The Third Space” article, “[The third space] is the pervasiveness of distributed space and the degree and myriad of ways in which we are constantly connected.” Similar to this principle, I primarily thought about the usage of the five senses and how they contribute to creating a dimensional fabric that becomes increasingly realistic the more senses and the degree of the senses you involve in the work; for example how touch and sight and sounds of another being would trump simply their visual appearance. Maria Chatzichristodoulo mentions this as an example in her essay, Cyberformance, referencing “Melbourne-based Company in Space that aimed to “create dialogues between our visual, aural and kinetic perceptions”.” More information from our receptors thus creates a more vivid experience. The knowledge that you are also interacting with someone in real time also reinforces the sensation of someone truly tracking your movements and expressions at the same time as you are analysing them, and the environment you employ in the work also influences this. A work conducted in a private, isolated setting, away from the judgement of other people, is bound to be more intimate than that of a busy public space.

Posted by Joseph Tan on Monday, 5 February 2018


In our piece, the ‘third’ body’ is created between the three of us, where we hop in and out of the different screens simultaneously (or at least we try our best to!!), and thus create a third person that is switching locations at a glance. Connection and collaboration between the three of us occured in the form of trying to coordinate with each other by looking through the screens to see whether we were actually syncing up our jumping, and it took a lot of tries before we got it right! We also had to communicate verbally for this to happen despite being in different spaces. Feedback from classmates gave some suggestions on how our idea could be improved, such as not including our faces, and wearing the same clothes, to bring out the idea of being the same, or the ‘third person’.