Final Project — Limbo

1. Limbo


Limbo is an interactive space and a journey that invokes the idea of recurrence among cancer patients and portrays the inevitability and ambiguity of their eventual delirium and death due to sickness in a clinical way. It comprises of a start, middle and end. Start: where everyone approaches a clinical and minimalistic set up with detailed and specific instructions. They queue up and go step by step, making it methodical and prescribed. This is symbolic of hospital visits. They clean their hands, and wear masks. Middle: When tester wears isolation suit, he or she is stripped of their identity and becomes a patient while everyone else with their mask on become voyeurs (Doctors, nurse, friends, family). When they put on wig and look in the mirror, reflection is fragmented/distorted and flatline emits after a standard heart rate. Shrill sound of flatline forces ‘patient’ to remove ‘liberating wig’ exposing their scars while everyone else is relieved that sound has stopped. Enforces the idea of accepting death. End: eased out by disposing of props in trash can.

2. Inspiration


The following table shows the relatively significant and high recurrence rate.


Personal Thoughts

I have relatives and close friends who have experienced the loss of someone because of cancer. Psychologically it is a disease that not only affects the victim but their close ones as well. Many of them told me that as much as they were sad when their loved ones passed in the final stages, they were relieved to watch their pain come to an end. The final stages of cancer, coupled with the strong doses of painkillers such as Fentanyl, causes one to hallucinate and lose their identity. They become unrecognisable physically and mentally fragmented. The only pieces left of them lie in the hearts and the minds of their loved ones — Only the audience could see the clear face of the tester/patient — patient was only able to see their reflection through the fragmenting mirror. Hence this was the overall sentiment and ‘vibe’ I wanted our interactive piece to emanate. It was important that not only the tester was involved.

Delirium is the most common sign of medical complications of cancer or cancer treatment affecting the brain and mind. It is a common problem for people with advanced cancer or those at the end of life.” —

3. Ideation Process

1.Degrading Mirror

Body Dysphoria, Using a wig that emits male guttural noises when worn. To induce body dysphoria. We realised that this was too niche of a topic to evoke and many would not be able to relate to it, making it seem contrived.


Second idea was to use a mirror that would make whoever who looked into it feel like they’re perpetually sick. Incorporated with a wig that emits heart beat followed by a flatline. We wanted to use a concave mirror for this. However sourcing for one was extremely hard and we felt like we could narrow it down further. We also decided to use a pixie cut wig instead so that it would be more androgynous and inclusive.

3.Distortion Mirror

Final Idea that translated into ‘Limbo’ was a fragmented mirror in which a person’s reflection, looked from any angle would always be fragmented. We used a plain mirror form but altered it and guised it in a vanity table set up. We also expanded the interaction to include a beginning to ease the testers and voyeur audience into the interaction ‘space’ and ‘psyche’. Wig would be triggered upon wearing and would beep for 5 seconds before flatlining for two minutes straight unless removed. We wanted this to be reminiscent of people with cancer who have to visit hospitals time after time for surgery all while constantly preparing for a relapse even after recovery. The wig which is liberating object for them, then becomes a dark object since whenever it is put on, it reminds them of their possible death rather than injecting a sense of hope or life into them. Complemented by the mirror which reflects the delirium cancer patients go through during their final moments.

4. Instructional

Physical Set Up:

Pre-Installation Interaction (Start)

Materials Needed:
Hand Sanitiser
Surgical Mask
Isolation Gown
Instructional Signs

1. Buy medical supplies from a walk in medical supply store.
2. Set up a convincing clinical and minimalistic table set up. Orderly and cold. Lay out in a line, equidistant to condition audience’s mind to think of queuing up when admitting to hospital.

3. Sanitiser with signs. (Pump 3X thoroughly) Specify number to bring out the idea of prescriptions and steps. Prepare clear clinical like instructions.

4. Mask (Involves voyeur in interaction, discomfort not only for tester but for audience), apart from discomfort from interaction, tester will also be surrounded by everyone else with masks on.
5. Tester will have to put on an isolation gown before proceeding to interact with the main object. This is to ensure the identity of the tester is stripped away for the duration of interaction.

