Micro-Project 4: Disobedient Object
ALL by Rui Hong & Daryl

Assignment Brief:
Using Arduino and its sensors and actuators, we were tasked to hack an everyday household object and make it behave in an unexpected/disobedient way.

The object of our choice was a doorbell, or rather the concept of a doorbell (We didn’t want to destroy and pluck out our actual doorbell). We chose the doorbell as it is an object with an obvious purpose and a predictable outcome when interacted with. Placed beside a door, the object, being a button, is easily recognized and participants would immediately know how to use it. The call to action for the interaction is straightforward and participants will assume to know what is the outcome–only when you press the button, the bell will ring once-Ding Dong. Here, we have an opportunity to use that assumption to create a new and unexpected experience.

Hence, the disobedient doorbell was meant to play on that preconceived knowledge of the doorbell mechanism. So instead of a doorbell that activates when you press it, it will activate before the participants presses or even attempts to press the button.

There are 2 stages of this interaction:
1. The participant approaches or comes into close proximity to the door and the doorbell will unexpectedly ring. The doorbell will continue ringing as long as the participant remains in close distance. (We estimated the distance for the bell to sound to be around 15-30cm.) When participants walk away or retract their hand, the ringing will then stop.
2. With the bell already ringing, when the participant chooses to press the doorbell button (we anticipate that participants will assume pressing the button will stop the ringing), the ringing gets louder to an uncomfortable volume with some distortion. Holding onto the button will keep the ringing at the louder volume while releasing the button will bring the ringing back to its original volume. Again, when the participants choose to walk away or retract their hand, then the ringing will stop.

The disobedient doorbell is meant to make the participant feel alarmed, confused and panicky like the participant is not supposed to be there, encouraging the participants to leave the site of interaction.

Realisation & Delivery:
So we started on our building process.

Inspired by the class workshops on the photocell with LED light and piezo buzzer, we combined the codes and modified the circuitry. Instead of the LED lighting up when the threshold of the light reading is low enough, the buzzer will sound. We then coded the buzzer to sound like the average 2-tone doorbell.

Progress & Final:

In Situ Video here. https://youtu.be/eVCgNR0CAl0


What are some reactions you observed from your participants when they interacted with the object?
Participant #1: When #1 approached the bell, she didn’t realise that the bell had already rung when she approached it. She proceeds to press the button, which made the ringing louder, but she remains confused from the interaction. In the feedback session, she mentions that she is intrigued by the bell but wasn’t aware of the bell ringing in advance.

Participant #2: Given that #2 has observed the interaction of #1 with the bell, her interaction with the disobedient bell was closer to what we intended. As she approached the bell, she waves her hand in front of her, trying to test the bells sensitivity. However, the bell only reacted when she tries to press the bell. On multiple tries to press the button, when the bell rang prior to her touching the button, she retracts her hand as if the bell were a buzzer, telling her not to press the bell. She gives up trying to press the button and leaves.

Participant #3: The last participant, having observed the 2 interactions before her, reacted and had the thought process we intended. As she approaches the bell, it sets off even before she lifts her hands to press it. She jumps from the unexpected alarm. She continues to try and press the button. Because the button broke, we simulated the effect of the louder ringing as she pretends to press the bell. In the feedback, she mentions how when the ringing starts, she assumes that the button will stop the continuous ringing, hence she attempts to press the button.

Challenges & Problem Solving:
What are the challenges involved and how did you overcome them? What problems still exist? How might you overcome them eventually?

[Daryl: For the first few classes on Arduino, we were taught to use the arduino board and breadboard, learning how to use specific inputs such as the piezo buzzer, LDR sensor, LED and switch amongst other things. Given our inexperience, we took a while to figure out how the circuits would work, and through errors on writing the sketches we understood coding better.

The first challenge we encountered was starting on the coding. A blank screen can be quite intimidating and we did not know where or how to start. We then decided to work off existing codes we practiced in class. We started with the codes from the photocell workshop then incorporated the codes from the piezo buzzer workshop. We also used the IF & ELSE code from the LED workshop. After a few tries, we manage to get the piezo buzzer to sound.

The second challenges was finding the right sensitivity for the bell. We were not sure how close we wanted the participant to be. On multiple occasions, the bell became unpredictable and started sounding off whenever or did not sound at all to any interaction. We figured it was the angle of the photocell which affected its sensitivity.

Lastly, we had some difficulty fitting everything into a compact object and creating a button to extend from the breadboard to the cover of the case we built. We took a while to get the correct measurements and finish up the case for the doorbell. (After the in-class test run, we realise that the material of the object can also affect the way people interact with it and how they approach the object. We will consider the effects of materials for the next project.)]


