Dialogue with Time — Reflection


Initially, before experiencing the session, I was honestly sceptical of the potential take away I would gain, based on previous experiences of such exhibitions where the educational content was not translated convincingly to the participants. However, “Dialogue with Time” proved to be the exact opposite of that and it was via their technique of Role Play, that we as participants were able to empathise with The Central cause of ‘Ageing’. While role playing as elderly, manoeuvring through intentionally modified tasks to mimic their struggle with simple daily tasks, I was able to gain insight into this otherwise foreign demographic.

The first sharing segment where we identified with pictures we felt depicted the idea of ‘Happy Ageing’ best, it gave us a chance to consider in that moment, what we ourselves would want our future to look like. Often we are so engrossed and obsessed with living our contemporary lives (which is inherent and natural of course), that in hindsight, we fail to consider the implications and changes we will have to brace ourselves for as we age. I picked a card with a couple in embrace and in old age. To me, ‘Happy ageing’ was simple: being able to grow up and live life to the fullest with the people you love.

In retrospect, it puts into perspective how despite that might seem like an achievable ideal, in reality many senior citizens face the pain of living in loneliness once their spouses pass away. It is hard for us to imagine a life of loneliness when we are so used to being surrounded by people, in our youth. However that sharing session, struck a chord and urged me to empathise with the fear, unpredictability, and unease many of the elderly would have to grapple with.

The sharing by our senior citizen guide gave us further insight into her own growing process and how she coped with both physical and mental changes brought about by ageing. It is rare that we have a chance to sit down with and talk to someone of age unless we live with our grandparents. Hence for me it was a meaningful opportunity to remind myself that ageing was a significant and important that issue that deserves attention.


The main benefit would be its effectiveness in contextualising and providing us with a clear parameter to think in. It coerces us to be focused on our thoughts and it is confrontational in its treatment of the issue at heart.

For the central segment with interactive stations. We were directly challenged to complete simple tasks, imposed with the same limitations elderly face. For example, hand tremors where we had to unlock a door while resting our hands in a shaking loop. The confrontational and direct approach of the stations conveyed the sense of seriousness and urgency of the issue. Instead of being interpretative in its presentation and treating us a a general audience, our characters as old people, effectively enabled us to be convinced of the issue with immediacy. Certain people were also pulled out to sit out, to invoke the idea of retirement. It echoed the idea of the inevitable succumbing to loneliness. Personally I was confident that I would be able to clear all the stations with ease, but was surprised when I fumbled myself. There were moments I was uncomfortable, as it did make me feel momentarily displaced from normalcy. Being forced to think about and reflect while under the guise of a role, allowed me to derive a new perspective.

Words that came to my mind whilst in role : Frustration,  Slow,  Burden.

While people were waiting for us, the fact that we were taking time to complete the station due to its difficulty mirrored similar issue elderly in real life deal with daily. Role-Play allowed me to associate with relevant ideas that I otherwise would not identify with usually.

3. Examples (Effectiveness of Role-Play)

Role Playing would mostly be effective when we as designers are trying to understand challenges that our target audience deal with, (the same challenges we aim to resolve via our design output). It allows us to have an active rather than passive approach towards our design process when we first hand are able to experience what they do. For example, for people with disabilities who are wheel chair bound – role playing to understand the difficulty many ‘normal’ infrastructure designs pose for the manoeuvring of wheel chair bound individuals. Apart from physically changing our experience, role playing also more importantly contextualises the way we absorb information around us. It attunes us to receive information based on the perspective of our target audience, as we interact with them and in their shoes. For something less physically apparent such as trauma, role playing may help us understand heightened sensitivity and trigger response this demographic has. All these then help us as designers be mindful and targeted in our design solutions. It also helps us identify what to focus on and what to avoid that may be detrimental to their betterment.

Task 1A : Exploratory Research

1. Current Issues

1. Sustainable Food

With depleting resources, people are increasingly advocating for the need for plant based diets and Veganism. Common sources of Protein such as cattle and pigs, which have been reared for centuries, are under threat and there is an urgency to harvest alternative sources of protein such as Insects, which are less popular but abundant.

” Businesses that have started to farm and sell insects as food claim their environmental footprint is relatively negligible, and that lean insect protein is a healthier choice for the consumer. “





Mental Health , especially illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar , borderline etc are often misunderstood and misinterpreted due to sensationalised portrayal in films and media — The Joker saw many people downplaying the seriousness of severe illness.  Personally I feel, people suffering from more ‘conventional’ illnesses such as depression and anxiety are stepping forward for help and are more readily accepted. However those with more ‘severe’ or culturally ‘frowned upon’ ones still face social stigma and discrimination. People tend to be more wary of them and see them as ‘threats’ more so than people who need help. Borderline however is one that is also stigmatised by Medical Practitioners. It is often maligned in the way it is perceived.

