Exhibit Layout and How Moss And Grow Lights Fit in (FYP18)

Updates for the week would be focused mostly on material testing and more technical aspects of planning.

Exhibit Layout
The grad show layout has been finalised! I would be painting the space entirely with the colour Pantone 5395 C (or similar, depending on the colours the contractors provide), with the exception of projection surfaces. I picked this slightly dark navy colour that I thought would be able to complement the purple which the grow light would give off.

I have also “choped” 3 pedestals of different sizing each, one at H (1m for all) x W x L 40 x 40cm (to place previous prototype), another 40 x 80 (for final prototype), and lastly, one with 40 x 100 (to place supporting posters and documentations if any).

More details could be found here: FYP Diagram(BW).

Grow Lights, and What to Do with Them
I have finally received my grow lights, way faster than I had expected! However, despite me buying the smaller bulbs, there were many unexpected outcomes which would mar the final aesthetics of the project.

Catalogue of grow lights which I bought (I bought 2)

Some aspects which I did not realise include:

1. Light splashes around the entire machine, and even outside of the moss planters

Surely, this can be mitigated against, through either implementing a lampshade like hood on the bulb itself, or raising the sides of the moss planters (not ideal, as aesthetically it would look bad and incur more difficulties in raising the entire moss bed), but this would simply mean more effort expended into correcting these issues, and risk disrupting the already working machinery/aesthetics

2. Grow light makes… the moss look bad

Ever since the presentation, I had re-transferred the moss back to the plastic trays as it makes it easier to grow the moss (in terms of watering, or letting it sun out). Since then, the moss has not advanced much in terms of growth, but there has been an increase in sprouting amongst the moss.

As evident above, the purple from the grow light has overpowered the initial green of the moss. With green, the symbol of freshness, youth and growth eradicated, an eerie feeling takes over the model. I am on the fence about this new enforced aesthetics – on one hand, it strongly pushes forth the idea of the creepy science laboratory theme, and also adds some colour to the otherwise dark space exhibit, but with the green and symbols of freshness lost, I feel that I would need to adjust the exhibit aesthetics slightly.

3. Rotating Grow Lights?
Initially, I wanted each grow light to also be in continuous rotating motion, and each grow light was to follow each tray in rotation. However, knowing now that the light splashes around out of the tray planter, the intended effect of seeing each grow light rotate around (as though each was the sun rotating around a planet) would not be as strong as I thought.

I could try to add on the lampshade to minimise the lighting, but I am wary of its construction. For instance, I have not tested the lighting for long hours, and am not sure of the volume of heat it would release (which might potentially, set fire to my lampshade or kill my moss).

Another consideration would be that for the grow light to rotate, their connecting wires would also have to rotate. This is troublesome for the machinery layout planning, Currently, the grow light comes together with a clip and bendable stem, which would be extremely helpful in positioning it onto the model. As such, I am considering eliminating the rotation of the grow light, despite it being a much more powerful element.

What I have in mind to continue working on

To deal with these, I plan to:
1. Make a lampshade
2. Make my moss machine LARGER (for it to ‘capture’ more of the light spillage)
3. amend the construction of the moss model, as a larger model would require better supportive frame

Farming the Moss

Close up of Moss bed

Moss growth has been good! Clearly, a few patches have died out but I attribute that to fungal infection (which luckily did not spread much to the surrounding mosses).

Left: Dead moss patch, but lively sproutlings

In fact, I noticed that the seedlings amongst the moss has had MORE responsive growth than the moss itself (even growing in the direction of the sunlight), and for a start/for statistics for my posters, I have started calculating the number of seedlings sprouted.

Data for my corresponding posters would be recorded and taken from the moss itself. Some examples of data which would be recording include the specific number and type of seedlings which sprouted in my moss bed. A sample is shown below:

Sample: Data Information Recorded for Posters
Close up: spot the 2 different species of seedlings sprouting

In this instance (referencing the previous 2 pictures), the data I tried to record was the number of single bladed (somewhat like a grass blade) sproutlings and normal 2 or 4 leaved seedlings. I would be continuing to collect similar data, and start working on my corresponding posters as soon as possible. Also, I would try as much as I can to include real data into my posters as I want them to lend some semblance of reality into my entire project, even though the theme was somewhat parodic.

