Site-Specific Storytelling: Possession Obsession

Table of Contents

1. Title + Concept

  • Story and Intention / Motive

2. Artist References

  • Tracey Emin & Museum of Broken Relationship
  • Film Aesthetics

3. Execution

  • Location & Space
  • Lighting
  • Props
  • Footage
  • Sound
  • Smell
  1. Concept:

It is a narrative based idea on:

Everything is a passing moment, what can we do to preserve those memories? Why do people obsess over the physical things that link them to a memory, in hopes to possess it?
Preservation of memories, memories of someone you hold dear, hold true to the heart.

Motive of this installation:

To allow people to delve further into the obsessive nature of someone who cannot let go of the past and struggles to hold onto memories that are fleeting.
Memories are fleeting moments, hence we understand the meaning of collecting objects so we can preserve and remember them.


It is a significant development from Naomi and Kai’s assignment 2 where the male lead, Pierre Tan, left her.

Lead actress wants to tell –

  1. The story of how it happened through the objects she obsessively collected from her ex during the relationship and what these objects mean to her.
  2. To tell the story of their 1 month relationship through these objects. The short time frame is used to highlight her obsessive behaviour.


A collection of 30 items as mementos to represent each day of the month


Photographs of him sleeping Fingerprints Retainers
Sound Recordings Used Scotch Tape Used Underwear
Used toothpaste Toothbrush Dental Floss
Old clothes Shades Dried Contact Lens
Used condom Towel Nails
Protagonist’s diary Wax Comb
A lock of hair Water Bottles Belts
Blanket Shoes Socks
Shaver Post-it notes with msg Ugly portrait of him
Deodorant Forks and Spoon Cup (In the film already)


  1. Artist Reference for Concept:

Tracy Emmy, Everyone I Have Ever Slept With (1963-1995)


Emin creates an intimate space through the use of a tent and narrates her personal story through the visuals displayed. Photos, names and letters of the people she had slept with are stuck up on the interior of the tent.

INSPIRATION: We’re using the idea of a limited space to reflect the protagonist’s intimate thoughts and experience. Visuals do not stand alone but coexist with the footage, space and sound to depict the theme of our work, which in this case, the protagonist’s obsession of her ex-lover.

Museum of Broken Relationships, Copenhagen, Denmark

Using objects that the audience can touch and feel and experience for themselves (e.g. reading a diary), it will be able to give clues and insights on the characteristics on the protagonist as well as the person she is obsessed about.

The amount of items as well as the nature of the items could also further accentuate the obsessive behaviour and mindset of the girl.

Artist Reference for Film Aesthetics:

Movie: See You Tomorrow (2016)

There was a scene in the movie where the main character reveals the collection of items he has collected and saved in the boot of his car that were from his relationship with his passed on ex-lover. He was unwilling to let go of the memories tied to this person despite it being many years since his lover passed on.

Amélie (2002)

1:57:20 Towards the end of the movie, we the scene of Amelie and Nino riding on a bike captured in a sepia tone colour. The footage is also fast forward to create a sense of fleeting moment. Short snippets of Amelie’s solo shot are cleverly interweaved as if to remind audience the story is about the Amélie.

  1. Execution
    1. Location
      Dark room: To give an unsettling feel
    2. Lighting
      Red tint: To show desire
      Projection of Footage: Footage will contain glitches to create sudden brightness in the environment. Also, the film that would be played to reveal the meaning of the 30 objects in the course of the relationship. This is used as a visual accompaniment to the installation.
      To depict fleeting memories of their one-month relationship. It will be fast forward to create the sense of fleeting moment where details cannot be examined.
    4. Props
      30 objects to narrate the story of their one-month relationship. We will also experiment with mirrors with lipstick messages written all-over it and images of Pierre to depict what lead actress wanted to see everyday
    5. Sound:
      Replaying of sounds, music, recordings.
      Eg. lullabies of the male lead singing for the girl
    6. Smell:
      Musky smell with a tint of cologne: To reinforce her obsessive behaviour of wanting to preserve his smell.
      Diffuser labelled ‘his smell.’

Shrine stored in a storage unit in the basement

Ideas for Room Execution


[Exhibition Review] Animal Farm Video Series (2015) by Ching-Hui Chou

[Exhibition Review #1]

Animal Farm Video Series
By Ching-Hui Chou

Art Stage Singapore 2017

I chanced upon the ‘Animal Farm’ by Chou Ching-hui, a Taiwanese artist, at Art Stage Singapore 2017. Videos works are rare in art fairs hence, making it hard to miss especially with its three-channel video set-up.


Ching-hui Chou. Animal Farm Video No.7 8’4’’ (2015) Taken at Art Stage Singapore 2017, Chini Gallery

While this snapshot shows the three screens simultaneously playing the same scene, there are selected parts where only one screen plays a different scene and some other parts where all screens play different scenes.

Due to time constraint, I could only watch one (out of 9 films). The film started with a pristine setting where a myriad of beauty tools laid across a counter. Someone then picks up one of the tool and starts ‘beautifying’ a toy doll. Then we see a teenage girl applying makeup while looking intently into the mirror, as if almost unaware to her surroundings and the camera. There is almost no dialogue for these scenes yet a lot is conveyed through the well-curated setting and careful choice of props. The pristine setting, the deliberate placement of props and the controlled movements of the actress reiterates the notion of order throughout the film.

This ties well with the theme of the work regarding the ‘inescapable yet gradually numbing human condition in the contemporary social and cultural environment (we) lived in’. The title ‘Animal Farm’ is not an allegory for the English literature book but a rather a metaphor of the modern contemporary society. ‘Farm’ here refers to a caged environment where the living is confined within and onlookers could watch them from the outside (and past judgment). This draws parallel to our modern day society where we tend to create ‘cages’ for ourselves such as keeping up with beauty standards. (I don’t think I explain this well but s’okay)

What I really love about this work is that every single aspect of the film is carefully curate, likening every single frame to a well-composed painting. The details of the setting are all constructed, the props are carefully selected and placed and the actress has an almost perfect elegance to her movements. Mastery of light control is definitely reflected in the film and the thoughtful (slow) camera panning allows viewers to study the finer details of the work. (It’s like the technical aspect of Wes Anderson films but a totally different style!)

The artist had also created a series of photography works under the similar title – ‘Animal Farm’. The photography works are just as great as the video works in its narrative through details. I could stand there for a whole 5-10 minutes studying the 108cmx148cm photographs. To shoot the photographs in a zoo definitely adds value to the work and its meaning.

While the videos ‘can be viewed as extensions or variations of the photographic works of the series’, I personally think it is an extension as it introduces the dimension of time and creates a more immersive environment. The videos were more effect in conveying the monotony of contemporary lives.

Nevertheless, both works has its own merits.


This work is nice. The price tag is even nicer.