“When they discuss cases, the term “borderline” can take on derogatory overtones. A Canadian study found that psychiatric nurses were more likely to sympathize with hypothetical patients if they were labeled schizophrenic rather than borderline, even when the symptoms described were similar.”

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/In_Brief_The_stigma_of_borderline_personality .

“This emotional instability leads to some people self-harming or abusing drugs and alcohol to cope. One in 10 people with a BPD diagnosis kill themselves.”

https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2017/oct/27/borderline-personality-disorder-stigmatised-misunderstood-misdiagnosed .



Over the past few years there have been major milestones for the LGBTQ Community World Wife with the legalisation of same sex marriage in countries such as the U.S and prominent figures such as Artists (Lil Nas X) and  Apple CEO (Tim Cook) coming out as Gay. However at the same time, this has resulted in an equally strong resistance. LGBT hate crimes continue to happen and Religious Organisations still deem it as unnatural. This has led to continued discrimination and infringement of personal rights worldwide. In Singapore there is still a very strong resistance to the abolishment of the infamous 377a. This is often due to lack of knowledge and empathy.

“Same-sex sexual activity is a crime in 70 countries, and can get you a death sentence in nine countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen. And even where these restrictive laws are not actually enforced, their very existence reinforces prejudice against LGBTI people, leaving them feeling like they have no protection against harassment, blackmail and violence.”




4. Substance ABUSE/Addiction

Substance Abuse Disorder or Addiction, is a world wide epidemic that has been on the rise despite expenditure on healthcare resources to curb it. This is due to the fact that many end up relapsing after undergoing treatment, indicative of a ‘failed system’. In the US itself, there is a Major Opioid Crisis due to the prevalence of prescription pills coupled with the lack of external support for addicts. People get hooked onto painkillers and eventually turn to cheaper drugs such as street heroin, fentanyl etc. The stigma stops many from seeking potential help until it’s too late (further spiral or overdose). It affects family and friends, has social and economic consequences, and healthcare and environmental impacts. Furthermore, proper rehabilitation centres are expensive. In most countries such as Singapore, drugs are criminalised, regardless of the reasons the person may have had to fall into addiction.

“Nearly 64,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2016 alone. Opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 of these deaths, more than any previous year on record.”




2. Chosen Issue (Addiction/Relapse)


The issue is important as despite advances in our technology and healthcare, addiction and deaths from overdose have been steadily increasing rather than decreasing. Addiction not only affects people within the social circle of users but leads to detrimental economic burdens and impacts on the environment. It is a major cause for concern as despite initial successful treatment, almost 80 percent end up relapsing. Most however do not even seek help to begin with. This points to a ‘broken system’ and it needs to be tackled from a new perspective. In the US itself, overdose from drugs has become the leading cause of death for those under 50.

“People with substance misuse issues are less likely to be offered help than are people with a mental illness or physical disability.”


“Drug abuse and addiction cost American society more than $740 billion annually in lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime-related costs.”



Addiction affects users and their immediate family and friends. However it is the users who bear the stigma and often end up being ostracised by society even after being clean. This discourages them from contributing to society and many end up relapsing due to not knowing what else to do. Fundamentally being an addict becomes their identity (just like how society views it as such). Those who want to seek help, are too scared to for fear of being harshly treated and end up giving up the fight to recover. Some people are ‘born’ addicts when they are born to addict parents with drugs in their system. Others often have other trauma or pain in earlier phases in their life which eventually led them to spiral into substance abuse. The public often forget that many of these people are human and were not born abusing drugs.


It often ends up in poor socio economic status, prison or death. An addict who does not recover or gets integrated back into society, gets stuck in a vicious loop. They also end up affecting people close to them permanently as addiction is never a problem exclusive to just the user.

3. Target Audience


Recovering addicts or addicts who want to seek help. ( Remind them of their worth and that they are not defined by their history of abuse). The aim would be to encourage them staying clean, getting back involved with family, people. However since addiction is not just isolated to users, a separate target audience comprising of people affected by a loved one’s substance dependancy could also be drawn up. This would ensure a more affect.


Empathetic, rather than punitive and deterring which is the case for most existing Drug Campaigns. It should  encourage them to seek help and remind them that there is a support system they can rely on. It should ideally also come off as warm as opposed to being disengaged. Users should remember the motivation to stay clean such as their kids or family members who will be adversely affected if they continue to neglect them.

4. Visual Communication Examples

‘Thief’ , Montana Meth Project, Venables Bell + Partners


Pros :

This campaign is executed via a poster which aims to deter and instil fear into potential drug abusers. It is personal in the way it utilises a photo to make the message more intimate for the viewer. The fonts used are also bold, firm and white, reminiscent of white powder. The colours are lowly saturated and the mood of the visuals is relatively sombre. The use of an unsuspecting and ordinary shelf as background echoes the message of ‘home’ and how drugs can so easily pervade one’s family.

