Project 2 – Magnet Chimes

Magnet Chimes


revolution & gravity, 2019

revolution & gravity by Yukio Fujimoto inspired me to deal with natural materials and sound that are subtle and may be easily overlooked in our daily lives. Fujimoto placed some salt, sugar, pepper etc into a tube attached to a motor from a musical box. He takes advantage of the rotating mechanics of the music box as well as its sound making nature, complemented by the sounds of the ingredients in the tube. The rotation causes the ingredients to move and collide, creating random and subtle sounds.


Though the magnet used for this project is man-made, I was interested in using magnets as they exist naturally in our world as lodestones or magnetites. Earth itself has a magnetic field that extends from its interior out into space. Since I wanted to play with natural materials, I felt that magnets would be an interesting material to deal with in this project too.

Project 1


Since the previous structure required a person to hold a magnet to create sounds, for the second project I wanted to improve the structure such that the magnets can repel and attract each other without needing the viewer to play with it.

To improve the structure, I took inspiration from traditional wind chimes that are hanging and have about 4-5 rods suspended.

Most wind chimes are also based on a pentatonic scale. I attempted to follow the C minor scale for the corals I used, although loosely, to make the chimes sound more pleasant to the ear.

For this trial, I had to experiment with the height of suspension and the distance between the magnets to find the optimum position for the magnets.

After attaching the corals, the weight brought down the magnet which disabled them from interacting with each other. I decided to change the structure of the chimes. Instead of attaching magnets on each coral, only the central coral piece would have a magnet attached at the bottom, with other magnets at the bottom moving to make the chime magnet move and create sounds.



Rotation using servo motor and arduino.

Slower speed – 90

Faster Speed – 45

Using a battery instead to slow down the speed and reduce the motor noise.


Surprise – The corals create sounds randomly according to how the moving magnets interact, thus the output is generative and without much pattern. In this aspect, the sounds create are unexpected and cannot be calculated.

Though I started off wanting to do the chimes completely analogue, I realised that it was difficult to manipulate the materials purely in an analogue manner, which resulted in me having to use digital means to make a rotating mechanism, which was also a surprising element personally.


Reading Assignment 3

This paper suggests that having a framework for analysing generative art is necessary, due to the broad sense of the term generative art that encompasses a large variety of works in terms of medium, subject matter, processes etc. Having a set framework to discuss and compare generative works provides consistency in how we assess them.

Cons of other frameworks

The study begins by studying existing frameworks that could be applied to analysing generative art works and discusses the shortcoming of these frameworks.

Stevens (1979), Volk (1995) and Ball (2001) analysed mainly on physical processes and natural patterns, of which most have served as an inspiration for generative art. They provide some basis for describing generative art, however according to the writers this method does not address conceptual or artificial processes. While the writers adopt a similar approach to this method, they address how conceptualisation is not always the most appropriate level of description in realising their aims to be inclusive of technical, practical and semantic elements of a work.

The approach adopted in his study might be applicable to generative art works when common forms can be identified. But should we wish to describe the processes themselves, the approach is not 1 A number of Thompson’s process descriptions published in the first edition turned out to be incorrect, highlighting the difficulty of the problem – albeit from a biological perspective – in Thompson’s time. 6 sufficiently tailored to art to be acute, nor is it sufficiently broad as to encompass all of the approaches an artist might adopt.

Galanter’s mapping does not facilitate discussion about any aspects of a work apart from order and complexity. This is insufficient when describing, analysing, comparing and critiquing works of art. The writers feel it is necessary to give equal attention to the forms of the processes themselves instead of purely focusing on the means by which the form is achieved.

Other methods of analysing generative works include emphasising on the importance of describing the processes employed to generate the artwork, as used by Nyman, Cardew and others. We too include this aspect of a generative work within our framework, but go further by suggesting specific details that better capture the nature of dynamic processes.

Programming paradigms are of assistance in understanding computational processes and algorithms. Their abstract level of description, focus on computational data, and functional relationships to that data, make them ill suited to understanding processes as meaningful artefacts in the context of the arts. Perhaps these approaches could be adopted to describe the technical elements of a work, but this seems to be the level at which their utility ends.

The writers have suggest four key elements that should be addressed when analysing generative art.