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

Participant #1: Participant 1, being the real guinea pig in this situation, approached the doorbell with confidence to test out the doorbell. It rang on queue and as there is only 1 button on the foamboard (which was intentional as to lead the participant to try it out on instinct), she pressed it and it gave a secondary beep. She didn’t seem surprised by the louder secondary beep. As we are used to having a ‘click feedback’ when we press a button, the foam button made it hard to feel the ‘click’ and that prompted her to press harder onto the button. What happens afterwards can be seen in the button. Besides the click feedback she was looking for, I felt like she may have expected a different result (such as a louder beep or a different sound) from subsequent presses and that may have prompted her to try again.

Participant #2: Participant 2, having observed participant 1 gained some insight on how the button may work. Approaching the doorbell, she tested out the sensitivity of the photocell by waving her hands in front of it. After that, she attempted to press the doorbell but was prompted by the initial beep of the doorbell to refrain from doing so. She ended up not pressing the doorbell, which I felt may have caused her to be uncomfortable and leave the interaction space (which was one of the intended outcomes).

Participant #3: Our last participant, having observed two interactions, had a similar thought process as us. She startled at the initial beep as she approached the doorbell. Thinking that the doorbell might stop ringing as soon as she presses the button, she is ‘pleasantly’ surprised at how it didn’t stop ringing, but got even louder. The doorbell then obediently invites the participant to leave with the annoying beeping.

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

For the first few classes on Arduino, we were taught to use the arduino board and breadboard, learning how to use specific inputs such as the piezo buzzer, LDR sensor, LED and switch amongst other things. Given my inexperience, I took awhile to understand how it worked and had to refer back to slides more than just a couple of times. We bumped into a few incompatible sketches which helped us understanding the coding process better.

We started from scratch as we didn’t want to confuse ourselves. The way we revised the arduino coding was to wire the circuit according to the slides and then stare at it until we understood how and why the circuit works. We then read the code and change certain values in the sketches to test out the coding to give ourselves a better understanding. We knew what components we wanted to use, the problem was combining the existing codes to form the correct sketch that would work. We stuck to what we learnt from the workshops, coupled with a few references from existing codes from the google search bar.

The second issue we faced was the ever-changing sensitivity of the photoresistor. Due to the different environments we were in when we worked on the arduino board, we had to tweak the sensitivity according to our classroom to make it workable. This was one we were able to work out easily as we had had a few goes at changing the sensitivity before going to class, so it didn’t seem like much of a hassle.

The third issue was the design of the board; the measurements had to be exact so that the photoresistor could stick out just enough for it appear on the foamboard we made. We took a few tries (shaving down the board) before the photoresistor would stay obediently in place. In hindsight, we could have used crocodile clips and other materials to extend the flexibility of our foamboard. We had decided to keep the design of the foam board as not to confuse our participants. In our test-runs, we realised that we have always tested it while the foam board lies flat on the table. We should have tested it in an upright position for more accurate results.

Area of improvements:

  1. Test runs can include more situations, different angles of testing to ensure an accurate experiment.
  2. Prototype board can be more sturdy and should not obstruct our participants from trying out the doorbell as they are afraid of damaging it.

Thank you for reading!

My process to break apart the lint roller.

We were tasked to create 40 individual thumbnail sketches from our Assignment 1 item;

which happened to be a lint roller for me. On hindsight, I did regret choosing lint roller as

my object of choice as it was too simplistic in design and lacked the intricacies of other

objects such as hair dryer or vacuum cleaner, or even a drill. Thus, starting on Assignment

2 felt like a mounting task as I really struggled to come up with new ideas and kept referring

to existing objects to help me come up with my ideas. I really disliked THAT process and I

felt no sense of ownership of my drawings as they fell way below my expectations. Why

would anybody find my idea interesting if it was simply based on another invention?


Thus, after 26 painful sketches… I decided to redo the entire draft. This time round, I looked

long and hard at my previous sketches and used elimination to the sketches I felt were OK

over to my new sketches. After a few youtube videos for inspiration and listening to talk about

how ‘limitless’ and interesting it is to come up with ideation sketching, I picked up my pencil and

marker and just kept going at the paper, erasing from time to time to make sense of my sketches.

What I felt was really intriguing was that I would lean back and try to connect the dots after sketching out.

This kept the process very fascinating and to be honest the hours spent drawing the sketches didn’t

feel as long.


I was really glad to have thrown the old sketches out and start over, instead of ‘salvaging’ it. Breaking

apart the archetypal components of the lint roller allowed for much more creative space.