Con :

However the use of thief in a larger font to describe an addict is exactly what perpetuates the stigma and is highly discouraging for both family members or users.


‘Heroin’, Crenvi, Bronx Comunicação, 2013



This campaign is based on the organic structure of Heroin. It uses the branches in the structure as a tourniquet for the Male who is injecting himself, while the other branches extend out to bind his kid and Wife. It smartly and effectively captures the idea of how substance dependence directly affects loved ones. The colours used are predominantly white, black and red (Clinical). Text is incorporated within the stamp motif. Heroin and 10 is in red to highlight the severity and danger of the substance. Personally I feel, this campaign utilises a good balance of seriousness and empathy. It calls for potential addicts to reflect on their action rather than outrightly berating them. It allows for thinking space rather than aggressively putting forth an idea.

‘Last Days’, CNB Drugs Free Sg, 2019 (Film)


Use of Family to engage and stir emotions of audience.


This film is by CNB’s ongoing Drugs Free Sg campaign. It dramatises the scenario where an ‘addict’ kills a toddler in broad day light to pawn her Jewelry for drugs. As much as the purpose was to send a very serious message, I feel that it failed in portraying addiction in a nuanced manner. The exaggeration perpetuates stigma and would only discourage affected ones from being supportive. It is also too unrealistic and disengages the public, causing discourse between more widely read youth who are not convinced and zealots whom on the other  buy into the idea religiously. Users who view this film would also be further discouraged from integrating back into society due to the way they are portrayed as murderers even though substance dependency has no direct correlation to murder.



On Sound — reaction essay to ‘Digital Currents, Art in the Electronic Age’

1. Digital Currents, Art in the Electronic Age


In the book ‘Digital Currents, Art in the Electronic Age’, Margot Lovejoy brings us through the history and evolution of Art in light of the rise of technology. My personal insights and opinions will be in reaction to the Sub Chapters:  (Exhibiting) sound as Art‘ and ‘Sonic Bridges‘ — the sections in which Lovejoy explains the relevance and potency sound has in this digital era and also the overarching dilemma artists grapple with, due to constant technological advancement.

2. On Sound (Personal Thoughts)

Initial Thoughts

After reading the section on Sound as a medium, listed below were the initial concepts that I pondered about to myself :

Sound as A New Medium?

When does Sound become ‘Interactive Art’?

Sound is Relative not Definite

Sound as a Measurement of Space
(Visually Impaired use their hearing to gauge proximity and spaces and hence ‘see’)


When we approach the use of Sound as a ‘Visual Art’ medium, it is often isolated from any strong visible elements that might distort or ‘soften’ the experience. The space of sound exhibits are kept relatively minimalistic in terms of aesthetics — any interesting aesthetic acts as an extension for the sound interaction rather than a pre requisite to its affect. For example Lovejoy talks about the work ‘Tim Hawkinson, Uberorgan, 2000, sound sculpture installation.’ In this installation, a massive instrument, representing our internal organs occupy the span of a few rooms, attached to a central organ. The sculptures are inflatable cavities and pipes with piano keys that act like the work’s central nervous system. When the audience walks in the space, their motion triggers different keys, producing different notes.

In this example, the sculpture is transparent and the organ itself is stripped down and ‘raw’. It is not embellished and rather is placed there to simply serve a technical purpose. However at the same time, Hawkinson plays with the scale and form of the pipes to resemble that of an internal system to heighten the immersion and veracity of the experience. He does this without disrupting the hierarchy of significance ‘sound’ plays in the work. Instead it is treated as important as the tangible sculpture itself.

Hence when working with sound as a medium, we have to be sensitive in the way we employ visual complements without compromising the central medium of sound and at the same time using just the right amount of visual elements to create a holistic experience still.

Fundamentally, by removing away or ‘suppressing’ our sense of sight, we are prevented from ‘seeing to believe’ and instead have to form our own perceptive version of reality with whatever abstract information we are being exposed to in that moment -temperature , sound etc. It gives way for wonderment and synaesthesia to occur (touch, hearing, smell) , allowing us to potentially experience a heightened multi sensory sphere.

When the relative and elusive nature of sound becomes our primary source of ‘vision’ (as dictated by the limitations imposed by the artist), we are lured to ‘unsee’ to see again. Of course not all sound exhibits involve blinding the audience. However most of these exhibits are minimalistic in nature and often have wide empty spaces with almost no intentional use of colour to cause any visual bias. On the contrary, the use of variation in spaces or the nature of the space itself acts as a vessel both physically and metaphorically for sound to travel or convey its meaning. If we were in a space resembling an empty ship and hear sounds of screaming, we might associate it to that of drowning.

