Category Archives: My Work

2nd Experimental Painting

Experimental 2, 2017. Oil on canvas. Image credit: The Forge
Q1) What is the feeling or the content/ meaning of your painting?Q2) How does the composition/design & brush work support that feeling?

In both experimental paintings, I notice that my compositions are very intimate, almost confrontational. Although there are 2 figures in the setup, my paintings tend to zoom in and focus on one figure. The figure occupies the entire canvas, with their bodies extending beyond the borders of the painting. They are massive yet bounded by the edges. Painting the figures so up-close reduces the distance between subject and viewer and hopefully invites the viewer into the painting’s realm. I wanted to create very intimate and personal paintings where the subject’s form and gaze can be felt.

Following the previous week, I continued to explore the icon of the massive reclining female figure. I hope the painting’s monumentality manages to convey a woman’s strength, certainty and grace. I tried to create a vibrant colour world which employs contrasts and juxtaposition to heighten the different colours.

My first experimental painting had many strong horizontals and verticals. In this second painting, I wanted to explore diagonals and obliques. I emphasised the curves of the figure and made her form even more serpentine. The rest of the space flows and twists in dialogue with the figure. For example, the potted plant on the left was actually flat with a square pot. Instead, I chose to slant the pot towards the figure and round the rim. These intersecting diagonals created multiple ‘valleys’ and ‘peaks’ in the painting which further adds to the slightly off kilter colour world.

I wanted the viewer’s gaze to circulate around the painting fluidly. I tried to do this using both colour, line and form. For example, the figure’s orange scarf is very striking. I applied the same hue in accents in other parts of the painting such as beneath her dress, behind the potted plant and on her thigh. I also used the slanting directional lines and interconnected shapes to direct the viewer’s gaze around the painting.

Following Prof Kelly’s advice, I tried to be more aware of the edges and the ‘zones’ of the painting. During the painting process, I would ask myself what the painting needed to feel open yet resolved.

Close-up. Image credit: The Forge
Close-up. Image credit: The Forge

Shamanic Painting | week 2

Shamanic Dots (2017). Acrylic on Cotton Sheet.
Shamanic Dots (2017) closeup 1
Shamanic Dots (2017) closeup 2
What did you feel and see while listening to the drumming?

Lying on the ground, I felt as if I was floating in a sea of sound. I was more aware of my stereo hearing, and the sounds entering each ear. The rhythmic constancy of the drumming conjured a mood of stasis and fluidity. However, the silence that accompanied the drumming prompted my mind to wander and reflect on past and future events. I saw blues and reds in motion, appearing in patches and waves.

Do you think your painting expresses something about you that you didn’t know about yourself?

This painting experience made me realise that although a large painting surface can be initially daunting, I can feel comfortable working with it, and without a pre-defined outcome.

What can you imagine about people that listen to this drumming as a way to reach another unseen side of life?

I imagine that they are very spiritual individuals who practice meditation and other calming techniques to focus or empty the mind of everyday clutter.

How did your painting change throughout the process? Or was your initial mark also the focal point of your painting in the end?

I started by painting one of the first wave motions I saw. The initial stage of the painting process was filled with hesitation and uncertainty. Some of this uneasiness subsided once I softened the green (original colour of the sheet), a colour which I did not envision while listening to the drumming. Prof Kelly also advised me to work with and not against the polka-dot pattern of my sheet, which I used to create the fluid patches of primary colours.

Did anything surprise you?

After overcoming the initial uncertainty, the automatism of creating the abstract painting felt liberating. The mind could take a backseat and be guided by our ears and eyes.

Fibre Etch | week 10

Devoré is a type of fibre etching technique use primarily on velvet. It creates decorative effects by removing the natural plant fibres from fabric blends. This process leaves behind only the semi-transparent synthetic fibres, creating contrasts between the two distinct integrated textures. Devoré, from the French verb dévorer, is an apt name for this technique as the fibre etch eats away the natural cellulose fibres.

Fibre etching can be achieved on a variety of materials such as fabric, paper and wood. Fibre-etched fabric is typically found in clothes, furniture covers, upholstery etc.

Lovely samples we saw in class:
More Devoré examples!
Materials needed

We experimented with Devoré using silk viscose velvet. It is very smooth with loose, fine fibres. 

  • Fabric blend such as silk viscose velvet
  • Fibre etch remover gel
  • Silkscreen with design and Squeegee (optional)
  • Paintbrushes to paint on free hand designs

Print the design onto the fabric blend like we would do for a normal silkscreen print by adding the gel and running the squeegee with pressure over the surface.

Velvet with design (the camera can’t pick up the dark fabric)
Velvet with silkscreen printed design

(The velvet is a dark navy so the camera has trouble picking it up.)

Alternatively, paint on a design freehand.

Leave the fibre etch gel to dry.  Once completely dry, iron the fabric till the painted areas become stiff and slightly burnt. Either wash or brush the lose fibres off to reveal the synthetic fibres underneath.

