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: