I’m very grateful to be able to visit this exhibition-future world as a field trip for user experience in design and guided by a TeamLab member himself, Takasu. It is a really eye-opening and immersive experience. 

The main part of this exhibition that really resonated was the interactivity aspect since I’m majoring in interactive media. I really like how every piece displayed has this very element to it, which is allowing viewers to physically interact with it as well as emotionally. There were two main types of interactivity that I found myself grouping the works under – physically and non-physical engaging. The works that were physical were “connecting!block town” , “sketch aquarium / town”, “flowers and people, cannot be controlled but live together” , “light ball orchestra”“hopscotch for geniuses” , “story of the time when gods were everywhere” , “media block chair”,  and “a table where little people live”. The works that did not allow physical touch but emotionally engaging was “universe of water particles” and “crystal universe”. There were some works that sort of border between both categories but I personally felt that there was a common ground where they all tell some sort of narrative, from the work to viewers, from viewers to viewers and perhaps also from work to work. Personally, I really value the element of narrative hence I really really enjoyed this trip.

In the work “flowers and people, cannot be controlled but live together”,  is the first work viewers will see upon entering. The first thing that hit me was the smell of flowers instead of the visuals. The smell helped in letting my brain adjust to the surroundings more quickly. In this work, many people often overlook the subtle details of how people are the ones that is destroying the nature -killing the butterflies by tapping on them- but also the ones helping it rebuild it self -flowers form at where traces of people was left behind. I also appreciated how the walls where the flowers were being projected on are soft to touch instead of the hard wall that I thought it would be, this further added a positive experience of the work.

In “sketch aquarium / sketch town “, was a concept that was new to me where I’ve never experienced or seen that your own work could be part of the artwork in real time in museum exhibitions. I think this new way to engage viewers of all ages in the museum is really effective and fun at the same time. I felt that this could one area i could explore in my major in the near future.

“Crystal universe” was the work that was the most memorable for most people and undeniably, for me as well. What really hit viewers was the sheer quality and size of the work. It was a really striking experience that cannot be easily forgotten or redone. However, while most people were admiring this very beautiful piece, I found myself reflecting on how this was done. I remember in semester one of my second year in the university, I was inclined to do a project similar to this but of course in a much smaller scale. Because of that, I know that making such a work is extremely tedious from the soldering of the LEDs to the coding. Even more so when it is of such a huge scale and quality, which make me really respect the people who made this and also arouse my curiosity of how it was done.

 Another prominent aspect was the style of the works. Even though they were all digital, each one of the works still held on to the element of traditional asian style. For example, the infusion of the element of a Japanese folding screen in “flowers and people, cannot be controlled but live together”. I think this is an interesting mix of both traditional with modern which a really creative concept. 


Japanese Folding Screen


After the tour of the exhibition, Takasu also gave us a lecture in the rainbow room. He shared many interesting insights and a really good philosophy of what their company, TeamLab does, something maybe i could aspire to be. What I really pondered over was what he shared about was the difference between western and eastern arts – direction vs surrounding. After he explained, I realised actually this was indeed true in reality. Like he said, one isn’t better than the other and it is really up to the creator to decide what are his aims or goals for his work and how could either methods help in it. 


Featured image from here.

Image of the Japanese Folding Screen from here.

This is an interesting reading that is extremely relatable and applicable in real life, because of that, it was a rather meaningful experience for me. What really resonated was his stating that the three essential items are keys, money and the mobile phone. He also mentioned that what one carries is what they consider essential & this also provides considerable insight into everything from everyday activities to hopes, values, beliefs, fears, how people relate to their world around them, and how the world out there relates back to them. In the modern times now, he couldn’t be more right about how these items are essential for one’s survival.

The “centers of gravity” (the bull’s eye where we aim to set an object down and the first place we look to retrieve it) and the “point of reflection” (that moment when a person pauses in order to run through a mental checklist of what they’re carrying & what thy may be forgotten) are two things we all do unconsciously, even I realize I’m also doing this without knowing. This also revolves around the concept of what what items we deem as the essential as these essential items are usually what we place at the center of gravity and we remember during the “point of reflection”.