Entities: Entities are the subjects that the generative processes act upon. These may be real or conceptual, simulated, physical, chemical, biological or mechanical. Entities are constituents that are (conceptually) unitary and indivisible, and whose functional relationships are not typically expressed in terms of internal mechanisms. However, entities may exist in structured or hierarchical relationships with one another, leading to the creation of new composite entities.

Processes: The process can be discussed by describing the conditions or events that trigger the process to terminate, or articulating what allows the process to continue. Macro processes can be broken down into micro-events which can be identified and the relationship between these micro-events can be studied.

Environmental interaction:  This component describes the flow of information between the generative processes and their operating environment. These interactions can be characterise according to their frequency (how often they occur), range (the range of possible interactions, or amount of information conveyed) and significance (the impact of the information acquired from the interaction on the generative system). This can also be extended to higher order interactions involving the artist. Generative practices are different in how the creator manipulates the outcome via the intermediate layer of the generative system. The outcomes of the system are constrained using the interactions, which the artist often set parameters based on ongoing observation and evaluation of the output.

Sensory outcomes: This refers to the experienced aspects of a generative art work. This may include artefacts (visual, sonic, musical, literary, sculptural, etc.), static or time-based forms.

Generative art and its difference from traditional art 

Generative Art can be defined as art created through the means of autonomous systems, eg. natural language rules, algorithms, genetic sequences, machines, or procedural interventions. These generative processes produce a range of results, which rely largely on elements of chance and randomness. It perhaps shares most similarities with conceptual artists who may construct works based on formal rules and number systems.

The purpose of analysing art

Art analysing and art criticism is based on the pursuit of a rational basis for art appreciation. Art criticism is defined as “a form of literature which condenses or amplified, emphasizes or arranges or attempts to bring into harmony all the ideas that come to the mind when it is confronted by artistic phenomena”, by French poet & philosopher Paul Valéry. This means analyzing and criticism plays an important part in developing and deepening artworks while helping viewers perceive and interpret works of art.

The downside of laying down a rubric to perceive art may be that it promotes interpreting works only in one manner, thus limiting the way a viewer may experience and process generative works. The way a viewer can experience, interpret and perceive an artworks exists in myriads of possible ways, yet a framework seems to standardise and limit this possibility. Should the purpose of analysing and criticing art be to deepen and enhance artworks, a framework could also limit the potential of an artwork. While the framework provided is tailored for generative works and facilitates a deeper analysis, it is also difficult to use this framework to compare generative art to other types of art, resulting in an isolated perception of generative art.

Art could serve as a means to open our sensory experiences, and trigger the imagination and broaden our perspective. However, suggesting a framework could limit this experience and restrict the way a viewer perceive and interpret an artwork.

Week 10 Update

Sonic quality of Wind Chimes

Most chimes employ pentatonic scales as the basis for the pitches of their individual chimes as opposed to the traditional western heptatonic scale.

Pentatonic scale – a musical scale with five notes per octave

This is largely due to the fact that these scales inherently contain fewer dissonant intervals, and therefore sound more pleasant to the average listener when notes are struck at random.

Magnet Motor

To make the magnet chimes more automatic, where it moves purely from magnetic forces without needing a person to interact with the chimes, I am considering using magnet motors in the magnet chimes.

Creative Industry Report

Kusaka Akira is a freelance illustrator, graphic designer, and art director from Osaka, Japan. He does mainly illustration works, and creates artworks for advertisements, book covers, children’s illustration book, web design and more using these illustrations.

Blue Bottle by Kusaka Akira

Kusaka’s illustrations possess a distinct style, characterized by a raw and hand drawn quality despite being created purely through photoshop. They have a whimsical aspect which is achieved by juxtaposing unlikely subject matters together. As a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, he has multiple sources of revenue, which include selling his illustrations on Etsy, in local cafes and exhibitions and working for clients such as Yamana Liquer Brewery and Banchaya (tea house).