Association in the digital age, with the rise of mechanisation and the internet, have become more introspective and metaphoric rather than connotative. Instead of associating a certain sensation to a definite imagery, we are likely to associate it to a multitude of simultaneous feelings or fragmented ideas derived from constant exposure to social media, the internet or even mass culture. These in turn come together in that moment to form a temporal experiential bubble that is unique to each individual. However the context of the sound and the space it is set in does set boundaries or an overarching concept for pockets of these multiverses within the same alternate reality.

The author also talks about the era of simulation with the advent of technology and computers being incorporated into art. This is inextricably linked to the way sound is used – as much as it is considered an abstract medium conceptually, in science, sound is empirical and the way it is produced or transmitted can be changed via its voltage, frequency, etc. We use hardware and manipulate elements of it to choose the type of sound emission we want to achieve. This then leaves it up to the artist to transcend it beyond science. Rather than just emitting sound, we have to exercise our creative freedom to play around with these elements or string them in non functional and unexpected ways to induce a certain reaction.

For example in Shinseungback Kimyonghun’s ‘Stone’, which we discussed in last week’s lecture, wave crashes against a stone rigged with pressure sensors, are translated into mechanical knocking of solenoids against a block of wood. The output sound occurs after going through a technical and systemic process. However the sheer loudness of it and the way it has a very flat sound is unexpected and contrasts with actual dissipating sound of waves crashing (which is projected on a screen).

Another aspect of sonic in modern culture would be how easily accessible and ‘producible’ it is. Anyone with the right software, has the ability to ‘create’ their own sound just like how artists create songs and music. Existing sounds can also be studied, taken apart and selectively replicated. Lovejoy talks about Laurie Anderson, an experimental artist who explored the melding of sound and poetry in her works, before sound was recognised as a legitimate visual art form. Interestingly, I personally love one of the ‘songs’ she wrote in the 1980s that became an unexpected hit — O Superman. It utilises poetry mixed with constant distinct humming and electronic vocalised harmonies. It has a very mechanical, robotic and futuristic sound.

Sound, in spite of its relativity, and in its function, has a distinct power to covey a specific idea or philosophy effectively. As humans we associate sounds to objects. Anything unfamiliar or new we tend to associate with the Avant Garde or the ‘future’. When Laurie Anderson released O Superman In the 80s, when the established sound was ‘pop’, dominated by the likes of Madonna, it cause a stir and was considered highly experimental for radio. This is an example of how the accessibility and ease of transmission of sound allowed it to penetrate mass culture. Years on, as a millennial myself, ‘O Superman’ is one of my favourite songs as it still holds its own ground in being an experimental masterpiece even in today’s music scene.

Although one must not confuse between sound in the visual arts and sound that is consumed in mass culture via music, it is important to understand both the nuances and the essence of the power it upholds universally. It is important for artists to play  with, and approach sound in a poetic and liberating manner.

One further notable exploration of sound as medium would be the undeniable presence that sound has in both its presence and its absence. Marina Abramovic, in her long durational performance art training institute, MAI, has chambers that immerse prospective artists in absolute silence. It is part of her ‘workshop’ which is intended to ultimately heighten our creativity and consciousness as artists.

Here is an independent experiential installation of hers in which silence is the main transcending medium bridging the audience and the ‘artwork’ and also the only ‘artificial’ and deliberate mode of interaction.

Concluding thoughts

Apart from this specific idea I have chosen to discuss and explore in the above reflection, in ‘Digital Currents, Art in the Electronic Age’, Lovejoy emphasises throughout, of the dilemma we as creators grapple with, as technology advances exponentially in this digital era. We are part of a very real digital ‘Matrix’ of our own where we too are offered both the Red Pill — brutal and harsh truth of what technology can do (negatively when manipulated) and in an increasingly subliminal manner and the Blue Pill — this seductive idea of an unchartered and constantly growing territory for us to explore our ‘Art’ with each new development that comes with each technological milestone. In our reality, we are acutely aware of both these dichotomies and hence must come to a personal compromise within ourselves in order to shape and assert our creative voice with both conviction and affect.

As an artist I’d choose the thing that’s beautiful more than the one that’s true — Laurie Anderson

3. Links





Typography Lecture 3 — Futurism

1. Reflections

In this lecture we learned about the dawn of Modernism. A period sparked by the birth of Cubism which further let to the development of Futurism in Italy, Constructivism in Russia and Precisionism in United States. During period, new philosophies by influential poets and literary figures formed the primordial soup for corresponding Art to emerge. Before this, Typography and Art were widely used in posters and to gain attention with primarily variation in colour, form and with the integration of visuals. However they were still mostly linearised with focus on readability and conveying of a tangible message. With Modernism, these supposed rules fell apart, and artists redefined the arrangement and construction of letters and texts according to their personal beliefs. They were manifestations of the mind, made to stir emotions and induce feelings rather than to serve a material or superficial purpose. In some ways we can say that Typography in this period was imbued with an organic and spontaneous life of its own. Personally I was most drawn to the rebellious and robust philosophy of Futurism.

