in Final Project, My Work, Process, Project

The Subverted Object ~ Project 2

Moving into Project 2, we explored semiotics which refers to the study of signs and symbols along with their use of interpretation. Different types of signs include an icon, index and symbols. Icons resembling the thing it presents, indexes implying another object and symbols which are purely conventional. During class, we also looked into some artists including Ferdinand de Saussure, Charles Sanders Peirce and Roland Barthes.

Measuring Tape

For the series of images that we were to produce for this project, the aim is to study and apply how semiotics affects the interpretation of the image. The object that I had picked was a measuring tape. This mind map contains ideas that came to mind revolving around measuring tapes.

Mindmap ~ Ideation

After my consultation with Lei, for task 1 I decided to focus on capturing the contrast between the stiffness and softness of both types of measuring tapes. While for task 2, I decided to focus on the topic of body image.

Task 1 

Image 1

The first image in task 1 captures the physical attributes of both kinds of measuring tape to portray contrast between the stiffness of the industrial tape measure and the softness of the fabric tape measure (as it wraps around the other). I chose to approach this image with a close-up shot in order to capture details such as the cracks and scratches on the metal tape measure to show the rougher use of it.

Image 2

This second image depicts the flexible measuring tape in a fashion context where it is placed amongst the presence of other tools that are used for tailoring clothes. In this low angle shot, the focus on the starting numbers of the measuring tape leads the viewer’s eyes into the rest of the image in the background. The warm tones present in the image was set up in order to complement the red number and line details on the tape.

Image 3

The last image for this task captures an eye level shot of the metal measuring tape in use for measuring furniture. The intent was to portray its stiffness through the presence of lines and depth and is taken at eye-level as we normally view it at for accurate reading. The image captures the practical function of the object.

Task 2

Image 1

Referencing the cultural stigma in today’s media revolving around people, especially females, achieving “the ideal weight”, this image portrays the overwhelming nature of numbers through the use of not just one but three different measuring tapes. In order to convey the obsessive thought over wanting to lose weight, the close-up shot focuses on the rows of numbers.

Image 2

Following the theme regarding the “standard of numbers”, I subverted the measuring tape into the context of a hospital bracelet. Replacing the regular band around a patient’s wrist, I stuck on a label which I created stating my name, identity number and condition onto the measuring tape. In this image, I subverted the object as a bracelet into a band of a larger scale that wraps around the waist. I decided to choose a blue measuring tape specifically as it a colour normally present in a hospital environment. The cool tones in this image such as grey and blue were also used to bring out a gloomy atmosphere.


Image 3

This image was selected for task 3 as my A2 poster. Encompassing the same intentions as image 2 in task 2, the measuring tape now portrays connotation of death and is symbolic of a noose. Since the last three images in this project flow as a story about the consequences of giving in to society’s standard of an ideal weight as a key to beauty, I wanted the last image to convey how people’s obsession with weight can reach a point of “breaking” where it leads to a critical state. I included a yellow background over the QR code because, in hospital terms, the colour yellow on someone’s bracelet means that they are very weak and will have the tendency to fall.

Not only does the measuring tape represent negative connotations of death as a noose, it also conveys an image of the patient trying to cling onto anything for support.


Unfortunately for my A2 poster, the colour that it was printed out in turned out very different from the original hence changing the effect of it. This took my awareness that I should check for the colour coordination for different printers in the future.

 Artist Influence 

Wholesome Wave: Eggplant, Bananas, Carrots
Photographer: Anderson Santos

Amongst a series of photographs titled “Wholesome wave” by Anderson Santos, this image portrays an eggplant as a medication. Since presenting on this image in class, I realized that the label that I created somewhat resembled the medical label in this series. Despite the differences in hospital bracelet or medication design labels everywhere, it is a template that can be recognized universally and hence viewers tend to not need prior knowledge about these objects to understand the image.