After finishing with the research portion of Yishun, I have found that I did enjoy

taking photos of the architecture. However, the photos around Yishun about

HDBs and HDB motifs did not really interest me. I had initially pitched to Shirley

that I wanted to do something along the lines of a industrial park mama shop

that had personal value to me. However, after revising my plan and thinking it

through carefully, I wanted to do something different from what has been done,

sort of.


When we started on LOCALE, we were given a look at zines done by seniors

previously. One thing I noticed was that almost nobody did photo shoots /

included people in their zine. They were solely focused on elements presented

in their area of research. I was certainly excited about this as I would be doing

something more ‘original’ in that sense. On the contrary, I would have trouble

finding materials to reference. Whatever was the case, I do like a bit of challenge.

I was inspired to do this zine by this image I found on pinterest. It had a very

simple street wear element which I liked.

As a start, I decided that these were the things I had to complete.

  1. Plan and execute a photo shoot in Yishun.
  2. Have them edited.
  3. Layout of zine.
  4. Illustrate quirky elements of Yishun with the chosen images.
  5. Colour correction.

Photo shoot

I have never done a photo shoot before, so I went on youtube and watched a

bunch of videos on what to prepare/plan and execute on the day itself. I pulled

in two friends (Lisa and Shawn) to help with the shoot. I had also asked three

of my friends(Jia Hui, Jessical and Praveen) to model. Sifting through the

photos that I took from my research, I settled on a location at BLK348B. This

location took me by surprise as I cycled through the Yishun neighbourhood

with a dslr on hand. I really liked the clean look it presented; contrasted to the

old neighbourhood it is surrounded by.

I didn’t really focus too much on this location until I reviewed my photographs

and concept. To do more research on the location, I went on googlemaps to

find more photos.

After reviewing the location, I asked my models to bring clothing that were

mustard yellow and turquoise to fit with the location, and red for contrast.

I looked up some photos on pinterest to reference the look/vibe/poses I wanted

for them.

Shooting took about 3 hours and we managed to finish it in a day (30th March)

These are some of the photos taken. Some are behind the scenes.

Layout + Editing

I spent the longest time editing and settling on the layout. With over 600 raw shots,

I was rather indecisive and unsure of what photos to use for my final zine. I had to

change them from time to time. However, I really enjoyed this process as I began

to understand what I wanted out from this zine. After choosing the photos, I then

had to decide on how I would place my photos to make them interesting.

At this point, I started placing my images into my desired layout, which I have

gained inspiration from these current layouts.

Cover page:

Zine spread layouts:

Layouts I tried

Cover Page

I roughly stuck to this cover as I thought it looked good.

I did mask some parts of the Fashion word and put in

the Yishun text into the cover page. I had plenty of text

all over the cover page but I decided to remove them in

the end because the clutter was unnecessary and there

wasn’t much text that I wanted to include. I did include a

‘March Edition’ at the bottom to contextualize the zine.

Page 2 and 3

I decided to scale down the photo as I didn’t want the photo to eat up the entire

page. This way, I was able to design more onto the zine and not simply rely on


Page 6 and 7

Initial idea for my pages. The entire spread kind of felt abit block-ish and

uncomfortable. I rearranged the photos later on to form a nice ascending gra-

dient from left to right.


Some masking and editing I done:

Patterns and shapes

In my final zine, you can see that I have certain elements with lowered opacity

and shapes that interact with one another. I decided to do a

polka dot pattern/motif on my page 4 to draw the reader’s attention. At one point

I felt slightly too ambitious since I am using three programmes concurrently

(Photoshop, Indesign and Illustrator).

Masking and placement

After the shoot I researched on some weird happenings that have occurred in

Yishun. These would help incorporate the unique Yishun element in my zine.

Note: I did not reference everything 1:1, I had made my own creative changes.

Some of these happenings were:

Man brings cow into lift

Cat murders

Man murders wife

Giant moths and caterpillars

Slashing incident


Shirley encouraged me to use Illustrator for the drawings. As I am usually

more inclined to using Photoshop for drawings, I struggled to get started

on illustrator. However, I did manage to get myself to sit down and watch

tutorials on illustrator. I thought, since I had to use it in the future anyways,

I should learn on my own as well. I was happy with my progress and I followed

Shirley’s advice; to draw Yishun-quirky elements onto the existing images

to create interest. Some of them were drawn on photoshop to give a more raw

feel to the images. These are some of the drafts:

I took a photo for reference to draw for the scary looking hands ->


I decided not to do illustrations for my cover page to hold the suspense for the

readers, as to not expose my zine elements for my viewers.

I used Photoshop to create a map for Blk 348B location. This was how it looked

in the process.


Colour correction

Original colours used.