森の蜜酒 Art Direction, Graphic Design, Illustration by Kusaka Akira

I admire that his works remain in his distinct style across the different clients he has had for his works, showing that clients appreciate Kusaka for his unique works and that his voice as an illustrator and designer are not overshadowed by the needs of the clients

Beyond just an illustrator/ graphic designer

CD album jacket design by Kusaka
Kusaka Akira (trombone) & Taniguchi Yuka (piano)







Kusaka’s work as an illustrator and graphic designer is not limited to just commercial purpose, and extents his drawings to his interest as well. He is a trombone player in his two man band repair. According to Kusaka, the activities of repair revolve around poetry, picture and music. In my opinion it is admirable that his capabilities are not limited to image making, and that his philosophy and style is applied to other mediums – his music. For repair’s performance event and album covers, Kusaka designs them which shows how he practices his craft for his hobbies and interest as well, which I feel constitutes to a dedicated and passionate illustrator who truly enjoys making art.

In terms of illustration style, work ethics and manner, and engagement in other activities, I find that Kusaka is an admirable illustrator and graphic designer and hope to be able to work in a similar manner – not needing to be entirely commercial such that an individual’s working style and identity as an artist gets compromised.


Week 8 Project Update

Magnet Chimes

Project Update

To improve this project, I would like to experiment with electromagnets to perhaps enable the viewer to have a better control in manipulating the magnet chimes.

Creating an electromagnet using:

  • Large iron nail (approximately 3 inches in length)
  • Thin coated copper wire
  • Dry cell batteries
  • Electric tape
  • Iron fillings, paper clips and other magnetic items
Below is a sketch for how I would try to incorporate the electromagnet into the structure, however there is definitely a need to try different ways to include the electromagnet.
Surprise is defined as the unexpected, or discovering something suddenly. This aspect exists in how the reaction of the magnets with each other and with the electromagnet cannot be anticipated, and the sounds that emerge from the chimes will always be different according to their position and the viewer’s manipulation.

Generative Study 1 Final


Other than using magnets to create spontaneous movements, natural materials were chosen as inspired by Fujimoto Yukio’s work. These include seashells, wood, and corals.


While playing with the different materials and listening to their sound, I noticed some materials make higher pitched sounds and some lower. With this, I decided to make the chimes have 3 differently pitched tones, classifying them according to their tone range.

Soprano – higher tone range

Alto – medium tone range

Bass – Lower tone range

Final Outcome of Magnet Chimes

Magnet Chimes is a work that aims to change the way we experience sounds from nature. The individual pieces come together to create spontaneous and random sounds. The sounds generated are derived from the movement of the magnets in the structure that attract and repel each other, as well as from the magnet held by the user.


Setting up the height of the magnet, and the distance from each other was one of the tougher parts of this challenge. An equilibrium needed to be established to ensure the magnets are not too near or too far from each other. Another challenge was getting the sounds generated to be random. Because the movement is caused the the magnets held by the viewer, the sounds tend to be cluttered together and do not sound entirely random.

Moving Forward

The initial idea for this project was to create chimes that would interact only with each other via magnets to create sounds. However, while working on this project, I realised that establishing a system that would work was challenging and due to time constraints, the system changed to one that required the viewer to hold a magnet and play the magnet chimes. As mentioned by Dejan, a way to move forward with this project would be to experiment with electromagnets, which creates an entirely different system on how the sound may be generated. This could also allow the the chimes to work independently without needing a user to hold a magnet to interact with the chimes.

Revolution & Gravity

revolution & gravity, Fujimoto Yukio, 2019
revolution & gravity, Fujimoto Yukio, 2019

Revolution & Gravity is a piece by Fujimoto Yukio which integrates a music box to a glass tube filled with various ingredients such as salt, pepper, sugar cubes etc. The glass tubes utilises the rotary function of the music box to rotate, causing the ingredients within to shift, which induces sounds. These sounds complement the music that plays from the music box, adding a spontaneous harmony to the music.

mixed media (marble, glass tube, music box, metal pedestal) 14.7 x 19 x 5.5 cm 

Fujimoto cleverly relies on the system of the music box to play music as well as to rotate the glass box, which causes the ingredients to constantly shift. The subtlety of this work and how it gives nonchalent everyday noises the spotlight is captivating.

Mixed media (solar salt, glass tube, music box, metal pedestal) 14.7 x 17.2 x 5.5 cm

Revolution & Gravity is a generative artwork as it relies on the system of the music box and the shape, position and components of the ingredients in the glass tube to create sounds that are unpredictable, spontaneous and random, such that when the music box stops and replays again, a totally different harmony will be created each time, and the same sound can never be made twice.