Video Installation and How It Looks Like
Initially, I wanted my video portion of the installation to be more of a split screen format. However, through consultation with prof Randall, I realised that doing it in real time would not be possible with my envisioned 9 screens – which probably meant affixing 9 different working cameras onto the machine itself – due to technical limitations (computer data might mix up the video signals if too many cameras were to be attached to it).

Above would be my initial idea for the projection. However, with this unforeseen circumstance, I might alter it to simply 2 camera input signals, and simply play around with the available effects.

What’s real, and what’s not?

Through my consultation with prof Randall, I realised that I have not truly addressed this particular point within my project. For now, I am aiming at making it as real as possible, but at the same time, I want it to be slightlllyyyyy ridiculous in the sense that scientifically examining the theme of continuity is all but a fruitless attempt as the answer was simply absent in the first place (which ties back to the name of my project, of it being a continual study on the theme of continuity). Also, the “study” of the theme would be borderline parodic, of through the concrete examination of the topic, I attempt to make it “real”?

It seems as of now that this point is still slightly wonky, and I will continue polishing it, but as of now, this is what I have in mind.

Conclusion and Moving On!
After a week’s of deliberation of the final machine’s sizing, I have decided to just work on a similar model of the same size and will start rebuilding the model over the next week. At the same time, I will be starting on creating a series of posters and other exhibit decorative materials.

Meanwhile, for the projection, I would aim to affix the final projection scheme by the end of the next week, and hopefully, create a portion of it.

Moss Machine Prototyping (FYP18)

A very, very Quick Catch up!
This post will just be a very brief update on the progress of each different aspects of the installation!

Firstly, let’s talk about the layout! My proposed space would be a slightly rectangular space, with content to be projected/hung/attached/displayed on all 4 walls. My drawn layout can be accessed here: FYP Diagram(edited final).

Planned Layout of each 4 walls of Installation

Otherwise, as seen in the above rough sketch, I would be placing:
1. x 2 projections
2. x 1 moss machine
3. Phamplets, memorabilia

More details could be seen here: Presentation Summarised

FYP Group Presentation with all Professors
Today, the IM cohort had a group presentation with all the IM professors. My presentation slides can be found here: Presentation Summarised

Moss Procurement Updates!

In my last post, I did mention that I would resort to buying the moss! Luckily for me, I chanced upon large quantities of this very amazing moss species on a quick trip to Malaysia which would fit the theme! However, I only managed to smuggle back enough quantities for it for the prototype itself only, and not for the final installation machine.

Close up of moss

Referencing the above close up picture of the moss, I wish to draw attention to the individual stalks of each moss head – which gives additional texture and interest to the moss bed – perfect for what I envisioned.

As of now, I have a dilemma of whether to purchase commercially available Holland moss for the final machine or whether to return to Malaysia for the sole purpose of moss collection. Logistically speaking, I am also unsure if the border controls will allow me to ‘mass import’ their local flora back to Singapore.

But for this final prototype, I have decided to affix it with this particular species of moss.


I was pretty worried about the structure and how it would actually hold together, and after having gone through the laser cutting workshop, was actually able to try it out! Here’s my process making in pictures:

Final Prototype

ps. moss burger is not actually the name of the machine, it’s just some pun injected (from the fast food chain Mos burger) into this otherwise nameless machine!

I envision this to be my final prototype (if possible)! From now thereafter, I would be working on the final machine. It would take some time though, perhaps 2-4 weeks to complete it as I wish to perfect it.

As of now, the speed of the turning it wayy too fast for my liking. I’d be experimenting with gears of different sizes and try to slow the speed down. In addition, I plan to make rotating grow lights (to keep the moss alive) to follow the movement of the rotation. However, it might take some time – my grow lights are currently still being mailed over to me, and is estimated to only reach me 1-2 weeks from now.

For the final machine, I would also make it slightly larger than this prototype. Not too large, as originally thought (initially I wanted it to stand at 1.6m height/5.24 feet) as I am not confident of my construction skills.

Projection Matters

I have not started on this yet, but I plan to project real life camera detection of the moss machine itself.

Supporting Materials (eg. pamplets, posters)

I wanted my final installation look to be a unique mishmash between the science laboratory, and a dark installation space. Above shown are mood-board references of how the final installation might look like – albeit with a slightly different colour scheme of purple, black, white and potentially dark blue.

