research critique 3 // principles of new media in inter-macy

numerical representation.

I believe numerical representation is related to the inputs or data that is being collected to generate the artwork. In Inter-macy, we see this in the data gathered from heart rate (pulse sensor) as well as light intensity(photosensors). Both of which gathers data as a form of numerical representation. With the pulse sensor collecting numerical data of your heart beats per minute (BPM), whereas the photosensors collecting numerical data as a range of 0 – 1024 based on the placement of your hands that blocks light.


Defined as a “fractal structure of new media”, inter-macy contains different modules which can work individually as well; pulse sensor, photosensor, conductive fabric, LED strips. These modules are put together to form an interactive artwork. The modules also have their own individual elements; for example, modules such as pulse sensor and LED strips have their own library of codes in Arduino, like how a webpage would consist of many separate media elements. These modules are then assembled together by functions in programming.


A keyword we see appearing in the news a lot more often these days; Artificial Intelligence or better known as AI. Inter-macy could be described as a low-level automation where the artwork is reacting to a participant’s actions or heart rate, and where Bryan and I don’t need to stand at the back changing the outputs manually. In this aspect, we can better visualise how automation relies on numerical representation and modularity to run. Essentially, to automate something you would need some form of data and modules.

Here is an example of how the code has been designed to automatically respond to the participant’s heartbeat and hand movements through data received from the sensors.



The different modules mentioned above allows for variables to occur. Pulse sensors and photosensors work differently from a switch, which works in only 2 states, on and off, or, high and low. These sensors detect variables of data based on the actions and heart rate of a participant. Furthermore, the artwork discusses the intimacy between 2 people and by having 2 participants, they themselves become variables because different pairs of people will produce different results. Thus, the experience of a participant is customised, and as mentioned in the book, “Similarly, every user of an interactive installation gets her own version of the work”.

After reading the section on “Principles of New Media”, I strongly believe that variability is an important aspect of Interactive Design, and it is what differentiates a passive and active interaction. When there are variables that a participant can change that is reflected in the artwork, could the artwork be considered interactive? If it could, then the artwork exists as an open interactivity which is a subset of the variability principle.


One of the harder principles to grasp, to be completely honest. But from what I can understand, I guess Arduino is a form of transcoding as it is in itself a language for programming. How does Arduino translate the data inputted into the artwork? Well, Arduino has already laid out the language for us to program, so we the “content creators” only need to type in the functions we need based on the language provided and Arduino will read it and translate it out.


Intel Heart Bot

“An experimental drawing machine powered by the heart rate of each viewer.”

Heart of the City

Photo by Mike Diskin

An interactive sculpture created by Brazilian artist Anaisa Franco is a visualization of your heartbeat on a three-seat chair moulded in the shape of a human heart. The sculpture lights up in vibrant neon lights, which pulses in the rhythm of your heartbeat.


[Insert name here] // sketches by bryan and fizah

Interstice between people

[Insert name here] is an interactive and multi-sensory wearable artwork that discusses the interstices between different types of intimacies within different relationships and individuals.

The physical interstices found in our bodies are usually our most intimate ones. A very obvious and commonly interacted interstice is the spaces between our fingers, where we use to interlock our hands with our parents and partners. As such, we like to explore this portion of the human body to look into the interstices between individuals, where relationships are exposed and intimacy is challenged.

The artwork exists as two wearable pieces that can be worn by two individuals of different relationships (i.e. a couple, or two complete strangers). The wearable pieces come as a pair of wings and a pair of gloves. Individuals become the performer and the artwork once the artwork is worn, and they are encouraged to interact with each other. Specifically, the performers are encouraged to engage in physical intimacy to control how the artwork appears.

Heartbeat detectors on their wrist will measure their pulses, which generates a certain visual and soundscape based on the pulse.

Research Critique 2 – i Light Singapore 2019

For the first time ever, I visited the i Light Singapore on the very first day it opened with @bananaleow. Many interesting artworks were on display, nonetheless, 2 interactive artworks stood out to me.


To be honest, when I first saw this artwork, I made a remark to @bananaleow, “This artwork so big, confirm got no interaction!”

To my delight, we found small little joystick stands placed around the area. Visitors get to control the direction, speed as well as the colour within a certain area around the joystick.

