Principles of New Media Essay

  1. Numerical representation is applied in our (me & Celine) project.

“Media becomes programmable”, “Converting continuous data into a numerical representation is called digitalised.

The biggest component of our project is the coding part. One of the coding part is the steps of game (refers to the number of time the button is smash) which have been converted into numerical representation in Arduino. Other than that, the sound will also be a numerical representation/digitalised version in Arduino. 

  1. Modularity is applied in our project too.

“Because all elements are stored independently, they can be modified at any time without having to change the Director “movie” itself.”

An example of modularity, in our project, is coding. In coding, there is a systematic way to input the code where the setup will be the base of our code, followed by the loop. Within that loop, there are smaller loop in it. Hence it is similar to a tree branching out its leaves. Having the code in this systematic and modular way, it is easier to edit, delete, substitute or add new things in it without changing the whole coding.

  1. Automation is not applied in our project.

For automation, it requires computer programming to be there to assist user. Example in games such as Sims, where “high level” automation of media creation is used. In games like this, it requires the computer to understand the choices player make and most objects in the games are generated with programming. 

Sims – mobile version

For our project, automation is not applied because there is no computer programming to assist user while playing the game.

  1. Variability is applied to a certain extend

Firstly, information about the user can be use by the computer program to customise automatically the media composition. For our project, the computer program only takes in the number of time the user smash the button hence lighting up the bulb. 

Secondly, branching type interactivity. In our coding, me and Celine have already branch out how the game will be like. On the prototype, there are 2 button smashing station and user are allow to pick their station. Depending on which station they pick, they will end up either having the easier way to win or the harder way. This also depends on the branching in the coding. 

Thirdly, scalability in terms of the level of the bulb. The faster and more the user smash the button, the bulb will light up to represent which level the user is at. Also, depending on the station they picked, either user get an easy way to a higher level or a harder way to a higher level. 

In conclusion, our project is more towards the closed interactivity, where fixed elements arranged in a fixed branching structure. An example: a player picks a station > start smashing the button > every 20 time he smash the button, one bulb will light up > continue smashing > all bulb light up before the other station = win. This example shows a fixed branching structure where there is only one way to the end. Hence user do not have much freedom in controlling the variability in our project. 

  1. Transcoding is applied in our project. 

“In new media lingo, to “transcode” something is to translate it into another format.”

To my understanding, cultural layer refers to old media using analog and mechanical engineering. While for computer layer, it refers to how new media often uses digitalisation in their work such as programming. 

Bishi Bashi Arcade Game

In my opinion, our project differs from Bishi Bashi Arcade Game because Bishi Bashi Arcade Game is a one branch interactivity where the user smash the buttons to get the highest point. Previous player and the next player will have similar experience in playing Bishi Bashi. But for our project, we programmed it in a way that the experience of game are made differently from each player. So, each player will insert the token/s, and depending on the number of token/s they insert, the game station is programmed to which chose for them wether its easy to win or harder to win. 

Mind Your Gap (Azizah & Celine) – Project Development Body Storming


Take 1 starts from 0:03

Take 2 starts from 1:00

  • What did you learn from the process?

Due to the instructions being unclear on our part, the tester was unable to gauge how the car would be affected by them wearing the glove. There was no connection as we did not react fast enough in creating the right environment, but even then, the only result would be the car moving forward. It creates a lacklustre experience for the user, and they are mostly unclear of their purpose in this installation. There is no emotions evoked from this experience and there is nothing much to be taken away from it.


  • What surprised you while going through the process?

Firstly the comment given by the tester about using the gloves to control something, makes the tester  feel like a god which allows her to control the movement of the object just by moving her hand.

Secondly, not many people know the concept of tailgating, especially if this is an installation that is supposed to be meant for all ages to participate in, younger participants will not be able to understand the concept behind it.

Thirdly, when participants interact with the game, they might not find it engaging and immersive. This is due to the limitation of the interaction, which only requires the participant’s hand to move forward. In interactive media, one needs to be able to engage with the object/game/installation, making it fun or having a concept that is deep enough to be in engraved in people’s minds.


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

Upon reflection, we have decided to think of a new concept that would be more clearer (in terms of instruction) and engaging from the participant point of view. We will also put in mind the intention of the interaction when developing our concept so that participants are able to understand the message that we want to convey.

