ArtScience Musuem Reflections

It was truly an eye-opener to see interactive works in real life, and to connect the examples that have been shown in classes to the works experienced in teamlab’s exhibition. The works were all very engaging – user-friendly, family-friendly, with the strong use and integral usage of media in the works. The exhibition items also strongly included some elements of gameplay, a compelling way to induce interactivity, especially so when the museum was geared towards families and the general public.


The Creation of Space

All artworks utilised lights, and sounds as a medium for narration. The use of stunning visuals, especially in the exhibition Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together – A Whole Year per Hour was particularly strong, and truly brought the space to life. The reliance on space, and visuals, and the accompanying background sound, highly engaged sight, sound, and temporality of users. While the interactivity was slow, and not obvious if one does not take a closer look (in terms of how fast the flowers wither upon touch), in this instance, content (of the flowers, nature) tied it with the narrative seamlessly, and it was a pleasant experience as a user.


Visualising Computer Data

In many interactive media art pieces, I realised that visualising computer data is commonly utilised. Teamlab’s exhibit Universe of Water Particles, portrays a classic example where computer graphics was used to create a visually appealing artwork, though it has a lower amount of interactivity in comparison with the other artworks in the permanent exhibit.
The juxtaposition of nature and the unnatural (ie. computerised work) is clearly seen in this work. Part of the natural landscape, a waterfall is rendered using computer graphics. It puts out the question that whether nature is no longer what it seems, and whether our natural landscape has been gradually overtaken, and deemed replaceable by artificial data. The strife between nature and the unnatural will always be present, and at times, in interactive media works, artists try to input realistic items from our real surroundings into the works, possibly edging into this debatable topic.

The Garden of the Forking Paths Reflection

The Garden of Forking Paths is an interesting read that despite its subject matter, follows a linear narration. In the novel, Ts’ui Pen alleges that time is relative; and that at any one point of time, or period, there is an infinite series of possibilities, and that these different possibilities are all interlinked, “diverging, converging and parallel times”. He states that time exists like a web, and that at any one moment, every possibility of action is possible. His proposed theory remains abstract, yet it proves to show how the unpredictability of man, coupled with the curious linearity or non-linearity of time interplays.

Within the text itself, the motif of time frequently announced through Richard Madden’s hot pursuit of the author, holds a central place in the text. Time is very much regulated by the author, through his tedious note-taking. Similar to the text itself, the use of the word ‘time’ is rare, except in the later half of the text where Albert explains. The main story follows an overall linearity – the author escapes from Richard Madden, who follows on hot pursuit. Then, he finds Albert and discusses the novel with him, and kills him later when Richard Madden catches up with him. However, in this content, there are many different ‘paths’ of possibilities by different playing characters, and it can be almost seen as a game.

For instance, Richard Madden could have chosen not to catch the author, or could have formulated a different method rather than pursuing him ala cat and mouse style. Or, Albert could have chosen not to discuss the novel with the author, if he had sensed the author’s murderous intent. Also, if the author had not made a conscious plan to murder Albert afterwards, Richard Madden might not have arrested him. In all scenarios, there is always an option, and the availability of this option creates a symbolic labyrinth, with some choices actively available and conspicuously absent to the user at the same time. Thus, it can be argued that time, like these various possibilities, does not follow a linearity, but rather, its interweaving and connectivity, to some extent, gives space for a conceptual space to be formalised.
Lastly, the text can be said to be an interactive generative style. Interactivity comes through the choices of options, and possibilities, or routes are then generated. It is in this unique sense of how it is generated that goes against what we have been termed to recognised, a linear sense of progression where the narrative is somewhat fixed. Without a fixed route, the option of choices might even bring you back to the past, hence the text can have a linear style and a non-linear style concurrently.

Gone Home Reflections

Gone Home is a first person adventure style exploration game, that utilises the new media to focus on a strong narrative plot. A divergence from traditional video games despite the story being set in the 1990s, Gone Home remains very much at home with its new media platform, a distinctive crossbreed that utilises the best characteristic of its precedents as part of its narrativity, and interactivity.


The reader as an active and passive participant.

The reader in Gone Home takes on numerous roles. The viewer, reader, and participant: he participates, he is able to make choices on the paths he takes, but ultimately the guided voice narration of Sam’s journal helps to shape the entire experience. Subjective to his sequence of choices, the player can create his own version of narration. His participant is important, yet he remains a passive user, unable to change the gist of the whole story. It is in this interactivity however, that draws the player closer to the Sam’s story and guides the revealing of this story to conform to his likes and wants. There are multiple storylines, Sam getting to know Leona, or going to camp etc, clearly interlinked in this seemingly linear form of narrative – but ultimately, these multiple stories add layers of emotions to Sam and Kaitlin. Indeed, it helped to make the story more satisfying (on the emotional level) and engaging to me as a player.