Another point I found interesting was that about the range of distribution – the distance that people are willing to let their physical objects stray when they’re out and about. In Singapore, I believe that the majority of the people’s guards are usually down and they can be very willing to stray far distances from their belongings. This could be due to the belief that Singapore is very safe, where security levels are high so one don’t really have to worry much about people stealing their belongings. Such examples can be seen so apparently from the “chope-ing” of seats with tissue papers to the usage of umbrellas to even their own mobile phones and laptops. This is a scene that is highly uncommon outside of Singapore, more so for countries known for their bad levels security. For example, in Malaysia, which I travel to occasionally, I learnt that I cannot just place my belongings wherever I want and I have to be always alert and aware of my surroundings. The typical action of just whipping out your mobile phone and holding it in hand or tapping away at it while walking on the streets may be perfectly normal and commonly seen in Singapore but is something that you cannot do as freely as in Malaysia. Hence, I think it is also important to be adaptable base on your surroundings and the culture in the particular place.

Question 1: While it is convenient and efficient to be able to store information online, what happens when one day the technology breaks down or is violated? Should be be placing every single thing online and risk it having the chance to be used against us?

Question 2: While it is great that companies can customize their products or ads more towards our tastes, how do we ensure the balance between what is private and not?

Featured image from here.


In 2014, Smart Nation is an initiative launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. According to the initiative, it aims to support better living, stronger communities, and create more opportunities for all, by how well a society uses technology to solve its problems and address existential challenges. There are five key domains that they have highlighted that will have significant impact on the citizen and society, and in which digital technology can have a needle moving impact – Transport, home and environment, business productivity, health and enable ageing, and public sector services. In those areas, they also hope to co-create with citizens and businesses to address them. To enable the co-creation to happen, the government strives to facilitate innovations by the public and the private sector by putting in place appropriate policies and legislations to nurture a culture for experimentation, encourage innovation and the eventual adoption of new ideas.

The first question that came into mind was whether heading in the direction of making Singapore a especially technology-dependent society the correct or most suitable way? It is undeniable that technology has the knack for growing increasing more advanced and more accessible to many at a extremely rapidly rate over the years, reaching to many people and places originally inaccessible with just a simple action. It is also true that the technologies are increasingly being improved, bringing along with many benefits but also many negative aspects simultaneously as well. It also scares me if our society was so dependent on technology, what would happen when there comes the time when that technology where we depend on so desperately in our lives breakdown or disappears? While it is a good idea to harness technology to our advantage, I think it is also equally important to keep in mind of being overly-dependent on it.  

Using the example of the HealthHub’s new caregiver service, it allows one to easily access their own health records as well as their loved ones anytime, anywhere. What i found that was good about this app was that it allows for quick viewing of data no matter where you are or what time it is. This may also be extremely beneficial and convenient for those who are giving care to people whose medial is a top priority for concern and to keep in check, such as the elderly or young children,  where one can easily be updated of their latest medical conditions and appointments. However, technology being the double-edged sword, I also wonder whether such connivence would actually decrease their physical interaction? For example, one can easily check with his/her smartphone despite their busy work schedules, how his elderly parents are doing. If they do not live under the same roof, does that means that he/she has a lesser responsibility to check up personally on the elderly parents since they are doing fine? Which may snowball to a worser case scenario of family ties becoming increasingly strained or distanced. I think this question is especially crucial for developed countries like Singapore where there is a large population being the elderly.

 Art/Design Intervention:

“Propose a media art or design intervention to Smart Nation. Be imaginative and creative with your idea and support your idea with illustrations or diagrams.

This intervention can be an idea for a public art proposal, a creative use of data visualization using the open source data collected for Smart Nation, a proposal for an interface (think not just digital but incorporating cultural and social dynamics) in the public transportation system or any other public spaces or in the home.  The topic is open so I’d like to see what you can think of, stretching your imagination while putting thought and critical consideration of the Smart Nation initiative and the lecture in class.”

Initially i thought maybe i could do something with the open source data collected for Smart Nation. After browsing through the various data available for use, i thought to do something that was not commonly done yet but considered important information. I chanced upon the one about carpark rates and thought why not develop from there? Carparks are a necessity for drivers and sometimes they hesitate going to a particular place because they are unaware of the nearby places where they could park their cars or they worry about the cost.