Colours I chose in the end (after consultation with Shirley) as the initial

colours were very saturated and kiddish.

Fonts used:

I had to spend time to find the fonts that were suitable for my zine. From what

I have researched, I could tell that ‘street wear’ fonts were pretty basic, which

made sense, because they followed that of street signs or metro signs. That,

essentially, makes it street-ish as it borrows elements that are true to its form.

I tried out several fonts, namely:


I was generally pleased with the pace and results of this project. As I had to

sketch out what had to be done beforehand, I was able to give myself ample

time to segment each step so that I can submit on time. There were a lot of

work to be done, and I knew that it wouldn’t be possible to churn out a zine

in a short amount of time. I took my time with every step, changing bits and

pieces and asked my friends on how to improve it. Shirley’s week by week

consultation kept me up to speed and made sure I was able to produce

something to consult and change on a weekly basis.

I felt that the photo shoot was the hardest/most stressful one to plan for as I

was constantly worried that the shots did not turn out the way they should

(or according to my mood board) and it rained for a bit which really threw me

off as I wasn’t sure when it’d stop. Overall, I am glad to be learning something

new with every step and this project forced me to go out of my comfort zone

to experiment and develop my own style. I am immensely relieved that I

abandoned my previous idea of industrialized mama shop to a streetwear






Why Yishun is the most terrifying place to live in Singapore

For research process of Yishun,

check out: https://oss.adm.ntu.edu.sg/rcheah002/locale-presentation-yishun/

Thank you for reading!





Roman Ondak
(Slovak, born 1966)

Measuring the Universe













I found Roman Ondak’s work really special, the simple gesture of recording down the name and particulars of each individual
that went to the exhibition according to their height created a thick line across the room. The work has personality,
creativity and most importantly, to me, it was created through individualism. In participatory art, the artwork grows along
with the participation, and watching the exhibition unfold was really interesting. Roman Ondak portrayed how simple it is
to create an artwork through our uniqueness.

Erwin Wurm

(Austria, 1954)

Ice Head 2003

























Erwin Wurm invites participants to interact with the art pieces, which have holes in them specifically for the participants to stick a limb in and pose for a photo. With the involvement of the participants, the art piece, which initially seemed mundane and uninteresting, suddenly comes to life and also has a little bit of humour embedded in the participatory art. In a way, the art piece cannot be recreated in that exact setting, making it more intriguing and unique.

Glorification of Vices

We live in a society where drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes are becoming inherently normal. The crave for a mild, temporary buzz from smoking a cigarette and tipsiness experienced from having a little too much alcohol is increasing, especially among the younger generation. The illusion of fulfillment and contentment by undertaking vices is widespread. Pop culture, which promotes alcohol consumption and other vices as a prerequisite to having a ‘good time’, has a strong influence on its young audience. This plaguing plight of mindset changes may ultimately lead to wrongful glorification of vices, of which some are so afraid of. We must be more aware of doing the morally right thing, especially when faced in tough situations when we are convinced otherwise. In this era of defiance and rebelliousness, who will hold firm to their ethics? Why do we glorify such bad behaviours, when we are clearly aware of the consequences?



I want to show, through a series of simple drawings created by 10 participants,
the presence of influence we have on each other, whether in a big or small way.
I folded 2 A4 cardboards, attached 2 different flowers on one end of the cardboard,
and cut a hole on the other end.

The presentation went as followed:
The 10 participants would be separated into two groups: One would be able to see
what each other have drawn, the other group would not be able to do so.
They would go take turns to enter the classroom, and the participants were not
allowed to communicate verbally. They would then insert one hand into the cardboard box
and feel the object, and draw whatever they felt the object was. There was a little twist
to this, I switched the boxes around after the second person from each group had drawn their
drawings. The third person from each group would then draw a different object, and because
they were not allowed to communicate, they would not know that it was changed. The group
that were allowed to refer to one another’s work ended up drawing similar items even though
their objects had changed.

The group that was not allowed to refer to each other’s work drew objects of their own interpretation. I explained to the class afterwards that my point was made, that we were inevitably affected by one another, and this extended much further than simply drawing flowers from a cardboard box. Consider influence in a bigger context, such as in our daily lives. We are affected by the choices that others make, such as giving bad reviews to a particular movie and bringing down its ratings. We would always check the reviews of a movie before watching, and would more often than not skip the movie if it had terrible reviews.

The objects could have had more difference to make the participants think twice about what they were drawing.

Reflection: I was glad that I was able to convey my ideas through a simple participatory work, and with a revision, I believe that the work could have an educational aspect for the younger generation and possibly educate on the importance of having individualism.