Research Poster FYP (sample, unfinished)

For instance, this was one of the posters I intend to display within the installation space itself. It would have real data which I collect from my investigations (eg. how many seedlings have sprouted from my moss), but placed in an authentic yet ludicrous way.

Over the next few weeks, I would be prioritising the creation of the machine and projections, as I am quite worried about how it would look like in the actual set up, and would require them to be ready as soon as possible so that I can more accurately plan the actual exhibit space.

I would also continue collecting data from my grown moss to be put into the poster ?

Rough equipment list (FYP18)


  • projector x 1
  • Timer
  • Build materials (eg. acrylic, wood, metal hinges/support, wooden breams)
  • Wiper motor
  • moss (plant, bedding, spray nozzle)
  • gear system (belt, chain)


  • VDMX
  • Max Msp
  • Electrical timer

VDMX References for the future:


Technical Aspects and more details (FYP18)

Summarised Updates
Apologies for the delay in uploading this post! This post would cover 4 main components (making up the entire project) which I have been working on:

  1. Moss Harvesting
  2. Machine Construction
  3. Ideation/concept
  4. Projection

Let’s start!

Moss Harvesting

Initially, I wanted to harvest my own moss, continually sowing and replicating it such that it would make a mossy bed. Hence, I tried to hunt for actual moss around my neighbourhood as I thought that 1) these species of moss are already acclimatised to our hot climate. Hence, the chances of them dying during the actual exhibition could be lower. 2) Should the mosses harvested die, there is always an abundance of more mosses to be collected from the environment. 3) it was, free.

Thus commenced the witch hunt! (I didn’t pluck mosses from nature reserves/preserved areas so I didn’t flout any laws hopefully).

Out of all these local moss species, I identified at least 3 different species – codenamed species A, B and C. Out of all these 3 species, species A was the rarest (I was only able to find it on a single trunk), whereas species C was the most common but hard to transplant onto a different surface.

Some attributes I discovered from my layman observation of the tree species:

Species A
– rare
– most aesthetically pleasing in terms of moss beauty
– easy to transplant (in terms of scraping it off tree trunk)
– ‘cleanest’: not attached to any root/soil material

Verdict: ❌
Usable for project, but impractical due to difficulty in harvesting

Species B
– common
– barely perceivable height
– extremely hard to scrape off
– ‘small presence’: only a huge and enormous quantity of it would make it look substantial
– aesthetically unpleasant

Verdict: ❌
Unusable due to aesthetics not in line with what I have in mind for the moss visuals

Species C
– VERY common, abundant
– seems very hardy
– slight difficulty in scraping off since it tends to grow on tree roots/wood
– ‘flat’ surface, would prefer another moss species with slightly higher height elevation

Verdict: ✔
Usable, but might experience slight difficulties in creating a ‘blanketed’ moss surface which I had in mind for the final visuals

That being said, I did collect some of the moss in a container and will be monitoring it as my preliminary introduction into the Art of Caring for Mosses. Based on my first few days of caring for the mosses, I realised that they were indeed very hardy – without much water, or sunlight, they were still, green. It was very good news indeed. I will be continuing to monitor the mosses, and am considering setting up an experimental set up of mosses in the dark so as to stimulate present conditions of the moss within the final installation set up.

Thus, I resigned and would attempt to instead buy moss online. Initially I decided against it as this would become a considerable budget for my project but moss as the product was essential to this study, hence the consideration was overthrown.

In the current market, there are very limited sellers selling purely moss for terrarium uses. I could only purchase dry mosses, as I did not want to deal with additional difficulty of submerging the mosses inside water (most mosses are wet mosses, and much more easily available). However, I shortlisted two sellers who might be able to provide Live Holland Moss for the project. It was important to buy live moss, rather than dehydrated or dried moss which cannot be revived for the project.

Side tracking a wee bit – I actually found out the species of moss (haircap moss) which I saw in Japanese gardens, but the local market does not provide sales of this particular moss species.

It was indeed a pity, as haircap mosses are more apparent, and have a slightly more protruded surface/texture which might make the moss carpet seem more lively. Holland moss, on the other hand, had a more grass carpeted surface, making it theoretically easier to blend and create a more even moss carpeted surface.