2. Futurism


in 1909, Poet F.T. Marinetti issued a Futurist Manifesto which was published in La Figaro (a popular magazine run by youths), igniting the movement. He urged artists to revel in and celebrate ‘the beauty of speed’ and emphasised the veracity of movement. He was inspired by this notion of speed when he avoided a collision and ended up flying into a ditch in his speeding car.

“a roaring racing car that seems to run on shrapnel is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace”

Full Translated Manifesto : https://www.societyforasianart.org/sites/default/files/manifesto_futurista.pdf


This love and obsession for speed and movement is evident in his use of texts which fully break away and disregard the conventional rules of typography. He used varying fonts within one page with variations in thickness, colour, strokes.

When one looks at his books, there is a deliberate lack of harmony and no form of symmetry – accurately capturing the essence of the idea of Movement he was so passionate about. This erratic and chaotic appearance (lack there of, of rules) became a rule in itself for the Futurists. He scattered mainly nouns about the page and conveyed meaning through arrangement and size. His lines were organic and dynamic and their grids intersected freely on the page.

Personal Thoughts

Marinetti wanted to express a sensation or a feeling, something intangible and intense and this accurately is reflected by his free and unrestrained ideology of Typography. When I see his work, rather than viewing it as a book, my sense of it is more visual and imagery. It is also important to note that Umberto Boccioni was the leading artist of the movement and manifested Marinetti’s philosophy through his sculptures. His main aim was to capture a cinematic sensation of flux in his figures. As a collective, the also fascist futurists were controversial and rebellious. They were known for provocative acts such as proclaiming fascist slogans from the top of the Venice’s St Mark’s bell tower. They even went to the extent of advocating a new cooking style named ‘Cucina Futuristica’ – extremely absurd recipes that involved the use of cologne and other unconventional ‘ingredients’. They measured their success by the level of abuse they received from the masses. However the movement was short lived and ended with Boccionis’ death. Which fittingly (?) occured due to a riding accident. I suppose one could say he brought his passion of Futurism with him to his grave.

Boccioni, “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space”, 1913

Even though Futurism was short-lived, its aesthetics had a significant impact  on the development of other movements like Surrealism and Expressionism which subsequently lead to the birth of Post-Modern Art movements. Their philosophy of centralising Art and Typography around a specific sensation and feeling propelled the exploration of the intangible, temporal and subconscious to the fore front of Art.

Future World @ ASM — Reflection

1. Layout

Experiential Design

The Space in Future World by Art Science Museum is an example of Experiential Design, from the way the works are curated and the manner in which visitors navigate through the space. The purpose of a successful and immersive space is the create an ‘umwelt‘ — a world of perceived reality that is unique to each individual that comes into contact with it. FutureWorld achieves this through its enclosed yet open layout, comprising of various interactive art works placed all over, allowing visitors to move around freely and make their own choices. As visitors ourselves, we were not restricted or force to directly interact with any of the works. Everyone had 3 choices while navigating between the works : Interact, Observe as a Voyeur or Interact in ways different from what is suggested by the description complementing each work. This ‘freedom’ makes each individual’s experience and take away from the same overarching narrative of FutureWorld, unique to them and them only. This was evident in the way me and my friends approached different works we gravitated towards or engaged in different modes of contact with the same works.

2. Experiential Journey

Hero’s Journey in FutureWorld

Coined by Joseph Campbell, any successful Experience Space should incorporate this theory of leading one from the known to the unknown and back again to the known with some sort of internal transformation.

Source : Worlds of Wonder ,Experience Design for Curious People

Based on my personal experience at the FutureWorld Exhibition, I will breakdown how it integrated this theory and achieved each step in leading us through this journey through the gallery space.

1. Invitation

Pre-Visit, people are enticed to step into this ‘unknown’ realm via its advertising and promotion online. We are given a tease of the potential ‘journey of discovery’ we will undergo and urged to explore it for ourselves. We are also informed of a Story (Narratives) that tie the exhibition together, making the idea of visiting the exhibition less foreign and more intimate. When I read the ‘invitation’ my curiosity was undoubtedly piqued and I wanted to experience this narrative for myself.