Installation Interaction (Main)

Materials Needed:
Vanity Mirrors
Photo Frame
Storage Box
Trash Bags
Mounting Tape
Glue Gun

1. Buy items from hardware store or relevant beauty shop. Buy isolation gown from medical supply store.
2. To create Topographic, Fragmented and 3D mirror, buy separate pieces of mirrors. Seal them in a tight plastic bag or protector. Use hammer and hit hard to shatter the glass into small pieces. Lay out pieces.

3. Detach Photo frame backing and lay out first layer of glass pieces to form a flat layer of support. Use glue gun to secure heavy pieces. Layer slowly and build up with different heights to achieve intended areas of concavity or convexity. Use fabric as a filler and support to hold denser areas of layers.
4. Finish with photo frame. Use pliers to secure heavy mirror piece. Glue gun to ensure further support. Mount the back with strong mounting tape and mount on the wall
5. Place Necklace stand directly in front of mirror.
6. Place storage box beside with laptop and circuit beside table. Line with trash bag to conceal circuit. Instruct testers to throw gowns and mask into bin as away of stepping out of interaction space and also to enhance discretion of circuit and appliances.

Arduino and WIg (Main)

Bread Board
Processing App
Needle, Thread
Soldering Kit
Thin Wires

1. Buy androgynous wig with lining
2. Buy long wires, at least 2.5 metre to give allowance for tallest possible tester. Use thin wires to make set up more sleek.
3. Solder Wire to each end of photocell and set up circuit as shown below.

4. Thread wire ends to photocell legs to secure and prevent breakage. Thread photocell onto lining of wig to hide it.

5. Arduino Code — Use low threshold to prevent wig from emitting sound before intended interaction

6. Processing Code

7. Upload Arduino Code then press run on Processing
8. Leave all items in the storage box and proceed to hide.
9. Place wig on necklace stand

10. Let interaction begin

5. User Tests

Body Storming

(Read Micro Project Post)

Testing Code

6. Final Interaction



7. Reflection


All the testers were compelled to remove the wig relatively quickly due to the high pitch sound of the flatline. They were wary of annoying the rest of the audience and were troubled by the sound itself. However upon viewing the interaction I realised that maybe forcing them into this choice of removing the wig, was too easy’.


Incorporate a sensor within the wig that heats up upon wearing. However upon removal, it starts beeping and then flatlines. This would be symbolic of burning or heat and hence death/cremation. And it would then cause a conflict where users would have to decide if they wanted to let their scalp be uncomfortable and hot or let the shrilling sound play. This is symbolic of the idea of having a choice to go for chemo or other form of therapies yet still facing the high possibility of recurrence — No matter what they choose it will still lead to a ‘negative’ outcome.


Image Making Through Type — ‘Child’s Play’

1. Initial Approach


For this project brief, we were tasked to use typography to illustrate and express four different occupations that we aspire to be — fictional/real.


My concept for this assignment was to create a satirical and ironic piece comprising of four different occupations. I wanted to use the distinctive traits of my personality to highlight and explore seemingly glorified ‘dream’ jobs. Most people would describe or view me as a hedonist — someone who’s main goal in life is too indulge/over indulge in all sorts of ‘pleasure’. With my own personal experience in having lived through such a phase previously, I wanted to use this idea of indulgence to bring out the dark undertones or job hazards that masquerade behind the facade of very prestigious occupations. I also wanted to approach this assignment from an adolescent perspective as many kids are often innocent and when they think of ideal dream jobs, that are unaware of the potential ‘side effects’ and hazards that deeply plague adults with these jobs. This juxtaposition of child-like innocence  with a very matured and layered insight into the dark sublayers within my piece, further amplifies the themes of irony and satire.


Priest, Doctor, Dancer, Photographer


I decided to use traditional medium for a more raw yet child-like feel, in line with the overarching theme.