The two sellers shortlisted are: Ecophonics and Zantelle. The budget for an estimated 17 x 12cm/6.7 x 4.7 inches sized carton of Holland moss (based on size specification given by Ecophonics) would cost an estimated $8. I would imagine that I would need ~8 clumps for each tray I would have (cost: $64 sgd for each tray of moss?).

I will be purchasing the moss soon, along with glow lights (to be confirmed and done by end of this week).

Machine Construction

This was one of the most prevalent aspects of the installation, yet one of the most worrying at the same time. For this machine, I experienced several difficulties in creating the build and rotation mechanism. As an add on from last week’s cardboard mechanism which didn’t work out smoothly enough, I created another more stable structure which I will be partially adopting into the final design.

Prototype 2 of rotation mechanism

Unfortunately, this would require much more time than expected, as there was a delay in purchasing materials and building. In my consultation with Prof LPD, he recommended essential reinforcement of the tray, and rotating arms with flange mounts/bearings, and for the rotating mechanism, implement a gear system which would control the speed and rotate both the tray and the glow lights (as another rotating mechanic entity from the first moss machine).

This gear system would be powered by a solo (for now) powerful motor, namely the wiper motor. The wiper motor is a motor originally used as the windshield wiper, and would be powerful enough to drive the entire gear mechanism. However, visits to sim lim tower to purchase this elusive motor proved to be wasted, and I would need additional time to purchase it online (via Ezbuy or Amazon). In addition, details were missing from my sketch/second prototype, thus I spent the week trying to polish up and make a working sketch and push through with the machine specifics.



Actual and final size of machine

(Refer to above figure) The machine would stand at 1.65m, rotate at one rotation for every minute. Each tray would be 52.5 x 15 x 5.5cm/20.6 x 6 x 2.2 inches.

Details: specific gears for machine
Details: Material list for machine

(Refer to above figure) The base of the machine would be created using wood, while the arm would be made using acrylic. The gear (unlike what was sketched) would be only attached to one rotating arm, but I would be inserting a metal rod which will extend towards both rotating arms and provide stability, and hopefully, enough rotational power.

As for the tray, I hope to be able to use acrylic (as it is waterproof and able to take the misting required to water the moss daily), but am unsure of that at the moment as the acrylic might not be strong enough to handle the weight and pressure of the plants, movements and whatnots. It would take testing to iron out these concerns.


Articulating the Concept

While the last few posts have already written about the concept in different permutations, I have jotted it down to make it more concrete and less airy. Please refer to the above figure on the specifics.


Sketch of counter sensor of number of rotation of tray

Regarding the projection, I will schedule another OSS post on Friday to talk more about it. As of now, I would be utilising the number of times the trays rotate, and using this data to create imagery to be projected on a singular wall (for now).

I would require one projector for this aspect.


FYP Concept (FYP18)

Throughout the entire course of my FYP journey thus far, I had ongoing troubles trying to focus and stick to a single good idea. Often, I oscillated between various ideas and concepts, at times nearly settling for a topic but ultimately was unable to fully commit to any.

For once, I still feel inclined towards my chosen topic of continuity, and I can see myself working towards it. However, due to difficulties in thinking of the best idea, or installation product which would reflect the idea, I have decided to make continuity into a theme which I would actively study through my work.

Exploring the Idea

More mindmapping on concept
Ideas on installation

I did mention of the continuity of time, or rather, presence in my previous post, and tried to translate it into objects – firstly, through organic objects – plants, flowers and whatnots, within a physically enclosed space eg. boxed up cube, or through simpler kinetic motions (swinging a pendulum, or strings in circular, repetitive motions).

However, I still felt that these methodologies, though were to some extent able to express my idea sufficiently enough, felt lacking and was not ‘true’ to myself. At the same time, most ideas felt as though they had a ‘statement’ to respond towards, rather than circling and slowly delving, and exploring this dubious topic of continuity.

Thus, I decided to latch onto this thought and express it systematically: a Study on (the theme of) Continuity.

Exploring the Medium

Robotic Arm idea: in middle of sketches

Concurrently, I found myself attracted to this idea of a robotic arm, who, through replicating a human motion, could be doing a ‘performance art’ on behalf of an actual human person. At the same time, using a robotic arm meant that this continuity could be forcefully implemented and maintained for however long I wanted.

