Full Circle Positioning Slides — Updated

A New Soundtrack Experiment:

S/O Citation Machine — If you subscribe, it will also do plagiarism checks for you and suggest sources that could match. I find the way they archive your sources and organise them by alphabet most useful to compile for the final thesis (much more effective than archiving them in an excel sheet without proper formatting and italicisation). But make sure you manually fill in the boxes that they are unable to detect by automation.

Updated Abstract

as of 25 September 2020

Full Circle is an animated series exploring ways of presenting scientific information through the multifaceted realms of narrativity. The project is targeted at scientific concepts that are consequentially distant to the layman. While science serves as the cogs of this narrative, the series yields the context and familiarity of experiences in life as poetic devices, actively treading the line between scientific information and visual narrativity. The format seeks to encourage further discourse into the way we understand scientific information, bridging the gap between hard-shelled facts and humanistic tendencies.

This animated series explores the extent to which the Moon is entangled with life on Earth. It follows a narrative paved by a combination of empirical and experiential information about the Moon, gathered through interviews with astronomical societies in Singapore. This narrative is guided by scientific research. The empirical study of the Moon is accompanied by analogies of its influence on human life, bringing the planetary scale of the Moon down to eye level. It is exemplary of the familiar, empathetic realm that creative formats can bring to scientific information, while still retaining its credibility and furthering discourse in studies.

Full Circle (Pre-Interview Decisions): Introducing Diagram Art as Part of Art Direction, Narrativising Techniques, and Episode Planning

7 AUG 2020
NOTE: incomplete citations, will update.

i. Diagram Art

Mark Lombardi: George W. Bush, Harken Energy, and Jackson Stephens, ca. 1979-90

The term “Diagram Art” is not definitively a coined genre of art. Rather, it was a thought that I had conceived upon conceptualising for the art direction of Full Circle. One may colloquialism it as the genre of Infographics, but my understanding of contemporary infographics are much more graphic and abstract than I may find suitable for this project. It is of priority to ground this project in its manifesto, to chase a genre of science fiction that maximises the potential of fiction in retaining its truth value. Scientific diagrams, especially traditional ones, would be a good starting point for developing a style for this format. The intention of a scientific diagram is never to abstract the information it presents, but rather demonstrate as clearly as possible research-based concepts through a visual medium. However, while it is presented in such a manner (Fig. 1- 4), there is a clearly poetic form present within the generative amalgamation of shapes and forms used to make the readers understanding clearer. This generated visual can allow us to reach a softer, more humanistic, more poetic dimension of reading research.

Notable Diagrams

สาระคดี ประวัติศาสตร์ ความเป็นมา เรื่องราวต่างๆ: Figure of the ...

Fig. 1 The Ptolemaic System (Claudius Ptolemy, c. AD 140-150)

Bartolomeu Velbo, a cartographer and cosmographer from Portugal created this diagram to illustrate the Ptolemaic Geocentric System — ‘Figura dos Corpos Celestes’ (Four Heavenly Bodies).

Islamic Science's India Connection - AramcoWorld

Fig. 2 Lunar Eclipse (Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, 1019)

This diagram illustrates the phases of the moon. It was a concept featured in the manuscript of his Kitab al-Tafhim (Book of Instruction on the Principles of the Art of Astrology) by al-Biruni.

Vitruvian Man - Stock Image - C038/5853 - Science Photo Library

Fig. 3 Vitruvian Man (Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1487)

Da Vinci’s diagram of his understanding of a human’s proportions.

File:Copernican heliocentrism theory diagram.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Fig. 4 Heliocentric Universe (Nicolaus Copernicus, 1543)

A simple diagram that demonstrates Copernicus’ theory of the Universe.