Loose fibres after ironing

This double textured fabric is delicate and detailed. The scientific process by which the fibres are eliminated is also very interesting.

ume | documentation

Prototype documentation for our semester project, ume.

ume are interactive paired devices meant to subtly connect friends, lovers and family in different locations. It was made using Arduinos, LED bulbs, PIR sensors and ultrasonic distance sensors.

Each ume serves as an avatar of the other user. The ume in location A will correspond to the user in location B and vice versa. It aims to subtly capture the presence of each user and provide company and comfort without bombarding the user with too much information. In our era of social media and instant communication, ume aims to take a step back in our how we experience one another’s presence and filter out the buzz.

The ume emulates a flame. When users are closer to the sensor, the flame will burn stronger. When further away, the flame will flicker more and become dimmer. The umes will turn into a warm flame and start rocking gently when it detects motion in the room (e.g. if the user paces around or types on their keyboard). Conversely, when no motion is detected (e.g. user falls asleep or has left) the ume will turn into a cool blue flame and stay still. This alludes to the partner user what their partner is doing at the moment.



Changes since the last update

  • We attempted to use multilooping and protothreads to execute both the distance sensing and rocking motion at the same time as the latter was slowing down each loop. However, each thread was still waiting for the other and the time saved was marginal. So instead we programmed the distance sensor to take a reading at smaller increments of the motor motion.
  • We placed the bread board, motor and arduinos into each hamster ball and used long wires to simulate 2 different locations. We added 2 small plates at the side of the PIR sensor to limit its range when detecting motion. In terms of aesthetics, we had to cover up the arduinos, wires etc in the hamster ball as they were rather distracting. So we decided to wrap the ume up in lace to make it more intimate and homely as the ume is meant to be used in a private or home setting. This also helped to disperse the light and create a softer effect. However, this added friction to the base and reduced the rocking motion.
  • We also added a fade in and fade out effect between the 2 states. This allowed the lights to transition more naturally and we think it helped describe a person’s presence more organically.

General feedback from users

  • Users often expected that the sensors would affect the ume on the same side. They were also unsure whether they could hold them or move them around.
  • Users also remarked that they were cute and liked the spherical lace body.

Possible improvements

  • The ume could reflect more gestures and states of the users other than motion and proximity to enrich the telepresence experience. The challenge is balancing between creating a good organic communication, without sending over too much explicit information and complicating the interaction.
  • Instead of wrapping the hamster balls in lace, for a 2.0 version we would want to either do a decal or spray on a porous lace pattern which would allow light to pass through yet cover up the technical bits.
  • Another improvement would be to make it wireless so the interaction would be more tactile and physical. Users could hold onto the ume should they wish to or leave it aside to rock gently.20161118_152301

Part 1 of documentation (interaction / concept):

Part 2 of documentation (technical):

A project by Tania and Yi Xian.

Stretch | semester project

Stretch is an interactive art installation which invites participants to interrupt and manipulate a stretch of time through hand gestures. It distorts sound and movement, mainly through granular synthesis, ultimately creating a frenzied yet stimulating interactive experience.

Participants wear gloves and play with an unfolding cube to control the screen projection and sound in the space. The wooden cube is the main point of interaction and guides the participants’ gestures. The setup includes a base with a pressure sensor to detect if the cube is lifted off the base and in use; this starts up the sound and visuals. Each glove has a gyroscope attached to capture the gestures made. Additional data from the right hand is input into MuBu, a machine learning system, in order to detect when participants shake the cube. The left hand also has a bending sensor to measure grip.

Part I

The screen projection is made out of several familiar head actions such as a rotating stretch (typically used for exercise warm-ups) and nodding. The head movements correspond to and act as feedback to the gestures and sound. The visuals were inspired by Modell 5 by art duo Granular Synthesis, as well as the warped portraits of Francis Bacon. I found the face and head to be a suitable subject as we are immediately drawn to it and it catches our gaze.

However, on hindsight, I would have built a physical setup consisting of objects such as pendulums and weights, and filmed clips of it instead of the face. Although the face has its advantages and recording footage of it is much easier as it does not require extra time to build, I do feel that it possibly adds another layer of narrative. This may divert the participants’ attention away from the motions and sounds, to the identity or purpose of the person.

Part II explains the technical elements behind the work:

Screenshots of Max patch:

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Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 1.36.35 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 1.37.00 PM

Tissue please I’m going to sneeze!

Prototype documentation for phidgets feedback exercise. Made using Max 7 and Phidgets.

Inspired by the playful and nonsensical nature of Chindogu (‘un-useless’ inventions), I decided to make my own ‘un-useless’ device with some added interactivity. ‘Tissue please’ is an interactive device and the perfect companion for anyone with the sniffles. It offers a tissue when you sneeze and wishes you good health to keep the germs away.

Screenshot (61)