Mind Your Gap – Ideation

Synonyms of Interstice are space, gap, interval etc. From my understanding, Interstice means an insignificant gap between two objects. Hence I relate it to the gaps between two cars. 


As a newbie driver, I often experience driver tailgating me or stopping their car closely to mine. And as a newbie driver, I tend to stick to the rules that was thought which is to keep a safe distance when driving or stopping.

Title: Mind your gap

Hence I wanted to put this experience of mine into a game. Where player will wear a glove which controls the movement/speed of the car. There will only be one player at a time. The scenario of this game will be at a traffic light junction, the red light is on, and there are vehicles stopping at the stop line.  

Ideation sketch

Player objective is to stop within a safe distance with the vehicle in front of it. They will wear a glove which has sensor that connect to the player’s car. This is to allow them to control the speed of the car. Players will get to choose their lanes and after one player have finish their turn, the next player gets to play. 

To measure the safe distance, there will be beeping sound. The nearer the player’s car is to the vehicle, the beeping sound will be louder and faster. So there will be sensor under the ‘road’ to track the how close is the player’s car to the vehicle in front of it. 


My initial idea was something to do with blinking, because blinking is consider an insignificant gap for our eyes to rest. Blinking is an involuntary action which I’m interested about. However blinking can also be considered as voluntary action, when we decide to control it. Hence, here is a rough sketch of my initial idea that I’m going to discard it away :( 

Research Critique 2 – iLight Singapore 2019

Facey Thing

Walking along Marina Bay waterfront promenade with my friend, we spotted a crowd of people standing in front of a huge screen. The kaypoh singaporean in us started to arises, so we joined in the crowd. It turn out that people were trying out the interactive installation titled Facey Thing.

Facey Thing is an interactive installation where the screen will capture all the passerby walking pass the screen. However, it will only detect faces that near the screen. In other words, as you come nearer to the screen, your face will get detected by the camera and your face will be blown up on the screen then it fades away. 

Our faces blown up on screen
Anatomy of an Interactive System for Facey Thing

Our experience: A big screen with people crowding around that area > Join in > Face was not detected > Gets nearer to the screen > Face gets detected = Happy Us! 

Facey Thing is a fun and satirical celebration of the coming together of selfie culture and universal surveillance to create hyperreal simulated images of ourselves through the art of play.” 

Through the description of the installation, it reflects our tech savvy world where selfie culture and universal surveillance are widely and commonly use. Most of us had taken selfie of ourselves or as a group (as known as wefie), then posting it on social media. To me, social media such as Facebook and Instagram is also a form of universal surveillance., other than CCTV. People from anywhere can observe us just by clicking into social media or even Google-ing our names. This can also be a link to stalking. 

But through the interactive installation, it does not show the negative part of universal surveillance, which is staking. Instead it uses it as a form of playfulness, where people come and have fun without thinking about the cons of universal surveillance. 

More information here:


The Floating Lighthouse 

As we walked down the Marina Bay waterfront promenade, we spotted another interactive installation titled The Floating Lighthouse. 

Floating objects

6 floating objects are places on the water. User will have to press and hold the button, at the control centre, to active the sound that complement with lights on the floating objects. Each button is connected to 1 float, by pressing and holding onto all 6 buttons it will create an overall symphony as one.

Control centre
Anatomy of an Interactive System for The Floating Lighthouse

The intention of this work is for the user to press the button to activate the sound. However different button has different sound. 

  • Press any 1 button: To activate the sound of one float 
  • Press any 2 to 5 buttons: User are able to create their our own symphony
  • Press all 6 buttons: There will be an overall symphony

More information here:

Reflection  – As compare to both Facey Thing & The Floating Lighthouse, Facey thing is more interactive as it include audience into the work. For the The Floating Lighthouse, the music and lighting are all given which gives audience a limited choice to interact with. 

Research Critique 1 – Interactivity

Project: Facebook (2019)
Designer: Lim Si Ping (Handson)

“With the proliferation of social networks and data tracking, the wisdom of computer algorithms and surveillance mobs has been elevated over the locked-in immortality of individual.” – Handson

Facebook (2019), an interactive book that was designed by Lim Si Ping (aka Handson). As you browse through this interactive book for the first time, the camera uses facial recognition to pair your profile with data tracked through search engines. The book draws a back-end algorithm and fills in the blank of the narrative with your name, age, gender, location, and birth date. With a turn of each page, the story unfolds, making you the protagonist of this story. 