2. Research


I wanted to use typography as something more visual rather than focusing on the solid form of the letters themselves. Hence I explored the use of upper and lower case forms, and finding objects that have a similar silhouette to that of my chosen letters. I also wanted to explore both the use of positive space of the stroke of the letters themselves, and the negative space within these letters. Below are some artist works that I drew inspiration from.

Sawdust by Rob and Jonathan (Use of silhouette to mimic letter form)


Messy by David McLeoad  (combining relevant texture and imagery with the connotation of words)


May by Sabeena Karnik (use of negative space of letter forms)

Mark making

The concept for my final pieces were centred around the idea of ‘Child’s Play’ and the visual  juxtaposition of adolescent innocence with subtle irony. It was also an exploratory piece injected with my own personal hedonistic trait. Hence I wanted the overall pieces to be emotive and tactile. I decided to draw upon inspiration from Abstract Expressionism/Expressionism and various Art Styles to realise this concept visually. Below are some of the techniques or inspiration that I appropriated for my final works.

Yves Klein (use of body and skin to make prints on paper with blue ink)


Keith Haring (use of bold outlines and almost children colouring book like aesthetic)


Man Ray (harsh contrast between light and dark to create a very clinical looking composition)


Mixed Media Art (combining three dimensional items within a two dimensional canvas)

3. Process

Getting my hands ‘dirty’ to me, was an important process to bridge my initial concept and my final work. It evokes the idea of ‘Child’s Play’ while at the same time captures concept of the stains and scars that are left behind when one is tainted by the dark layers that plague my chosen occupations.

4. Final Compositions

1. priest

Materials/Medium : Crayon, Calligraphy Ink, Colour Pencil, Candle Wax, Fummage, Tissue Paper

Letters used: A, P, V

Reference:  Bishop Hat and Staff

Analysis: For this composition the occupation I wanted to critique was catholic priests. Many religious kids in their adolescence look up to these people as men of God and may aspire to be as ‘pure’ as them. However the Catholic Church, time and time again has been embroiled with repeated cases of child molestation which is the ‘hazard’ and ‘hedonistic’ aspect I wanted to explore here. In 2018 alone, within just the state of Pennsylvania there were 1000 reported cases of child molestations by the Catholic Church. Recently the Pope has also acknowledged the prevalence of the issue. Many blame this perverse sexual urge on the abstinence and celibacy that is enforced upon these religious men. For the letter P I appropriated the use of the staff bishops hold in their hand and used typography for its form. Initially I wanted to use the names of victims however I realised that they were inaccessible due to issues of privacy. Hence I used catholic boys’ names instead as an alternative. I also used a subtle phallic form, representing the top portion of the male sexual organ for the end of the staff. This also then makes the action of the priest gripping this ‘staff’ perverse. For the letter A, I used the form of the bishop hat and replaced it with a condom instead. I wanted my viewers to notice these details on closer inspection but from afar there is a sense of superficial innocence to the piece. I also coloured the thumb and finger to make a V form. Candle wax was dripped on the hand to add a perverse connotation to what his hands may have touched. Under the robes there is another A form in the negative space which I replaced with tissue paper. There is subtle A scratched onto the surface to display the hidden cry for help of child victims. The placement of this under the robes is also symbolic. For the overall look, I used very bold ink lines and colour pencil to give this piece a very children’s colour book page sort of vibe. I wanted the idea of innocence and ignorance to be amplified in every way possible. Hence I used materials that kids will often play with. I also burned the page with a candle as candles are used in most churches and I wanted to use it as an instrument of harm. The burns also act as a permanent stain to emphasise the trauma that many are left with due to many that practice this occupation.