2. Transition

This crucial step is the first glimpse the visitor gets of the unknown world they are about to step into — a bridge between their present familiar world to the one they’re about to be immersed in. We were introduced to a guide who gave us the breakdown of the key exhibits and the modes of interaction we would encounter once we stepped in. She also presented us with a floor plan to facilitate our navigation while in the gallery space. Each student was also given a sticker right before we stepped into the FutureWorld space, almost like a ticket to our transition.

3. Introduction

In this stage, visitors would typically be immersed into an introductory area filled with evocative and sensory elements to welcome and give them a taste of the rest of the space they will go on to explore. In FutureWorld, the first area we stepped into was enclosed with high ceilings and big walls that had projections all over. These projections were interactive and veracious in the way they reacted to touch and movement. Even the floor had projections. This space also featured six different artworks that seemed to dissolve and flow seamlessly into each other. Many of us spent a considerable amount of time within this space before stepping into the main area which was sealed off with a black curtain. The intense ‘immersiveness’ set the appropriate tone and mood for the digitally interactive theme of the whole exhibition.


4. Exploration

Typically in this stage visitors would come into contact with a myriad of exhibits and stations allowing them to choose which ones they would want to participate in. The key element in this stage is the freedom of choice coupled with the depth and multitude of experiences to choose from. Here, users are ideally supposed to complete certain tasks and see the direct effect of their interaction. In FutureWorld, most of the tasks involved direct and deliberate physical interaction and an outcome. For example in the Giant Block Connecting town area, we were able to build our own cities with large blocks and observe a real time projected map of the city. We were able to place obstructions to divert ‘traffic’ or hinder movement in the virtual projected city.  In the Sketch Aquarium exhibit, users had to draw and colour out caricatures that once scanned, got projected and brought to life on a huge aquarium screen. Hence once we completed tasks, we were paid with a satisfying ‘reward’ in the form of a tangible and observable outcome.



5. Admiration

This stage is a pivotal moment where an intimate relationship with the audience is created to encourage them to continue on their ‘journey’. All sensory organs should be potentially engaged and and evoke enough wonder to sustain the narrative and their commitment to it. In this area of FutureWorld, most of the interaction here was physical involving pushing illuminated balls which resulted in corresponding music and designing and playing hopscotch. It was a predominantly ‘play’ area where visitors were able to respond to each other via their interaction.



6. Immersion

In this stage, which Campbell describes as the ‘Descent into The Innermost Cave’, the interaction between the visitor and the main subject or theme meet in the most intense manner yet. In context of FutureWorld, we as visitors are transported into a ‘psychedelic’ room that alternates between complete light and darkness with projections that warp according to specific movements. The experience one feels here is somewhat overwhelming.


7. Connection & Recollection

This step aims to consolidate the overall experiences for the visitor and offer them a transformational final experience before they depart from the space. In a sense it is the stage that fully tries to engage the visitor on a personal level and convince them of the relevance of the narrative they went through to their personal lives. In FutureWorld, Crystal Universe undoubtedly and successfully delivers this. As we step into a mini ‘maze’ surrounded by strings of shimmering 170,000 LEDS and distorting mirrors, we experience a temporal existential moment — floating in a ‘digitalverse’. The lights around us changed as we interacted with our phone screens. The sheer luminosity and intensity of the surroundings reminded me of my ‘insignificance’ in the vastness of the universe we live in today — not just the literal universe but the virtual one of technology.


3. Reflection

Sketch Aquarium

When I reached the Sketch Aquarium Exhibit, I sat down at the drawing tables that were occupied by kids and their parents and observed how drawings were being converted into animated images onto a huge projected aquarium. I realised that there was no mediator to filter the works or images that were being scanned and couldn’t help but wonder what kind of reaction would something controversial or ‘inappropriate’ incite in the viewers. Hence I decided to disrupt the idea and demography of the work by making a ‘protest’ Jellyfish. I used the colour red, an angry face with the slogan FTP (Fuck The Police) and Free HK. I wanted to it to be graphic, tacky and controversial —especially right now with the ongoing protests. As I wasn’t breaking any law by doing so, it was a line that I decided to cross intentionally. The fact that this particular artwork was accessible to anyone and had no filter, gave it huge potential for open collaboration. I scanned the image multiple times and an army of angry looking jellyfish started floating insidiously in the aquarium. Almost immediately, adults who were before just smiling innocently at kiddy drawings, got tensed up and murmured among themselves . It was significant that there were a number of mainland Chinese tourists on the day. The station was mostly ‘intended’ and targeted at adolescents who would pick up their crayons and enthusiastically draw. But does the museum expect only kids to interact in this work? Despite being open to public? Personally I felt that the lack of a moderator and the easy access gives way for a ‘Trojan Horse’ in the way the safe space within the kid context allows for controversial opinions to be conveyed and garner attention without facing hinderance.

