4D II Project 3 Research: Art Installation of the late 20th and 21st century

“Pierre” (2017) by Abraham Poincheval
Poincheval is a renowned French artist who is no stranger to bizarre performances. His works mostly related to inventing itinerant or sedentary experiences to discover the world from its still unexplored angles. His past works almost always involved endurance-testing solitary performances such as eating worms and beetles while living inside the bear; navigated France’s Rhone river inside a giant plastic corked bottle; spent a week on top of a 20-metre pole outside a Paris train station.

Poincheval poses during his performance of The Bottle in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône.

In 2014, Poincheval spent 13 days inside a bear’s skin at the Parisian Hunting and Wildlife Museum

To continue his exploration, in 2017 he embarked on a new extreme performance entitled “Pierre (Stone)” by enclosing himself inside a giant block of limestone. He entombed inside the boulder where he spent seven days on an ‘inner journey to find out what the world is’.

He carved out a hole inside the rock in his own image, just big enough for him to sit up in, with a niche to hold supplies of water, soup and dried meat. During the performance, people seemed to be very touched. They talked into the crack, read poetry to him, or tell him about their nightmares or their dreams. This encourage audience to participate in his performance, which create a very different experiences from his past work. The audience form some sort of connection with the stone as though it was “alive”.

For his experience, even though he can only move his feet and hands a few inches, he did not feel oppressed by the rock and felt completely at ease, in real connection with it.”It’s this strange feeling of a floating world, an incredible floating in this mineral capsule,” he said.


“A Fire in My Belly” (1986-1987) by David Wojnarowicz

David Wojnarowicz was an American painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, and AIDS activist prominent in the New York City art world. Wojnarowicz was a victim of childhood abuse, he lived for a time during his teenage years as a street hustler. After a period outside of New York, he returned in the late 1970s, where he quickly emerged as one of the most prominent and prolific of an avant-garde wing that mixed media, made and used graffiti and street art.

His first recognition came from stencils of houses afire that appeared on the exposed sides of buildings in the East Village. He also made super-8 films, such as Heroin. Wojnarowicz was also connected to other prolific artists of the time, appearing in or collaborating on works with artists like Nan Goldin, Peter Hujar, Luis Frangella etc. For some years, he and Hujar were lovers until Hujar died of AIDS in 1987. Hujar’s death moved Wojnarowicz’s work into much more explicit activism and political content, notably around the injustices, social and legal, inherent in the response to the AIDS epidemic.

A Fire in My Belly is a visceral meditation on cultural and individual identity, spirituality, and belief systems. It echoed themes explored throughout David Wojnarowicz’s art and writing.

On a trip to Mexico City with Tommy Turner to scout Day of the Dead imagery, Wojnarowicz documented scenes that embodied the violence of city life. A central image is that of a child exploited as a fire-breathing street performer, which resonates in the title of the film and Wojnarowicz’s own experience hustling on the streets at a young age. He later staged scenes in his New York City apartment to combine with this footage, collecting dreamlike images to illustrate thematic sections he planned for the film’s structure and cutting script. Among these images is a dancing, gun-wielding marionette, coins dropping into a plate of blood, vibrantly colored loteria cards, and the now iconic self-portrait of the artist with his lips sewn shut.

A Fire in My Belly was never completed. Wojnarowicz’s cutting script shows that he thought of organizing it into discrete sections. Each section includes notes on general themes, such as “aggression” or “hunger,” accompanied by specific symbols – religious icons, the four elements, or colors.

In 2010, Smithsonian Institution removed an edited version of footage used in the short silent film from the exhibit “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” at the National Portrait Gallery after complaints from the Catholic League and the possibility of reduced federal funding for the Smithsonian. The video contains a scene with a crucifix covered in ants. The Catholic League claimed the work was “hate speech”, against Catholics.

However, many artists and curators thought that it was not anti-religion or sacrilegious. It is a powerful use of imagery. In response, The Andy Warhol Foundation, which had provided a $100,000 grant to the exhibition, announced that it would not fund future Smithsonian projects. Many protests were held and artists sought to withdraw their art from the exhibit.

“The Reincarnation of Saint-Orlan” (1990) by ORLAN

ORLAN is one of the most famous french artist internationally known. She creates sculptures, photographs, performances, videos, using scientific and medical technics like surgery and biogenetic.

She often makes her own body the medium, the raw material, and the visual support of her work. She is a major figure of the body art and of “carnal art*” as she used to define it in her 1989 manifesto.

*Carnal Art: is self portraiture in the classical sense, but realised through the possibility of technology. It swings between defiguration and refiguration. Its inscription in the flesh is a function of our age. The body has become a ‘modified ready-made’, no longer seen as the ideal it once represented.