The artwork is an ” abstract reflection of the multicultural world we live in”, which I believe reflects the diverse cultures, living in their own way, but harmoniously together, especially as we see in Singapore.

With many joysticks around for people to play with, it not only allows for multiple people to interact with the artwork at the same time. It also allows for a sort of art collaboration between strangers, as different people to control different sections of the installation at the same time. Hence, at any point of the viewing of the installation, we see the “artwork” of many different visitors.

Keys of Light

While climbing the stairs of Fort Canning Park, I was thinking to myself, this installation on top better be worth this climb. And YES, it was worth it, by far my favourite installation of the event.

Placed on Fort Canning Park, we see that there were obviously lesser people as compared to the Marina Bay area. However, with no lesser people around, we really got a chance to interact with the artwork.

An interactive piano installation, visitors get to control the visual outcomes displayed on the tower when they press the keys on the piano. When we usually play the piano, the outcome we get is only sound. So it was interesting that now we get to see a visual outcome of our actions. Hence, I would say that this installation was a multi-sensory experience, engaging with sounds, visuals and touch.


There were many artworks that stood out, however they lacked interactivity. Nonetheless, here are some of the artworks which I really enjoyed even without the interactive element.

The Time Vortex


Why Green?



Research Critique 1 – Interactivity

There are endless interactive installations to choose from, and every installation has their own merits. Nonetheless, in this post, I’ve picked out 2 installations that stood out for me.

Untitled (Plot for Dialogue)

A unique installation that transform an interior space of a late 16th century deconsecrated church in Milan into a tennis court. Did I mentioned that it was in a bright orange?

asad raza installs a tennis court within converso’s church space in milan all images © andrea rossetti

I thought the juxtaposition of a new bright orange court with a old church laden with sculpture was beautifully done. The first time I saw this installation, I thought to myself, what could this possibly be for?

As part of a programme, “inviting artists and musician to develop projects that connect with its historic and architectural features.” Raza’s main objective for this installation was to explore the ways humans use spaces through social practices. He transformed what used to be a place of worship into recreation.

The tennis installation includes “placement of lines, netting, racquets, iced jasmine tea, scent, and individual coaches.”

Visitors to the installation can choose to interact with it by playing a game of tennis with the individual coaches. Thus, engaging in a coordinated action of a back and forth of the tennis ball exchange. This action creates a rhythmic beauty, which oddly complements the frescoes surrounding the tennis court.

In this case, I believe that the viewers had the most control over the outcome of the installation. Raza provided the setting and equipment for the installation, however, it is up to the viewers how they want to interact with the space and items. For example, they can choose to engage in a slow, rhythmic game of tennis or a rapid and intense game with the individual coaches. Furthermore, without the viewer’s interaction, the installation remains static, the space just becomes a tennis court in a church.

Let’s bring it back to an installation in our backyard.

Future World: Where Art meets Science (Crystal universe)

Taken into account that the exhibition includes many different narratives, I’ll only be speaking about the narrative “Crystal Universe”.

‘Crystal Universe’ by teamLab Image courtesy of teamLab and The ArtScience Museum

Unfortunately, I haven’t actually visited the exhibition, or the Art Science Museum.

In this modern social media days, especially with the popularity of Instagram. It is not uncommon that exhibition these days include “aesthetics” elements. There is no doubt many millennial flock to aesthetics installation to add into their Instagram feed.

Future World also obviously took the opportunity to build such installations. In the “Crystal Universe” narratives, teamLab created a “Interactive 4D Vision technology and over 170,000 LED lights, giving the illusion of stars moving in space.”

The interactive element was that viewers get to change the astrological phenomenon (or the lighting) with the use of their smartphones. Thus, the viewer has some control of the artwork.

However, to me, it is pretty limited. The artist created presets on what to show, so viewers need only choose between one of the presets available. So, unfortunately, viewers don’t get to input their own “creativity” into the artwork.

Moving on, from the 2 articles, I derive 2 questions for discussion:

As an artist, would you feel comfortable with allowing viewers to have FULL control on the end product of your artwork?


“Aesthetic” installations have grown popular nowadays, do you think this trend is a positive impact in interactive design?



Asad Raza Installs Tennis Court Inside 16th Century Milan Church

asad raza installs neon orange, interactive tennis court inside 16th century church in milan