Mark Lombardi — Diagrams as Political Art

Mark Lombardi is a conceptual artist that demonstrates diagram in the form of political artworks. He uses information from public documents to create “narrative structures” that form networks in a diagrammatic form (MONEY KILLS). Unlike traditionally informational diagrams, Lombardi’s intention is political and artistic, yet it serves the purpose of informing and provoking. His conceptualist ideas are in line with the founding ideas of Sol Lewitt who believes “The idea itself, even if it is not made visual, is as much of a work of art as any finished product.”. Lombardi was also more interested in the “idea behind the creation”, rather than “the idea itself”.

His artworks are composed of lines drawn in pencil in a precise spirographic manner (Networks of Corruption: The Aesthetics of Mark Lombardi’s Relational Diagrams). They are representative of Lombardi’s research findings on the interactions between political and financial institutions, and their head figures. The political intention behind his art is to “expose” financial corruption through demonstrating “networks of transactions, spheres of influence”. Robert Hobbs’ also mentions that Lombardi’s artwork demonstrate the importance of gathering information, following the intricate research that goes into his diagrams.

Mark Lombardi, World Finance Corporation and Associates, ca. 1970-84 : Miami, Ajman, and Bogota-Caracas (Brigada 2506 : Cuban Anti-Castro Bay of Pigs Veteran) (7th version), 1999. Graphite and coloured pencil on paper, 175.58 x 213.36 cm. Courtesy of Donald Lombardi and Pierogi Gallery (Photo: John Berens).

Useful link: https://www.stevenbaris.com/diagrams-and-art

ii. Narrativising Techniques of Fictionality

The following concepts have been derived from the article “Hybrid Fictionality and Vicarious Narrative Experience” by Mari Hatavara and Jarmila Mildorf. This article focuses on narrativity in fiction and non-fiction, highlighting the signposts of fiction. It is indicated in the following headers where Hatavara and Mildorf had derived these theories.

“Fiction” and “narrative” themselves are asymmetrical in their inclusiveness: while fiction always entails narrative, narrative does not necessarily entail fiction. The process of fictionalization not only involves features of narrativization, such as the inclusion of experientiality, but it is also accompanied by a more or less gradual loss of (perceived) truthfulness. We are of course aware of the fact that in the context of postmodern theorizing it may no longer be safe to talk about, let alone assume, something like “truth” or “truthfulness.” However, while such notions may have been problematized in postmodern cultural theory, they still hold validity in other philosophical pursuits and arguably in many (most?) people’s everyday lives.

Paratextual Signals

Grishakova, Marina. “Literariness, Fictionality, and the Theory of Possible Worlds.” In Narrative, Fictionality, and Literariness: The Narrative Turn and the Study of Literary Fiction, edited by Lars-Åke Skalin, 57–76. Örebro Univ., 2008.

Hatavara and Mildorf describe “paratextual signals or context signals of fictionality” as a mind-representation technique that is used to narrate the story of a nonfictional subject. They may not be classified strictly as a “fictional” narrative, since they are based on nonfictional experiences.

“Their referential framework is still the real world and real people in it, and this is how they will be understood by listeners and readers.”

Representation of thought and consciousness

Zetterberg Gjerlevsen, Simona, and Henrik Skov Nielsen. “Distinguishing Fictionality.” In Factuality and Fictionality: Blurred Borders in Narrations of Identity, edited by Cindie Maagaard, Marianne Wolff Lundholt, and D. Schäbler. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016.

Two situations relating a narrative to a personal thought or consciousness were highlight in the article by Hatavara and Mildorf. They are third-person narratives that involve “internalised focalisation” or “verbs of consciousness”, and “forms which mix two discursive subjects” (Herman, David. Basic Concepts of Narrative. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.).

Dissociation of the author and the narrator

Nielsen, Henrik Skov, James Phelan, and Richard Walsh. “Ten Theses about Fictionality.” Narrative 23.1 (2015): 61–73.