Her best known work “The Reincarnation of Saint-Orlan” started in 1990 that involves a series of plastic surgeries through which the artist transformed herself into elements from famous paintings and sculptures of women. As a part of her ‘Carnal Art’ manifesto, Orlan’s operating table became her baroque theatre. Poetry was read and music played while she lay fully conscious. Each surgery was captured on video, broadcast in galleries and sometimes fed to audiences around the globe via live satellite link-ups. Some critics have described Orlan as mad, some have written up her interest in cosmetic surgery as anti-feminist.

However, Orlan’s goal in these surgeries was to acquire the ideal of female beauty as depicted by male artists. When the surgeries are complete, she will have the chin of Botticelli’s Venus, the nose of Jean-Léon Gérôme’s Psyche, the lips of François Boucher’s Europa, the eyes of Diana, and the forehead of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Orlan picked these characters “not for the canons of beauty they represent… but rather on account of the stories associated with them.”

According to Orlan’s Carnal Art Manifesto, it’s “not against cosmetic surgery, but rather against the conventions carried by it and their subsequent inscription”. Instead of condemning cosmetic surgery, Orlan embraces it; instead of rejecting the masculine, she incorporates it; and instead of limiting her identity, she defines it as “nomadic, mutant, shifting, differing.” Orlan has stated: “my work is a struggle against the innate, the inexorable, the programmed, Nature, DNA, and God!” She believes it is important to underline her work as a feminist artist.

4D II Project 2 – Soundscape

Artistic Statement

This soundscape is about a student who encountered paranormal activity in his school toilet. Through objective sound we follow the character through different spaces which allows the audience to experience from the character’s point of view. Through this soundscape, you will hear how the character first encounter the female spirit in a toilet; how he manage to get out from the toilet but was locked inside the fire escape exit while the spirit approaches him; and finally manage to get out from the building.

Concept Development/Research


Firstly, I came out with a few scenarios/emotions that I want to portray in this soundscape project:

  1. The Life of A Getai Singer – A day of my sister, a Getai Singer. I wanted to record the sound of my sister from the start of her day to her performance and to the end of her day.
  2. Paranormal Activity in the school toilet – A fear that I have yet to experienced in my life.
  3. Loneliness – Evoke a feeling that most people would have felt at some point of their life.
  4. Panic Attack
  5. Sleep Paralysis – Something that I have experienced once in my life. To recreate the scenario based on my and someone else’s experience.

I decided to work on number 2 because It’s something I have never experienced before. I also wanted to try create horror sound that evokes fear and it has more room for me to play around with sound layering.

Sound Research

Below is a list of sounds that I thought could evokes fear:
– Unexpected Loud Bang/Noise
– Suspension sound effects
– Panting
– child/woman laughing
– Someone whispering into your ear
– Alien Language
– Scratching
– Bone cracking sound
– creepy religious song play at the background
– accelerating heartbeat

I also interviewed my mum and my partner for some inspiration. My mum actually experience paranormal activity in kampong when she was a teenager. She heard vividly heard someone talking in a low, out of this world language while she was on the way back home late at night, and saw a very tall and slender dark figures in the forest.

My partner didn’t actually encountered any paranormal activity but his experience with sleep paralysis was very creepy. I also did a check online and apparently everyone who has frequent sleep paralysis experience the same thing. How creepy!!! Here is a video of him explaining his experience:

Artist Reference

James Wan
He is well known for directing the horror film such as InsidiousThe Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2 and The Conjuring 2. I have been a huge fan of his horror film and always wondered why his film evokes so much fear. I realised that he uses a lot unexpected surprise jump-scare with loud noises. He especially like to have a long suspense or silence before the loud sound take place at the unexpected and synchronised nicely with the frame. Here are some videos that I refer to:

James Wan on Creating Horror Using Sound:

James Wan on Sound and Suspense:


The Conjuring 2:

Thr Autopsy of Jane Doe:

Planning and Development – Sound Script

I also came out with a rough script and planning to get a clear picture of how my soundscape would sound like:

Everyone going back from school late at night “Let’s go! Bye! See you”
“I have to go to the toilet you guys go first I see you guys tomorrow”
“Okay bye! Rest well!”
My Footsteps/Opening the toilet door
I close the cubicle; Pant unzip; Sound of urination; someone knocks on the door x3
Sound of urination; tap suddenly on; small gasp from me
zipped the pants; opens the cubicle
Walk towards the basin; Turn on the tap and wash my hands
creaking of cubicle door; gasp
opens the door and run out from the toilet nervously; panting
Open the door to the exit; fast footsteps going down the stairs
try to open the door but it’s locked; “SHIT”
creepy alien language + laughter; voice getting faster and nearer
only the sound of Panting