At the same time, I was hooked onto the idea of the moss (based on actual moss gardens I have seen) as being a living creature, but at the same time, it evokes a sort of tranquility that echoes the exact sentiments I found within the subject of Continuity and wanted to bring across in my artwork.

See: bottom left hand corner for contained-within-box moss sketch

Thus, I decided upon a working idea, of containing the box within a glasshouse/terrarium setup (picture above), and incorporate the robotic cyclic arm into the setup.

Actual Set-up

Room set-up

Originally, I wanted the study of continuity to be expressed using a few different objects (eg. 3-5), each object exploring a different theme. These objects would then be scattered around the room, and the space would be one resembling an experimental lab.

However, I acknowledge that time is not on my side so I decided to just go big on one particular, singular machine which I have always been keen on.

Presenting… my moss machine (for the lack of a better title at the moment)!

Moss machine ver 1

With reference to the previous picture: the moss will be placed in the tray, while a rotating system will continually rotate the moss.

It serves to critique the continuity of time, through rotating a living object (the moss), despite, appearance wise, the moss looking like a non-living object. This ties in with the idea that continuity is always present, but not always acknowledged and recognised. This study tries to extenuate the idea, and present it – as it is – to the audience.

Rough Mock-up

What worried me the most, was the mechanics of the system. I thus made a mock up with paper!

However, there definitely were areas to improve on – such as the hinges had to work smoothly enough, sufficient support had to be accorded to the trough.

I’ll continue to work on it this week!


On Continuity, Time, and Everything Else (FYP18)

Some Reflections on my project
It’s 2018; cue a quick recap on 2017’s highlights: I played about with different materials, tested out several light effects on bubbles, and did a couple of projection tryouts. However, ideation wise, I was admittedly was pretty much stuck, despite my set topic on grief/loss. It was tough to translate the ideas into an actual artwork, and I hit a roadblock before slowly, but surely, losing interest in the topic.

Come December 2017, where I took time off fyp, and expanded my perspectives through chatting with people of different backgrounds. I realised one very prominent theme, of continuity. Be it a person stuck in memories of the past, or someone stuck in ennui, time will continue passing and you will be forced to move on. Personally, it also tied in with my belief that only through hard work from yourself is the only way to get yourself out of this stuck situation. That as a person, one will continually have to push yourself, to continue moving.

In other words,

Screen capture from the movie [The Girl who Leapt Through Time]
Interestingly, I thought that even though we as humans are continuously moving, we do not internalise the present situation of the ‘being’, of the time that it currently passing by us. For the lack of a better word, I’d call this the ‘continuity of presence’ – somewhat similar to the continuity of time, I wish to emphasise on and focus more on ‘presence’. In which, one of the focal mediums by which this presence can be translated would be through time, and these will be the focused topics in my fyp project.

More on the continuity project

Mindmap of said topic

In part, it becomes a development from my previous topic of accepting loss – it’s moving on, and acknowledging the larger presence of the flow of time, or rather, the continuity of time in the larger sphere of things.

In particular, I wished to express this topic, and visualise into an seen experience.

I highlighted several factors of which were the most important for the given topic, and which I will clearly insert into my project.

Continuity of presence operates clearly on 3 different aspects:

  1. Imagined
  2. Independent
  3. Changing

Why imagined?
The flow of time remains a philosophical debate , where as creatures of the world, we come up with our own imagined concept of time to internalise the continuity we experience. It is arguably just an illusion, as our way of understanding this abstraction with our limited perception. According the article, the flow of time is such an conceptual entity that it is understood through the transition between the past, present, and future, whom we mark as individualised points.

Therefore, I’d like to push for the argument that this continuity of presence is an imagined concept.

Why independent?
It is independent of external events, and it can only go forth one way in a fixed trajectory. It goes forward in its own speed, at a rate of 1 second per second.

Why changing?
Say hi to the clique saying: change is the only constant in life.

With continuity, there is progression. Therefore, no matter how minimal, there will definitely be changes that are evident. Movement, or changes, can be shown through continual, evident changes or through highlighting the differences between the previous and present state of matter.

I end this section by the dictionary definition of continuous –

“Marked by uninterrupted extension in space, time or sequence”

These subthemes are what I aim to introduce into my project.

Artist References

Regarding the artist references, I looked at various artists who utilised light as a medium.