Below is a super brief sketch of the idea or concept of the interface:



 What i had in mind was users can first key in their intended destination (or if not, they could just choose from the list of pre-setted locations), their purpose, age group(?) and estimated duration. The purpose and estimated duration could be optional so users can choose not to put in anything however, I thought to include those to give a better “recommendation” at the bottom(sorting button area). It also shows a map with the scrolling bar at its side(not on top of the map because i feel that it obstructs the viewing experience) that acts like a slider for zooming purposes (maybe fades out when not in use? something like what mac does?). Below it displays the carpark location and parking rates and users can choose to maybe arrange it based on their preferences (eg. distance, price,etc). I was thinking also to make it like a online thing, where it displays this under the location and price rates so one can view which carpark their friends used or something along those lines (eg. current/frequency).

From there, maybe the users click the “drive to” icon which goes to another page. The top part is sort of like google maps? Where you can have a option to swap the to and from. The page also displays the traveling time, traffic flow of that particular road (real-time update picture maybe?), and the nearby amenities or attractions. I was thinking also to include at the bottom maybe a comments section where friends or people in general who used that particular carpark can share about what they felt/opinions/suggestions. Maybe past and/or personal stories from that place can be shared by people who use / used it before. 

Style-wise, I was thinking of making use of icons, colours and illustrations so that it looks aesthetically much better. Maybe some fun animations and interactive functions but generally something that is immersive/engaging but not too complex to use to engage users from all age groups. 


This text written by Annette Kim focuses on how important sidewalks are in cities, especially so when it is often so overlooked or disregarded. After going through this reading, I realized how something so ordinary and mundane can hold so much importance and information of both the privileged and more importantly the lower income and marginalized urban dwellers who try to make a living in this space. It is also interesting where she raised the point of “the new paradigm seems to be that people on the sidewalks need to keep moving.” I feel that this point is especially true as societies grow more advanced and developed, life also gets “fast-forwarded” and rushing to one place to another. Taking into mind the lecture given earlier this week about “place”, I feel that sidewalks are such “places” where it holds numerous inscribed personal meaning. Hence, I also see the importance of trying to strike a balance in integrating both physical space & social space. This is indeed a tricky and difficult job, where even when urban designers did include going out to the actual sites itself and interviewing or observing people in their design process, the balance may still be hard to be implemented where one aspect usually gets sacrificed in the process. Unfortunately for me, I do not much knowledge of how sidewalks are like in other parts of the world since I’ve only been only able to travel to Malaysia in my life, I found myself mostly thinking about those that can be found in Singapore. It also got me thinking that aside from just sidewalks, there are also many other ordinary and overlooked places that are equally filled with much importance such as corridors, void decks, alleys, and many more. Void decks for an example is a place in Singapore where I especially feel that many uncountable personal meanings from all age groups, the pioneer generation to the younger generations, are being inscribed but often being overlooked.


Question 1. How do we know when we have collected sufficient data in the process of designing?

Question 2. When one aspect has no choice but needs to be sacrificed, be it the physical or social, how do one choose which to forgo?

I’ve always been very intrigued by the topics of parallel universe as well as non-linear fictions. When it was introduced in class to us, I was actually quite interested to read and find out what the narrative was about. However, upon reading, I realised there were many times i had to stop, rewind and reread as it was really confusing and uneasily to comprehend. At some parts it was almost as if the content was quite dry? At least, it felt that way to me. Perhaps this was not my cup of tea and I don’t think it’ll be something I’ll read by my accord. Despite all of that, what i really appreciated and liked was how numerous different possibilities could occur due to the different type of actions taken. I also like the concept of the labyrinth and it’s symbolic meaning. Overall, I enjoyed it as the idea and stories were somewhat fresh, something that I’ve never really come across before.

Sensing: Using the camera in my laptop and face location to determine the video frame

Effecting: Tracking

Computing: MAX

Assignment: Using Max as the platform, create video that acts as a movement tracker that follows you as you move sideways.

This second assignment is almost like an extension from the first where we still have to make use of what we learnt about face detecting but instead of changing opacity, it is to locate the face and match it with the designated frame from the pre-recorded video. Compared to the first assignment, tackling the first part of this was much easier as it was using basically almost the same theory but just with a few tweaks to fit the task. 