Planning and Development – Sound Creation

During the recording process, I made some changes to the script. I added in/took out some elements so that it sound cohesive and balance. Here are the list of sounds that I recorded:

Diegetic Sound:

  • Beep from Card Access
  • Cubicle Door Opening/Closing
  • Unzipping My Pants
  • Door Knocking
  • Water tap
  • Door Banging
  • Running Foot Steps
  • Environmental Sound 1: Outdoor, Indoor, Toilet, and fire escape staircase
  • Door Opening/Closing:

  • Urinating:

  • The voice of girl laughing and shouting (by Bridgel):

  • Out of this world language:

  • Heartbeat:

Non-diegetic Sound:
– Horror Ambience Sound Effect (Royalty Free)
– Dramatic Metal Clang Do-over Sound Effect (Royalty Free)

I wanted the soundscape to have mostly Objective Sound that captures everything that’s going on in the space and also to have a story structure – increase in intensity (from soft to loud). The soundscape starts off soft and light-hearted to loud and creepy towards the end. To further enhance the intensity I planned to include a change in timbre and organisation, from tonal to noisy and from ordered to chaotic respectively by layering more sound clips towards the end. Also, I want to include the sound of  heartbeats to change the speed and rhythm of the soundscape.

P/S: First time using Adobe Audition for sound editing and it was more challenging that I thought it would be.

Final Outcome:




4D II Project 1 – Alter Ego


As a performance artist, Sylvester sees his life as part of the performance on stage. He is a cheerful and positive person, but after knowing that he has diagnosed with 4th stage cancer he struggled to accept his destiny. During his performance, Sylvester failed to put up his cheerful front and break down on stage as he knew that one day he will not be able to perform again and soon he will be faded off from this world and leave everything he loves behind…

Character Exploration

During class, we were tasked to explore different characters we have affinity with:

Task 1 – List 5 characters from literature or fiction

  1. The Imitation Game: Alan Turing
  2. Danish Girl: Lili Elbe
  3. Dallas Buyer’s Club: Rayon
  4. Still Alice: Alice Daly-Howland
  5. Whiplash: Terence Fletcher

Task 2 – List 5 public figures

  1. Lady Gaga
  2. Beyonce
  3. David Bowie
  4. Michael Jackson
  5. Meryl Streep

Task 3 – List five people you know or have known

  1. Muhammad Khairul Ikhwan
  2. Rose Ong (Mummy)
  3. Joanna Tan (Sister)
  4. Johnny Tan (Father)
  5. Felicia Koay

Task 4 – Top 2 in each list

The Imitation Game: Alan Turing (Task 1)

Alan Turing was an English pioneer computer scientist and cryptanalyst who invented computer to break Germany’s unbreakable Enigma machine and helped UK to win WWII. Turing struggled with his sexuality throughout his life and was prosecuted under homosexual acts for “gross indecency”. He later committed suicide due to his personal struggle. I feel that I could relate to this character because I was facing the same struggle for a period of time and constantly felt that I was rejected by the society.

Danish Girl: Lili Elbe (Task 1)

Lili Elbe was a Danish transgender woman and one of the first identifiable recipients of sex reassignment surgery. I admire her courage to challenge the norm during that period of time when homosexuality was not accepted, and also risked her life to undergo sex reassignment surgery even though the procedure was not performed on anybody else. Like Turing, she was struggling with her sexuality after she was married to her wife then.

Lady Gaga (Task 2)

Lady Gaga is an American singer, songwriter and actress who uses her influence to bring attention to social issues such self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring, and career development. This is because when she was a teen, she was being bullied, raped etc. and she wants to use her influence to help people. Gaga was one of the pop artist that helped me to walk out of my struggle during a period of time.  The message from her performance and music has encouraged me to love and be myself, and helped me to find confidence in myself.

Beyonce (Task 2)

Beyonce is an American singer, songwriter that often uses her music to express her feeling and thoughts. She recently moved on to use music to address social issue and also highlight her personal life with her long time partner. She’s also a very prominent feminist and is an icon for girl-power. I am a huge fan of Beyonce not just because of her talent and performances, but how she uses music to express her feeling and struggle in life, and still carries put up a strong front as public figure. She reminds me of myself – always put on a cheerful front but keep all my negative thoughts and feeling within myself.