Monika Fludernik’s, followed by Neal Norrick’s, described the use of third-person narration in nonfiction as “narratives of vicarious experience.” Traditionally, it had been the standard to use first-person narratives in nonfiction, as facts that have been experienced by the narrator himself, rather than descriptive of another person’s experience.

iii. Full Circle // Episodes

These episodes will be focused on building a narrative for the Moon, using only theories of scientific/research nature. Their goal is to paint a factually guided picture of the Moon, but paratextually demonstrating the philosophy and poetics behind this body of scientific study. The three episodes — “Gravity”, “Rhythm”, “Light and Darkness” — are some of the main characteristics of the Moon in relation to its relationship with Earth. These characteristics are also some of the founding principles of existence and human life. In another sense, this amalgamation of topics will personify the Moon in a ‘character’ role and vicariously communicate the narrative consciousness through this third-person ‘voice’.

(Side note: ‘Philosophy of Science’ — Science is not necessarily truth. The nature of reality may be metaphysical, and we may want to take into account the ‘actuality’ of things we observe since science cannot prove what is unobservable.)

Focus: How the Moon Keeps Us Alive

This focus has been chosen because of its familiarity and harsh factuality. It will serve as a good base to demonstrate the new narrative structure.

Expected duration of each episode: 8-12min each

Episode 1: Gravity

— Stabilising Effect

— Protection Role

— Time (Segue into next theme)

Episode 2: Rhythm

— Tides

— Seasons

— Phases (Segue into next theme)

Episode  3: Light and Darkness

— Daytime, Nighttime

— Creation and Destruction

— Lunar Eclipse

Narrative Structure

I will use Waltz with Bashir as a starting point for the narrative structure for this format. The reason for this is the debatable genre of Waltz with Bashir as it actively dabbles between the consciousness of the director and protagonist Ari Folman, interviews with nonfiction subjects recounting their war experiences, while sometimes suggesting a world of fiction and fantasy. However, there will be elements of such a narrative structure that will not fit in with the interests of Full Circle, since Waltz with Bashir has much more paratext and consciousness than scientific studies such as the Moon. Waltz with Bashir involves much more psycho-socio influences, such as trauma and amnesia, all while told through the first-person perspective of a perpetrator.

Waltz with Bashir’s story arc less steep than would a traditional story arc (Exposition – Rising Action — Climax — Falling Action — Conclusion). Rather, it takes a slow boiling approach of a steadily increasing rising action, and cathartic release at the end. The docu-animation unravels with interviews with the perpetrators as the collectively recover from traumatic amnesia, and the protagonist, Ari Folman, gains an obscured piece of information each time he talks to someone new. The big picture can only be made sense of towards the end of the film, where the audience finally understands the source of Folman’s trauma as they vicariously piece together snippets of his war memories.

Full Circle will take also be making use of interviews with ‘non-fiction’ third-person narrators’ (experts on subject), and adopt a slow-boiling unraveling narrative that ends with a ‘big picture’ conclusion. The said “episodes” and topics have already been arranged in a manner that will facilitate this narrative structure.

The Moon will take the role of what resembles a protagonist in this docu-animation, while the experts act as third-person narrators on behalf of this character. It should seem as though they are directing the narrative of the Moon. The world in which this moon will be based in should consist largely of diagrammatic elements that amalgamate to form a fantastical universe to accompany these experts’ information (but not negate its ‘truth’).


Make poster of project explainer to send to interviewees


I bought a synthesizer to create the sounds reminiscent of the examples in the previous update (Fantastic Planet, Apollo 13, etc.). The following is a test I did with my new synthesizer. The animation was done in after effects, live looped in GarageBand.

FYP Proposal



Full Circle is a series of docu-animations that serves as an exemplary pilot to an experimental format of presenting facts, exploring the multifaceted realms of fictionality. While facts serve as the cogs of this narrative, the series yields context and familiarity as poetic devices, actively treading the line between truth and fiction. The format seeks to encourage further discourse into the way we understand research, creating a bridge between hard-shelled facts and humanistic tendencies.