2. Psychologist

Materials/Medium : Clay, Acrylic Paint, Screen Printing Ink, Palm, Prescription Pill Slab

Letters used: V, A, r

Reference: Valium Pill

Analysis: For this composition I wanted explore the Job of a Psychologist. Psychologists tend to patients with all sorts of mental illnesses and trauma. Subsequently they too are inherently affected by the emotions of their patients and be triggered by these external factors. Hence many Doctors and psychologists my tend to their own coping mechanisms to reconcile with the intense emotions that they have to absorb and break down in order to treat their patients. Another sub layer would be their easy accessibility to prescription drugs. Hence their need to deal with their own emotions and access to drugs may lead many in these profession to addiction issues. Hence the hazard and hedonistic aspect in this job would be ‘addiction’. I decided to go for a very minimalistic and clinical aesthetic for this composition. For the letter V, I used the form of the benzodiazepine Valium, a powder blue pill, traded under the name Roche. I decided to use clay to make a 3D piece as it is more convincing of the tactility of an actual pill. Clay is also something that kids play with a lot, relating it back to my overarching theme. In the middle the letter is A is in the form of a negative white space — this was obtained by painting the palm of my hand with screen printing ink and imprinting it onto the paper. Hand painting once again is something many kids enjoy doing. For the last piece, I cut up a pill slab of my own prescription medication to form a digital looking letter ‘r’ in lower caps. The blue throughout this composition gives the piece a very X-Ray like and hence clinical look. Even tho I was exploring the job of a Psychologist, I labeled it as ‘Doctor’ as adolescents would categorise Doctors, Surgeons, Psychs all under one big umbrella with their limited vocabulary. Doctor is also one of the jobs many kids look up to.

3. Fashion Photographer

Materials/Medium : Photo Paper, Blue Cellophane Paper, Screen Printing Ink,

Letters used: V, R

Reference: Rorschach Test, V Mag

Analysis:  For this composition I wanted to explore the hidden agendas behind many fashion photographers in the industry. I used notorious photographer Terry Richardson as the main subject matter for this piece. He was a photographer that used to shoot editorial pieces for famous magazines. However after many models allegedly accused him of making them perform inappropriate sexual acts on him during their shoot (including performing fellatio and even making them drink their own menstrual blood), most major magazines have since boycotted him. I printed a few pictures of Terry Richardson touching celebrities (during his shoots) in provocative manners and cut them up to form a deconstructed collage. I appropriated the infamous V logo that V magazine uses to frame their main subject matter in all of their cover pages. I placed the ‘innocent’ portions of the cut up pieces within the V frame while placing the incriminating perverse provocative body contact ones behind the blue cellophane paper which I used. This is representative of how as consumers of these famous Photographers we only see the final perfect looking picture and we are usually unaware of the dirt that plagues these practice behind the scenes. For the letter R, I used screen printing ink to mimic my own Rorschach Test – an ink blot test that is used to psychoanalyse people who may have any unstable mental disorder. This imagery further emphasises the sinister and insidious nature in which many Photographers run their operations (especially within the fashion industry). The adolescent sense of playing here, is symbolised via the use of scissors to cut up the pictures and  to create the collage and also through the use of a ‘basic’ painting technique — pouring pain on one half of a paper, and then folding it into two.

4. Dancer

Materials/Medium : Ribbon, Double Sided Tape as adhesive, Extra Fine Glitter

Letters used: R,P

Reference: Pointe Shoe

Analysis: In this composition I wanted to explore the occupation of being a full time professional Dancer. Dancing, especially ballet is a form of art many young girls and boys look up to. Many parents also send their kids for such classes as it is seen as a very refined and technically proficient ‘sport’. However it involves immense discipline and the dance industry is often shrouded in controversy due to the brutal way in which it operates – only those that are impressive enough are recognised and established individuals in the industry are often unapologetically critical of those who may not be ‘good enough’. This almost regimental discipline was the job hazard I wanted to explore for this piece. From a young age many ballet dancers are already forced to learn how to go on pointe. Hence I used the form of the pointe shoes to create the letter ‘P’. I used glitter as stereotypically it is a material that many young girls would play with or be fascinated by. For the the letter R, I used a ribbon to mimic the lace of the shoes. I also extended it out of the frame, secured with a nail to create the imagery of a noose, hanging the feet. This was the emphasise the idea of how many dancers suffer from injuries and bruises due to broken bones in their feet. Permanent injury is another ‘hazard’. This is hedonistic in the sense because one needs to fully commit and indulge in this art form to succeed.