Why light? I felt that light (strobe, projection, led bulbs, led strips, neon lights) could be an interesting medium to build upon. Partially, this was because light has a fleeting ‘lightness’, which I thought was similar to the lightness as perceived by the inadequacy of words, speech or objects to quantify the continuity of time.

Olafur Eliasson’s Timeless Garden

According to Eliasson, he saw his works as vessels for experiencing reality, “creating new perceptions of the world” (https://www.modernamuseet.se/stockholm/en/exhibitions/olafur-eliasson/). At the same time, he proposes a dual-self awareness – of what we see, and also of ourselves in the midst of seeing.

It is a matter of becoming aware of what we see, but also of being aware of ourselves in the act of seeing. Or, as the artist puts it, “seeing yourself seeing”, of acknowledging our presence and our participation.

I find it particularly interesting that Eliasson’s approach was not through showing the continuous flow of water, but rather by utilising intelligently the strobe lights, he was able to show that there was changes, albeit frame by frame. By proving the opposite/outcome of change, he shows continuity within the flow of the bigger space.

Teamlab’s Black Wave

Though the teamlab’s concept behind this artwork was not focused on the continuity of time, but rather on generating a force of nature based on hard science and coding, I really liked how this artwork brought about a sense of calm and really allowed visitors to connect with nature, and possibly, reengage unknowingly with the passage of time, and presence of the man made waves.

Joao Costas’ and the wind was like the regret for what is no more

As an outcome of my previous artwork research, I decided to delve slightly deeper into how can one translate ideas into physical installations. One of which was Costas’ wind installations, where he altered the space, drawing attention to wind, and changing it into a sense (sound) which we could experience more knowingly.

Leo villareal’s Cylinder

On Villareal’s biography page, it reveals his inner thoughts and concepts behind his installations. Particularly, I liked how his works explored the physical and dimension of time, both in terms of spatial and temporal resolution. In fact, one might argue that his works and art collective team Nonotak operated on similar principles – the common usage of simple forms and lights to create a more complex structure.

Tokujin Yoshioka’s Lexus

Using optical fibres, Yoshioka created this mirage which I really liked based on my personal preference. As I had done a previous installation using strings, I found this particularly captivating and considered once whether to continue enriching my past string installation into something as large and monumental as Yoshioka’s work.

Ryoji Ikeda’s Test Pattern [100m Version]

Flow: as seen through black and white linear imagery, Ikeda renders data into images.

Perhaps, what I should consider is what aspect of time, space, or continuity which I want to alter into the visual scene?

Screens and Updates | #FYP

Project Update
The structure and overall outcome of the project is gradually getting finalised over this week, as I settle and roughly confirm how the set-up will be like: a reflective bubble surface, together with a 2D screen projection. Of course, this is only much simpler and truncated version of what my project – but I would have to first test the settings to see if it works.

The In-store Bubble Machine
I finally caved in and bought a bubble machine to investigate the structure of it! Which ended up being how I envisioned it to be. However, with the machine now, I was able to personalise the size of my bubbles, although, by using the machine’s old structure, the blowing speed of the machine was fixed and I was forced to make bubbles at a quick and fixed pace.

The machine was a powerful one which could produce numerous bubbles at high speed, as seen in the video below. The iridescent bubbles were the outcome of a better bubble solution, which came together with the machine as an add-on.

I proceeded to next dismantle the machine to see how the gears work. As I thought, it worked as how I suspected it to be: a fan and gears mechanism to rotate the bubble wand – together, there was continual rotation and movement to produce the bubbles. The bubble wand was continually rotated, being dipped in and out of the bubble solution. The fan at the back of the machine then blew the bubbles out manually.

Therefore as previously mentioned, I switched up and created my own bubble wand as I wanted a larger bubble surface area so as to do my projections on.

Bubble machine with self made wand

…which worked! I initially made a larger one but unfortunately I did not have a larger soap dish bowl and had to cut back in size.


Machines and Reflections in a Single Set-up


Initially, with my setup, I did want to try the above setup – the machine would generate bubbles, which would be projected upon and gain a reflected light surface, which bounces off the bubbles and would be reflected using mirrors into a projector screen/room wall/surface.

However, I admit that though it’s really doable, my setup was less than ideal.

Entire Setup: machine, wand, soap solution

Just to clarify, the boards in front of the bubble machine are placed intentionally to block the fan of the machine so that the bubble would remain ‘more static’ and allow for better reflective surface.