This particular series explores the extent to which the Moon is entangled with life on Earth. It follows a narrative paved by a combination of facts and analytical speculation with experts, creating a narrative that is generated by research. In this narrative, science is accompanied by the rhythm of life, bringing the planetary scale of the Moon down to eye level. It is exemplary of the empathetic and imaginative realm that creative formats can bring to research, while still retaining its value of truth and effecting towards fact-based discourse.


Speculative Fiction
Site-specificity (Tentative) or Time-specificity
The Moon
Gravity/Quantum Entanglement

Working Title

Full Circle — a Docu-Animation series about the Moon in an experimental format

Research Objective

Research Questions

1. How can facts and research be explored through new formats such as Speculative Fiction and Documentary?

2. To what extent can we push the agenda of scientific exploration such that it retains its truth value (via exploration of the topic of the Moon, but also through other prospective themes)?

3. To what extent is the Moon entangled with the Earth and those that dwell on it? (Exemplary topic)

Specifically, Full Circle aims to:

  1. Expand the boundaries of research-based art such that facts may retain their truth value 
  2. Reinterpret research on exemplary subject of the Moon and its entanglement with the earth to be presented through Speculative Fiction and Docu-animation formats
  3. Assess the extent to which these methods align with the agenda of science and other practical causes
  4. Discover new methods of integrating fictional or speculative worlds into real-world settings/spaces.


  • There is an important place for Speculative Fiction and Documentary in the realms of education and social reform. Rather than conventional means of understanding facts, these formats are able to invoke an added sense of empathy and critical thinking.
  • Hence, many genres such as Science Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, Speculative Fiction, Docu-films and Docu-animations are now studied in a practical context, and often used to perpetuate discourse for real-life problems.


  • There is concern surrounding representation of facts in creative formats such that there can be implications that arise from the stylised representation of said facts.
  • This is commonly concerning in fact-to-fiction interpretation of violence, criminals, gender issues and abuse, such that there is sensationalist or misconstrued framing of said issues.
  • There is also concern surrounding the psycho-socio manifestations of more factual formats, such as documentary, concerning traumatic events such as war
  • The practical outcome of project focuses on the representation of science in creative formats, a field built on facts and truths. While science fiction, speculative fiction and some experimental documentaries tread the grey area of fact and fiction, it is not commonly recognised to have substantial educational or truth value.


  • Identify truth value of various research-based artworks
  • Develop a new format of presenting fact and fiction that can hold up in truth and educational value

Anticipated Contributions and Benefits of project

  • This new format of research-based art has the potential to push facts into effect, encouraging discourse and invoking a more empathetic connection with the audience
  • Such effect is a motivation for action, social reform and the improved knowledge and consciousness of the audience
  • Benefits of this particular exemplary topic of the Moon’s entanglement of the Earth:
    Both scientifically and philosophically connect us to an out of reach body that is familiar to the audience. Meld themes of fact (Time/Gravity/Size/Distance), speculation (Gravity/Quantum Entanglement), and philosophy (Existentialism/Scale/Relationships/Cultures). A topic that exemplifies how such a format could apply to other realms of research.

Research Milestones
(Deadline: Action)

  • 25th July: Observe format of precedent work (Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction, Documentary and permutations of it)
  • 30th July: Breakdown methodology and assess truth value of precedents, hence formulating some tentative ideals to maximise potential of both fact and fiction.
  • 10th August: Plan content of series and organise narrative (questions to ask) based on primary research. Subsequently, experiment with graphic and animation styles, and sound design.
  • End of September: Gather interviews with experts (Science Centre, A*STAR, Centre for Quantum Technology, etc.) based on planned narrative. (Start to create animation framework)
  • 1st Week of October: Organise gathered information and assess whether planned narrative is appropriate for new information gathered. Otherwise, narrative can be restructured.
  • 2nd Week of October: Finalise graphic and animation style, tone of sound design and documentary, the factual information should be the basis of every part in the creative process.
  • End of January: Execute practical outcome of project.
  • Mid–February: Review by experts and common audience.
  • End of March: Revision and compilation of final practical outcome.