Typography Lecture 1 — Oracle Bone Script

1. Reflections

In this first introductory lecture, we learned about how letter forms over the centuries, have evolved and changed along with man’s need for different functions, before they were treated as typography or something that is more closely associated with Art as we know it today. In the archaic days, pictographs and petroglyphs (engravings) were created to facilitate documentations with the main and simple function of conveying information. Many of the ‘stylistic’ elements of the form like the stroke were unintentional and rather occured due to the tool with which they were being engraved with (cuneiform, brush stroked serifs on ‘Trajan’s Column’). However over time, with the establishment of function, creating letter forms became a more discrete and unique activity, leading to various modifications and explorations of how they can be presented (with identity and character) as we have them today. We were also presented with many examples of typography being employed in different cultures throughout the centuries. One in particular that we did not delve deep into piqued my interest — Oracle Bone Script. Hence I decided to look up this particular script on my own.

2. Oracle Bone Script


The Oracle Bone Script are the oldest form of pictographs that are recognised as the predecessor of modern Chinese Language. They were used by diviners in the Shang Dynasty (questions were inscribed using a metal pin on animal bones and tortoise shells, before being introduced to a hot rod which then caused cracks, allowing the diviner to craft their answers by interpreting these cracks).  They believed the divination via pyromancy allowed them to communicate with their ancestors.


The letters found in the Oracle Bone Script, were essentially pictographs and hence they were highly abstracted version of modern Chinese characters — with some being a combination of two characters. Some scholars theorise that this simplification was due to the difficulty of inscribing on the hard bony materials. Here the form of the letter is hence possibly influenced by tools and materials just like mentioned earlier with regards to the ‘serifs’ on Trajan’s Column. From this script, only about 1300 of known 4600 Chinese characters have been deciphered. Below are some examples of Oracle Bone characters.

Personal Thoughts

Being a non-Chinese speaker, I did not need any prior knowledge of the Modern Chinese Language to decipher the rough meaning of these highly visual pictographs. The characters in the Oracle Bone Script were abstracted ‘diagrams’ of ideas and words. These then eventually transitioned into calligraphy and more complex strokes as they appear today.  Scholars are still trying to fully decipher these texts, as they potentially contain key information about the history of ancient Chinese Civilisations and the way they lived.

“Sidney Leng at the South China Morning Post reports that the museum is offering 100,000 yuan, roughly $15,000 dollars, for each character researchers are able to translate (with sufficient evidence of course). They are offering 50,000 yuan for anyone with a definitive explanation for some of the many disputed characters. Of the estimated 5,000 symbols found on oracle bones, scholars have only been able to translate about 2,000, meaning there’s a lot of room for any brilliant code-breaking scholars out there.” 

One of the main difficulties is due to the fact that the script was irregular in size and form depending on which dynasty they belonged to. Standardisation only occured during the Qin Dynasty period.

What is interesting to note here is that the similar pictograph like Egyptian Hieroglyphs were fully deciphered, by Jean-François Champollion and Thomas Young after the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. The presence of Hieroglyphs, Demotic Script and Greek on the stone, all conveying the same ‘decree’, allowed them to compare and eventually decipher the Hieroglyphs. The lack of a clear transitional ‘piece’ of artefact has yet to be found with regards to the Oracle Script and Modern Chinese Language, making difficult up till today for scholars to gain full access and depth to understanding these characters.

Rosetta Stone 

This could potentially be due to the fact that countries like China and Japan were isolationistic and trading only within themselves for a very long period of time  — this probably did not allow for their language to be appropriated and transpired across regions, which is contrastingly evident in the Egyptian, Greek and Roman scripts.

3. Sources




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.

Source: https://www.cancertherapyadvisor.com/home/tools/fact-sheets/cancer-recurrence-statistics/

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.” — https://www.cancer.net/coping-with-cancer/physical-emotional-and-social-effects-cancer/managing-physical-side-effects/mental-confusion-or-delirium

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.

Micro Project 4 — Disobedient Objects


Initial Sense

Jess and I both decided to use an object of controversy or something that people would already have an innate sense of discomfort towards.

Object — BRA




We decided to use a photocell as a very direct and effective method to activate the LED Bulbs. However we had to determine the most effective threshold such that the nipple areas would not prematurely light up or not light at all. We settled on a range on 100 to 300. After a few trials, we decided to use threshold : 150.


As our final prototype required many wires connected to the Arduino Uno and from multiple directions, we decided to sew the wires into in the hem line of the bra itself. We then taped the wire cluster of each component together to prevent entangling. We also pierced the LED Bulbs through the fabric of the bra itself to avoid damaging the bra. We wanted to ensure that the circuits were as well concealed as possible to ‘convince’ our participants of the legitimacy of our wearable prototype.