Only after doing video documentation did I realise that the reflective image.. was moving too much against what I had envisioned, and I thought that I had leeway to play with the bubble’s movement and use it as a compelling material for my project. In addition, I envisioned my reflection to be able to see more of the source image… no that did not happen.

Setup (revised)

Nevertheless, after discussion with prof Randall, perhaps I would move onwards to using the reflective image as source material and use digital manipulation to further the concept.

I am currently working on the sounds on the side, and will combine it with the visual footage for the final outcome. It is still a work in progress! If possible, I would like the sounds to match the visual footage (eg. one beat = visual footage changes accordingly).



The Bubble Wheel-wand | #FYP

(Backdated post for 27 Oct ’17)

Waterwheel and Bubbles
As I wrote earlier, I wanted to include the reflections off the bubbles into my installation. Since I wanted the reflections to come many at a time, I decided upon a circular repetitive mechanism, much like the spokes of the water wheel.


Supposedly, there will be a mechanised clockwork arm to repeatedly turn the bubble wand, and reflections would be created and reflected onto the surrounding space.

Bubble wand with multiple-sized bubble wands

I tried making wands of different sizes uses pipe cleaners, to play around with the reflected outcome. However, I clearly did not think it through properly; the largest wand couldn’t sit properly into the soapy trough.

Clearly, most if not all of my ‘prototypes’ or experiments did not work out well at all. As such, I went to purchase a proper bubble machine from the stock racks. We’ll see how it goes in future post updates.


Sooo… I was considering how to move on. I constantly toyed with the idea of making projected bubbles, very much like this – but soon hit a revelation: while yes its perfect, that the outcome really embodies what I truly want, I would like to investigate another more appealing aspect of the bubble medium: reflections.

From the start of my experimentation stage till now, I have been fascinated with bubble’s reflections; the multi-coloured hues swirling in circles, glistening and changing colours at whim: it was utterly beautiful. The week before, Prof Randall actually showed that the reflective surface could actually be used as a projection surface, though, in a different way as seen in the video itself.

Prof Randall highlighted that viewing the reflection on the bubble itself might be hard, and that I could utilise another projector to enlarge the initial projected surface (such that the final look can be seen on say, a projector screen). To this, I felt pretty unsure about as I did not want my final installation to look 2D (aka like watching a television show), and that the interaction did feel slightly disconnected from the outcome.

I knew what I wanted, I wanted the reflected image to be tangible. Something you could actually see it in 3D rather than a flat surface. Perhaps, one could see it via the physical object which creates the final outcome, or the may the outcome be more ‘real’ (for the lack of a better word).

What I do want though, is for the bubble surface to no longer be a sphere, but a ‘wall’ of bubble. This would allow for a greater area of projection and logistically speaking, makes it way easier to control than a spherical bubble which bursts more easily.

Thus, I went to do a quick search of the different kinds of bubble ways, and stumbled upon a few interesting ones:

Ontario Science Centre, Bubbles making up a Face

This photo of Ontario Science Centre is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Kentucky Science Centre

This photo of Kentucky Science Center is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The medium of bubbles is an interesting one, it has both a scientific basis, and can even be used as a part of a performance, as seen by bubble artist Fan Yang.

Envisioned Installation

I did mention that I wanted a wall of bubbles, but for now, I am going to start by making little round wands, tied by strings to the ceiling and lowered down at chest-level . The rationale behind this height was for visitors to be able to actually blow and play about with the bubbles. In the future, I would like to change the opening shape of the bubble wand but for now I will stick with this to experiment first.

Bubble wand

As you can see, there’s a tray of soapy water. It is intended so for the user to be able to lower the entire assortment of wands into the soapy water by the use of a manual hand lever/pulley system. I want to be able to automate this system with time to come, but would need to consider how so, and the duration/trigger to lower the entire wand set.

I would like a projector to beam light onto the wands, and highlighting the bubbly reflection surface. Hopefully, there would also be reflections of the bubbles onto the surroundings, which would also vary based on the vibration of the bubbles.

As for the sounds, I wish for the sounds to be edited real-time – hopefully, the bubbles’ vibration speed/actions can be translated into sounds for the installation itself.

This would suffice for now, as I attempt to create my prototype on it (to be continued in the next post).