Mixed media (rock salt, glass tube, music box, metal pedestal) 14.8 x 16.7 x 5.5 cm

“Mundane sounds in which I had no interest until that point began to captivate my attention. The sounds of turning a page, placing a cup on the table, clothes getting rubbed, and coins discharged from a vending machine… These were never simple ‘insignificant’ sounds, which cannot be artificially generated by putting together waveforms, but flush with extremely high density content. In addition, although almost all of them were small sounds, they retained their own idiosyncrasies and sounded mettlesome in their specific environments.” – Fujimoto Yukio


Task 1B: Exploratory Research 2

I have decided to focus on the stigma against skin conditions for this design project. A stigma is currently defined as a discrediting mark, biological or social, that sets a person off from others and disrupts interactions with them. Dermatological patients are prone to stigmatisation as the condition affects the outer appearance of the patient drastically, and is obvious to the eyes of the public.

2 surveys were made to gain further insights as to how skin conditions can affect the diagnosed person’s quality of life and why a stigma against people with skin conditions exists.

Survey 1: For people diagnosed with skin conditions

This questionnaire served to understand how skin conditions affect the person diagnosed, and the challenges faced in their daily lives.

Below are the questions and some responses from the questionnaire:

What skin condition are/ were you diagnosed with?

What part of the skin condition affected you the most?

Have you ever been shunned upon/ excluded due to the skin condition?

Did the skin condition affect your self esteem? If so, please specify how.

Why do you think the public tends to respond to skin conditions negatively?

Have you ever come across campaigns/ projects about skin conditions? What are your views on the campaigns and its effectiveness?

Survey 2: For people without any skin conditions

This questionnaire served to understand how much of a stigma exists amongst the public, and their reasons and misconceptions behind the stigma.

Below are the questions and some responses from the questionnaire:

Do you feel uncomfortable when you are around people with skin conditions?

Do you feel uncomfortable interacting (eg. touching) a person with skin conditions?

If your answer to the previous question is yes, please specify why.

If you had a better understanding of various skin conditions, would your reaction to people with these conditions be different?

Further Research

According to research at the American Academy of Dermatology, 68 percent of 56 healthy volunteers would find someone with skin conditions unattractive as well as be ashamed to have it themselves. 41 percent would feel uncomfortable with someone who has skin conditions, and 14 percent would avoid hiring them. Feeling stigmatised for skin conditions has also shown to cause quality of life to be poorer amongst sufferers.

The researcher has lamented that these are astonishing results as skin conditions such as acne can be common, yet there is a lack of empathy and understanding of the conditions.


The stigmatisation of skin conditions is certainly caused by misconceptions and a lack of understanding from the public, affecting the patients quality of life. With these research results, tackling stigmatisation can be approached from the patients’ point of view and the public point of view. It is important for patients to understand that having skin conditions is nothing to be ashamed of and their self esteem does not need to be affected by the public. On the other hand, the public needs enhanced knowledge of skin conditions and understand that a person with skin condition will not spread their condition to others.

Yishun Zine Final

Final Zine

The overall theme of my Zine is the serenity and remnants of human isolation I observed in Yishun.

Cover Page

The cover is a simplification and close-up of the Yishun map. The overall monochromatic colour scheme gives a quiet effect.

Page 1 and 2

Water bodies are a prominent aspect of Yishun, such as the ORTO and Yishun Dam. The large open area evokes loneliness from how spaced apart the fishing people were. This composition thus expresses the isolation through space by using lines of different line weight to divide the figures in the page. The human figures are abstracted to minimal details to give a sense of loneliness.

Page 3 & 4

The overlapping line detail and colours of the groceries and products found in mama shops portray the cramped, clustered and overwhelming aspect of the shops. The sheer amount of items separate the owner of the shops and their customers, which showed how items can result in human isolation as well.

Page 5 & 6

The bright and almost complementary colours captures the eccentric spirit of the people of Yishun, evident from the incidents that occur in the neighbourhood. Such cases include cat murder, robbery, and bringing a cow for a walk, and are include as texts embedded within the curly lines. The words are camouflaged in a way as I feel a person’s thoughts and mind is complex and does not reveal itself easily to others.