In previous lesson, we discussed that reading is a form of interactivity. However it is a low degree of interactivity in terms of participation, control, etc. As compare to Facebook (2019), this interactive book injects user into the narrative plot, allowing user to participate as a protagonist and creating a storyline based on their personal data that has been publicise online. Both the normal book and the interactive book has similar control such as flipping the book. However the outcomes are different. For a normal book, the outcome of the story has been guided by the narrative. But for the interactive book, the outcome changes depending on the user and data that has being gathered, creating their own unique narrative. Hence, for the interactive book, audience have control over the outcome of this interactive book, unlike the normal reading. 

In short, 

  1. Why do I find this artwork or project intriguing? Because each person who interact with Facebook (2019) will have their own narrative based on their personal data that has been publicise online. 
  2. What is the situation or interaction created for the viewer? Firstly, there will be a facial recognition to pair your profile and data tracking through search engines. Then user will start to flip the pages. As they flip a page, they will be reading about themselves.
  3. What is the intention of this interaction? Allowing user to be real-time protagonist of the story, and to see how their personal data can be found easily online. 
  4. What is the role of the viewer? Interact, read the book and find themselves as part of the story. 
  5. Who has control over the outcome of the artwork or project? Is it the creator / artist or the viewer/audience? Audience!

Project: Pulse Index
Designer: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

“We live in an era where a fingerprint lets you into your country, or it lets you into your phone,” says Rafael Lozano-Hemmer “But how can we pervert that? How can we misuse these technologies of control to create connective, poetic or critical experiences? That’s what this show is about.” (refers to Pulse Room exhibition) 

Pulse Index, is a biometric installation which is part of the Pulse Room exhibition. In this installation, it records participants’ fingerprints and heart rates at the same time. The piece displays data for the last 10,925 participants, and it creates a spiral room of skin.

To participate, visitors will place their finger into a custom made sensor equipped with a digital microscope and a pulsimeter. Their fingerprint will then immediately appears on the largest cell of the display, pulsating to their heartbeat alongside the heartbeats and fingerprints of others. As more visitors try the piece, one’s own recording travels sideways and is reduced in size until it disappears altogether — a kind of memento mori. 

“We call it a memento mori, because it’s just a reminder that we’re here for just a little bit of time,” says the artist.


I find this project intriguing because of the concept behind it — Heartbeat as an involuntary action & Participation of audience. 

Heartbeat as an involuntary action

Rafael Lozano was inspired by the ultrasound of his twin babies during his wife pregnancy, and how it will sound when both babies heartbeat are heard at the same time. In one of his talk, he mention that heartbeat is something that we can’t control, it is these involuntary spasms that makes it beautiful. With this, my take away from his work is that interactive media project does not only applies to voluntary behaviours, such as raising your hand, walking near or away from it. It can also be something involuntary such as blinking and breathing.

Participation of audience

Lozano-Hemmer’s work depends on audience participation to exist. It is a crucial part in making the work interactive, and to encourage public to be part of the art and reflect on the unavoidable and playful technological experience. Since his earlier works, he has been incorporating audience and allowing them to contribute into his work. An example of his earlier work is Vectorial Elevation, 1999, which allows audience to design their own light sculptures and it will be executed real life in Mexico City. For Pulse Index, audience is needed to create a whole display which consist of fingerprints and the sound of our pulse. Each audience plays a role in activating and developing it to create memento mori effect. Without the participation of audience, the work would not exist and develop. Hence it would not be an interactive work. 

In short, 

  1. Why do you find this artwork or project intriguing? Because of the concept behind it Heartbeat as an involuntary action & Participation of audience
  2. What is the situation or interaction created for the viewer? A small device for audience to insert their thumbprint and it will record their heartbeat, the projecting it into a large screen with other people thumbprint and heartbeat.  
  3. What is the intention of this interaction? It is about the collaboration between audience 
  4. What is the role of the viewer? The role of the viewer is to make the work exist and develop from there. 
  5. Who has control over the outcome of the artwork or project? Is it the creator / artist or the viewer/audience? Audience, a lot of them! 


  1. How are both projects differ from each other? 
  2. In Pulse Index, does memento mori serve as a limitation?