5. Creative Choices


Red to many would be the most direct colour to represent something that is harmful. Hence I used Blue instead given the idea of how the harm subtly embedded within these occupations are almost invisible to the innocent eye.


For the font, I used blue crayon and intentionally tried to replicate the sporadic form of a child’s writing.


I named the overall piece ‘Child’s Play’ as it reinforces the idea of innocence but at the same time it is contradictory and satirical when juxtaposed with the compositions — which express how these jobs are not just ‘child’s play’.

6. Critique

Final Layout


Project Development — Body Storming (Body Dysmorphic Disorder)

1. Set Up


2. Interaction

3. Reflections

1. What did you learn from the process?


I have learnt that our work might not have the same effect in the two different genders and might be inefficient when conveying our messages.


Initially when we told to make a cardboard prototype for the body storming process I was honestly a little sceptical of its necessity. I didn’t see the need to do so till I went through the process of it and understood its importance for our final piece. It was a test run that allowed us to pick up on any potential weak links or loopholes in our object that could affect our interaction on the actual day itself. I learnt that it was crucial to take into account all 5 senses when making our work because as humans we are not trained to isolate them from one another. As such, when approaching our work all 5 senses of our tester were engaged and simultaneously too. If our main form of interaction was to be through hearing or sight then we had to provide a kind of sensory hierarchy within our work itself so as not to confuse our audience. In our instructions we wrote to smell and feel the ‘wig’ before putting it on. However during the interaction we learned that the touching element was unnecessary and confusing. Sometimes it is better to target specific senses that relate to our topic of design noir than to try to engage all senses with the same intensity. We learned that we had to reign our concepts in and distill them down to make it more focused and targetted. I also learned that during the actual interaction itself we would have zero control over our audience and as such the work had to be as self explanatory as possible. We also learned that the impact of our uncomfortable wig may differ according to the gender/sexual orientation of the person wearing it. Though initially I felt like this may be something we had to address, I personally feel that each person has their own ways of feeling discomfort and we do not necessarily have to try to make everyone feel the same thing. In some sense an object that could self adapt itself and be versatile enough to incite discomfort in all kinds of people is stronger than one that only works on certain type of people.

2. What surprised you while going through the process?


I was surprised that the tester actually able to kinda know what to do and know our intentions of the work.


What surprised me most was the level of discomfort and intrigue displayed by our tester from the moment she interacted with our object. I did not think we were going to get that much of a reaction from our prototype. She was visibly intrigued from the start when she could not stop sniffing the object. And also shocked when the male moaning sounds were emitted when the wig was put on. However she also said she felt confused. Surprisingly she more or less also managed to figure out on her own what he main intent of our work was – body dysphoria and to make people feel uncomfortable in their own skin. Another surprising reaction was her reluctance to disengage with the object completely despite her shock and discomfort. She kept wanting to sniff the pleasant and flowery scent of the YSL fragrance we had doused the wig in. This to me was a potential area we could work on to further strengthen our final interactive piece.

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


I think we can make our work more catered to the two genders like separately: eg. instead of wig it can be female and male underwear.


After the interaction, during the critique from our peers we understood that the effect may not be constant throughout all orientations. Someone mentioned that if it was a gay person and they heard the moaning sounds, it may be more pleasant as opposed to our initial concept that if a male person wore it, it would question their masculinity. We failed to take into account the diversity of the demographics that exist within our audience and that is something we had to adjust. Though someone suggested designing two separate objects for the Two different genders, I personally feel that making one object that would affect the two separate genders equally would be more effective and powerful. For our final interaction we will be using a full frontal mirror with a modified and maybe more androgynous wig with the focus on the sound and smell. We also understood that the shock element of the moaning was too abrupt and resulted in an ambiguous state for the tester, after it was played. We will have to create a proper and gradual arc – start, a moment of breath before the sound, gradual increase in intensity/discomfort of the sound, and ending of interaction. I would want to incorporate the reluctance our tester displayed in leaving our interaction, into our final piece. However we had to make the journey of the interactivity itself smooth first.