3. Presentation


Given the nature of our object as a wearable item, we had to conceal any visible circuits as much as possible and also ensure its portability and ease of usage. Hence instead of using a laptop, we uploaded our file onto Arduino Uno and connected it to a portable charger. We then fit the breadboard and most of the extended circuit into a small Coach bag. During critique, we instructed our testers to sling the bag on their wrists while they wore the bra. The use of this complementary womenswear accessory added to the legitimacy of our prototype.


4. Reflections

1. How does your hacked object behave in a way you least expect it to?


For our disobedient object, Praveen and I wanted to make the participants uncomfortable. The purpose of the bra is to conceal the nipples of a female. We wanted to change this and make it enhance the nipples instead when you put the bra on. The nipple areas will light up when the participants try to put it on, making their “light nipples” really obvious and bright red. it’s is kind of a protest product to “free the nipples” for the females.


Most people would slander someone for exposing their beasts or nipples in public. Movements such as free the nipple has also gained flak due to a certain censorship expected of women. The bra is often used as an object that conceals and supports the feminine torso. To even walk out in daylight in ‘just a bra’ seems preposterous to many in society. Hence by subverting this object into one that draws attention to the most censored area/or area that calls for the need for most censorship; the nipples, it becomes disobedient. It becomes a proud and ‘in your face’ object that screams social protest and defiance. To walk with a lit bra with flashing nipples would be equivalent to Hester Prynne with her Scarlet Letter embossed on her chest. The use of a naturally provocative colour, red, further enhances our subversion. Hence anyone who wears this bra does not conceal but covets and ‘reveals’ instead. It is also disobedient in the sense that one who wears one would be probably labelled as a transgression in society.

2. What are some reactions you observed from your participants when they interacted with the object?


Some looked really uncomfortable when the nipples got lit on when they tried to put the bra on. This actually reinforce our purpose of the disobedient object which is to make the participants feels uncomfortable when they put on the bra which was suppose to cover up their nipples and make them feel “more comfortable” with their body.


The interaction is uncomfortable due to two main different forms of interaction. The first is the users’ personal interaction with the object itself – as no ‘warning’ is given and they are only instructed to wear the bra, they won’t know what to expect. As we set the threshold for the photocell to as low as possible, the bulbs only lit up once it is tightly clasped around their chest. In other words, by the time they realise their nipples are lit, it would be too late for them to try to remove it or hesitate putting it on. Hence by eliminating the choice factor this way, we are in a sense forcing them to reach the full interaction. Most people were willing to volunteer as the object looked pretty mundane and normal. But once they picked it up and started wearing it, their choice to stop the interaction was taken away from them till it was ‘over’. This makes it uncomfortable as their freedom of choice is removed. Discomfort also occurs due to the prototype subverting its original purpose of concealment. However we also realised that after clasping the bra for awhile, the users seemed nonchalant and almost intrigued by its ‘flagrance’. Maybe it is due to fact that we all have some sort of inner desire to be hedonistic or to immerse in objects of ‘taboo’ once in awhile.

Another level of uncomfortable interaction came from the audience – user interaction. As the bra lit up, the audience saw it before the user did — the user had to look down to realise their nipples were lit. Hence many of em were taken aback when the rest of the class started laughing or getting excited as they weren’t sure what the commotion was about. Hence this brief moment of ambiguity and where the tester is almost being made into a object of public scrutiny leads to the second level of discomfort from this interaction.

3. What are the challenges involved and how did you overcome them? What problems still exist? How might you overcome them eventually?


Our circuit actually kept short circuiting which was really annoying because we need to replace the bulbs and see it again. To get over this problem, we tried to add in fuses and connect the bulbs in parallel circuit so that when one bulb blows, the other will not be affected.  However, another problem is the portability of the bra. Even though we switched using the laptop as a power supplier to a portable charger, there was still a lot of wires handing around. Hence i think that we could make like an additional pouch onto the bra to keep all the wires and portable charger to make it even more portable.


The first challenge was the brittle nature of the led pins. As we wanted to minimise damage to the fabric, we had to push the pin through the cups and bend it accordingly. However the pins broke and we had to be more gentle. The second main challenge was that our circuit kept short circuiting and causing one of the two led bulbs to overheat and burn. We then decided to add a resistor parallel to the first, to lower the current flowing through. This was a challenge as it took us a few trials to figure this solution – the LED bulbs only burnt after a few times of plugging into power. The last challenge was portability and concealment of the circuit. As we had a significant amount of wires attached to our relatively small and thin object- the bra, we had to figure out how to hide most of the circuit as much as possible. Even though we managed to attain a successful level of portability (details mentioned in previous part of post), we realised that we could have pushed the legitimacy of the object further if we had made an external wearable pouch to hide the remaining wires.