Muhammad Khairul Ikhsan (Task 3)

Khairul was a friend of mine that I met during army. He was a fine art student in NAFA who usually appeared in drag queen outfit. He had never let anybody’s judgement or opinion from stopping him to dress like a lady, and strive to be a kind and empowering person. He had an awesome life ahead of him, until he was diagnosed with cancer. Sadly, he passed away in 2016. He has always been an inspiration to me and it was him that I felt that it was okay to be gay.

Mother (Task 3)

My mummy is an iron-lady who always get things done efficiently. When my dad passed away, she never shed tears in front of me and continued to get things done for the funeral. However, I have seen her tearing in her room occasionally and realised she has been vulnerable inside but wouldn’t want to show it to us. I was kind of influenced by my mum’s personality and I see some similarities between us.

Task 5 – Final Character Selection

My final selection is Muhammad Khairul Ikhsan. I really thought that he represents my alter ego and I feel a strong connection between us. I also want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to him.

Concept Development

I had this concept in mind while I was in the process of exploring different characters – to show the other side of me which I know existed but was never shown to anyone. I’m usually cheerful and positive in front of people but deep down I’m struggling with self-doubt and I always feel that I’m not good enough. I fear that one day this side of me will overpower the positive side and it will eventually fade off. I discovered this side of me through the process of selecting Khairul, a friend I met in the army who passed away last year. I feel a strong connection with his story and how it kinda reflect my fear of non-existence.

Developing My Alter Ego and the Setting

Hence, I kind of blur the line between portraying him and myself – It’s like a hybrid haha. Khairul was in Drag outfit most of the time, so I borrowed his appearance by putting on light make-up. This also to show that I am being part of the LGBT community and how I am opened to the public (similarity between me and Kairul).

I also created a fictional profession for my alter ego – a performance artist – to relate his life to his career and theatre, and how he doesn’t want his life to end and leave everything behind.

To create more dramatic effect, I also decided that my Alter Ego should diagnose with cancer also, and to link it back to Khairul.

Lastly, Khairul and I are both study art and design so I wanted to create a set whereby it kind of show that element subtly.

Video References/Inspirations

I wanted to express mournfulness in this 1-minute video and I find it difficult to create a impactful message without using a classic linear plot structure. I decided to just focus on the character, and keep it very minimal with first person POV Character Voice and raw in emotion. Here are the some of the videos that I drew inspiration from:

This video created for the Anti-Gambling campaign really caught my attention when I first came across a few year ago. I really like the lighting and how it only focuses on the 2 characters to send a message across.

I came across this video while browsing youtube for inspiration, and I really like how the actress progressively changes her expression throughout the film. It feels like the character was hiding her true self at the beginning and then finally revealed herself at the end.

I really like the opening scene of Whiplash. I like how we first hear the drumbeats  and the camera pan towards the main character. But for my film, I want to pan out from the character to suggest that he is faded away from the stage/his life.

Combining these 3 favourite scenes, I come out with the storyboard using the test shots:

Test Shots and Storyboarding 

The location is in the drawing room because Me and Kairul are both art student (2nd similarity) and the use of spot light is to recreate the lighting you see onstage.

Towards the end of the film, the camera move away from the character, which symbolize fading off (or the end of the show) while the character is still on stage, breaking down. Actually, you can’t really tell from the storyboard that it is a linear plot structure, but it can be heard clearly through the monologue which I will cover later. 

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-8-44-12-pm screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-8-44-31-pmDrafting the Monologue

I applied the dramatic monologue that was taught in class because I thought by using the first-person point of view to reveal my inner thoughts, it will create a more dramatic effect. I had a hard time drafting the monologue because I do not want to distract the viewers away from the character’s expression, which is the focus on this film. Hence I tried to put in less words for my monologue but it somehow didn’t really worked out well.

Initial Monologue with Linear plot structure

My name is Sylvester and I am a performance artist.
I love life and I am happy with who I am and what I do.
I live for the stage. (Beginning)

Not long ago, I discovered that… I had terminal cancer. (Middle)

My world is falling apart.
I don’t want to die. I can’t die.
I can’t leave the stage.
I want to live, so badly (Ending)

After consulting Wen Lei, she actually suggested to take out some sentences, especially the part where the character’s expression changes. I’m really happy with the final result and I’m amazed that by removing sentences from the monologue it actually pushes the story forward.

Edited Monologue with linear plot structure

My name is Sylvester and I am a performance artist.
I love life and I am happy with who I am and what I do.
I live for the stage. (Beginning)

Not long ago, I discovered that… I had terminal cancer. (Middle)

My world is falling apart.
I don’t want to die. I can’t die.
I can’t leave the stage.
I want to live, so badly (Middle)


Finally, here is the 1-minute film that you guys have been waiting for hahaha!