Literature review

Conspicuous fabrications: Speculative fiction as a tool for confronting the post-truth discourse

By Kraatila, Elise. Narrative Inquiry. 2019, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p418-433. 16p

An academic article by Social Sciences Professor in Tampere University. This article highlights the issues surrounding the ‘post-truth’ world that we live in, citing storytelling as a cause for compromise with empirical facts and our ‘shared social reality’. The gist of her argument aligns with the project aims of Full Circle, such that she believes challenges faced by speculative fiction, fantasy genres and said storytelling in the ‘post-truth’ world to be ‘meaningful communication’.

Speculative Fiction in Russia and the Alchemy of Renewal

By Vladimirskii, Vasilii. Russian Studies in Literature. 2016, Vol. 52 Issue 3/4, p274-281. 8p

A discourse by Vasilii Vladimirskii, who takes Russia as testament for the power of Science Fiction and the political conflicts it entails. This discourse was published in the journal Russian Studies in Literature, which publishes “criticism and scholarship on contemporary works and popular cultural topics as well as the classics.” The article makes note of the bureaucratic red tapes that prevent Science Fiction from flourishing in Russia, and the concerns by the Russian government that it may propagate ideas that compromise their political rhetoric.

Speculative Fiction and the Philosophy of Perception.

By Keeley, Brian L. Midwest Studies In Philosophy. Sep2015, Vol. 39 Issue 1, p169-181. 12p

An academic article by Philosophy Professor in Pitzer College, Brian L. Keeley, that provides an unconventional focus on perceptive senses. He discusses how Speculative Fiction is a translation of a “scientific image” into the “language of the manifest image” as described in American Philosopher Wilfrid Sellars’ Philosophy of Perception. The article also categorises Speculative Fiction under “humanities, fiction, and imaginative arts as a whole”. It is also understood from this article that Speculative Fiction is able bridge science and ‘commonsense self understanding’.

Accuracy and Ethics, Feelings and Failures: Youth Experimenting with Documentary Practices of Performing Reality

By Gallagher, Kathleen, Mealey, Scott, Jacobson, Kelsey, Theatre Research in Canada. Spring 2018, Vol. 39 Issue 1, p58-76. 19p.

This academic article is in line with the direction of my thesis, such that it seeks a realistic way to practice documentary. The article predominantly looks at documentary through the scope of performance and theatre, yet it identifies the same dilemma of unethical and undervalued strains of documentary among creative expression. It cites that the “uncynical praxis of failure” such that ‘provisional human truths’ are discovered through documentary practice can serve as ethical means of representing reality.

War Fantasies: Memory, Trauma and Ethics in Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir

By Yosef, Raz. Journal of Modern Jewish Studies. Nov2010, Vol. 9 Issue 3, p311-326. 16p.

This academic article was written by Raz Yosef, an Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at Tel Aviv University, Israel. He poses an argument about the intention of Waltz with Bashir (dir. Ari Folman, 2008) towards exploring a collective trauma and augmented memory, rather than documenting the events that happened during the First Lebanon War. The article covers a heavily discussed topic of the ethics behind representing perpetrators and victims of a war in a documentary, and the truth value behind a production of such nature.

Precedent Studies
(Working on it)

FANTASTIC PLANETdir. Rene Laloux (1973)

WALTZ WITH BASHIRdir. Ari Folman (2008)

APOLLO 13dir. Ron Howard (1995)

THE BLACK CLOUDFred Hoyle (1957)

The Black Cloud (Penguin Modern Classics): Amazon.co.uk: Hoyle ...

Also in process of reading

2001: Space Oddity — Arthur C. Clark
Dune — Frank Herbert
Stories Vol. 2 — Ray Bradbury
The Little Prince — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Distance of the Moon — Italo Calnino
LONTAR The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction #9
The Order of Time — Carlo Rovelli
Reality Is Not What It Seems —The Journal to Quantum Gravity by Carlo Rovelli

Next Action

Focus topic and formulate specific questions for interview with experts