 Challenges: The main problem was figuring out what values to use for the scale. I had to go through several trial and errors before finally settling on the most suitable one. Another problem was when no face was detected, the frame did not freeze at the spot it was last at and it always jumped to the frame that showed my finger pointing to the extreme left (have yet to fix it). I also faced the same problem (room lighting problem) when documenting.

password: maxtracker

Sensing: Using the camera in my laptop and face size to detect distance of person.

Effecting: Reflecting, opacity and transitioning

Computing: MAX

Assignment: Using Max as the platform, create a virtual magic mirror that depends on the distance between a person and the mirror which result in video brightening up (far) or fading out (near).

Programming language is a generally new thing to me and Max is no different. This is the first time I’m experiencing it and I feel that it is quite different from the other languages that I learnt last semester. However, I do find that this language is relatively much easier to understand and use? I like how it functions like a mind map that is interconnected to help one see the full picture more easily.


Challenges: The programme could not run properly or like how it is expected to initially because I mixed up the “objects” with “messages” and “float” with “number”. The connections were also sometimes difficult for me to grasp as to which wire connects to which box. The main problem I faced was adjusting the values so that i have the opacity and transition that i wanted (scale & jit.op). I also found it hard to document my work if the lighting wasn’t good enough as the face detector tends to detect many other things(non-faces objects included) aside from my face, which caused the programme to glitch. This also raises the issue of if more than one object is detected at different areas & of different coordinates, the programme may flicker and “glitch”.


Jess and Russ is an american couple who made a website, as their wedding invitation, unlike using the conventional way of paper. In the website, they also included the journey of their romance, from the very start till the end, with their ups and downs. What i like about this is that the graphics moves as you scroll down the page and the way it is done has somewhat an endearing quality to it which makes me want to revisit the page. I’m generally very interested in making such a simple interactions and yet it still seems so immersive.

Link : http://jessandruss.us

After reading the first chapter of this book by Donald Norman, I found myself unconsciously agreeing to many of the examples and concepts that he mentioned while reading. From the “norman doors” to the sink and watch example. The example of the watch is a rather significant example to me, as it is something I can deeply relate to since I’ve also went through a similar experience as to what he experienced. I remember finding it very frustrating and confusing to use as there a few number of buttons, furthermore the same buttons could have totally different functions from one another.

Donald Norman has mentioned many excellent key points that I agree that is crucial for a good design. First of all, discoverability and understanding. It is true that for simple everyday appliances there is no need for it to require the aid of manuals or personal instruction since in the first place, it was to be simple. In the current world, many of such simple objects are increasingly made to bombard users with too many functions and controls that defy their understanding. It is precisely why it makes the product so confusing and causes users to forgo many of the unnecessarily functions that are there where the whole purpose of design is lost.

It is important to keep in mind, products need to be designed keeping in mind the quality of interaction and not just the aesthetics of the form. To achieve that, the understanding of who your product is targeted at is of upmost importance. After all, they are the reasons for making this product. We also have to understand and accept that not everyone thinks the same way since human behaviors is complex and we cannot just impose our own thinking on others. Adding on to his views, I also felt that patience, perseverance and time is plays a big role too. To understand does not happen over night or the span of one or two days. It requires time to truly understand user’s needs and abilities and in between failures are bound to happen. However, we should not let failures stop us but instead turn it into our fuel to reach our final destinations.

Human-centered design (HCD) is a good solution for bad design where a high emphasize is placed on communication. In his book, Donald Norman mentioned five psychological concepts – affordances, signifiers, constraints, mappings and feedback – plus the need for conceptual model of the system to achieve discoverability and understanding. I really learnt a lot from this few pointers and realized that without meeting any one of it, the design is bound to fail in some way. There is a need for all of the above pointers to work together and not just achieving it individually. Similarly, to meet the design challenge, it requires the cooperation of multiple disciplines. Everything must work together to achieve a good design that would provide users with a good experience.


Question 1: Does all products that is aesthetically pleasing but not functionally equates to a bad design?

Question 2: How do we design for something yet ensure everything works hand in hand properly when we are faced with extremely limited time or deadlines?