Realism in Gone Home

Characteristic of the sophisticated graphics system of today, Gone Home employs a good amount of realism, to the extent of being photo-realistic in its works that helped to draw the players closer to the realistic possibility of the narration, and at the same time makes the story much more engaging. One interesting characteristic feature of the surrounding, clickable objects is that while it attempts to draw itself closer to the players, at the same time, the limitation of the narrative (that it is one-sided, and the ability of the player to feedback to it further beyond the given, voiced narrative almost nil) treads a thin line in terms of narrativity. However, the multitude and huge amount of information helps to negate this feature, whereby the player has to weed out the given information and indirectly feedback to the narrative itself.


Through fostering of active participation, while utilising realism in the visual narrative, Gone Home seemingly follows a linear narration, yet a certain fragmentation of narratives via the sequence of choices differs it from the traditional video game. It is a breakthrough against traditional video games, yet remains the medium of a traditional story, with some semblance of realism.

Project Proposal 2: Reveal

Chat Roulette

Inspiration was drawn from chat roulette, an online site where users can chat with others anonymously, and at random. The most rudimentary method of communication, was through speech – hence, I thought of going back to the basics for this narration project.


The medium of choice remains an online website, where two users, at any one time, is able to log into the site. Their identity will remain anonymous, until they decide to reveal it. In summary, the website will adopt a common online ‘messaging’ interface.


There will be 2 boxes, where each user (who do not know each other) write into the box.


Each user will occupy each ‘station’.


Above the text boxes, there will be a camera input (from live webcam from each user).


Edit: later, after writing this post, I decided to change my layout to that of the above, cutting down on ‘items’ which I have no need for.

The gist of this project is for each user to try and reveal the others. Initially, each webcam will be fully obscured. Over time, little ‘pixels’ to be revealed from each webcam at random. Such that majority of the webcam input remains hidden, increasing the tantalising factor. Users will be able to communicate with each other via the chat boxes, and they are free to take on another persona, or hide their true identity from the other.

Ultimately, what I want users to take away from the project is to play around with the cloak of anonymity, and make some mischief, or have had some fun playing around with it.


I am still exploring the idea, that perhaps, each user can force the other user to reveal more of what is shown in their webcam (via a toggle button), to increase the interactive factor.

Edit: Upon further discussion with my fellow classmates, perhaps moving the project in the direction of a game would give the game an enticing edge.

Further improvements to ponder on:

  • a timer to goad each users to quickly find out the identity of the other
  • a ‘puzzle’ like format, eg 3 x 3, where each block will be revealed periodically


Update: Ultimately, while I did not work on my own idea for my final project, it remains something I might want to work on in the future, and will shelf it for now.

In-class Assignment: Narratives Structure

Analyse an interactive narrative using a narrative layout/structure (eg. Monomyth a Hero’s Journey)

Plot Diagram: Graphic Novel for Hybrid Peugeot


In brief, this interactive narrative comprises of a graphic novel, where users are able to scroll through the different scenes at their own pace. The narrative consists of a female spy, who undertakes great risk in fulfilling her mission. The website was part as part of an advertorial campaign for a Peugeot car, whose technical merits are humanized in the form of the female spy.



The scene opens with a female, dressed seductively, the typical image of a female spy. She is in a dark room, when a troop of office workers burst into the room – she’s busted! Tension and excitement is build up by the viewers – who was she?

Graphic Novel

The female then runs away with her might – a conflict. More tension is built up. This is heightened by the conditions by which she runs away – crashing through the window, through a thorny patch of weeds, away from a pack of dogs, and even finally leaping onto a moving car.



She is trapped! A gunmen is hot on her heels – taking aim and shooting at her, but luckily (or not), he misses. There is rising action in this particular scene – assisted by graphics which featured a moving shot comprised of various still images, breaking the monotony of stills.


Finally, with a few more (exciting) leaps, she makes her escape into a building, and walks in confidently. Here, it signals the end to the audience, which was acknowledged in a text she sends – “Mission Accomplished”.

Graphic Novel 2

The narration ends with a shot of her backview, and her in a bedroom scene with her handsome beau lying in wait for her, for more ‘action’.


Another interesting website chanced on in my research:

Project Proposal 1: Who’s using your phone in the toilet?!

The formulation of this idea was based on my previous idea, the brushing of teeth, and influenced by iknowwhereyourcatlives. In my previous idea, I wanted to touch on the weariness brought about by repetition, and pull in an element of fun into this boring activity. However, I decided to focus on a different activity with a longer duration instead, which many do but most are shy (or not) to admit. Thus, I changed my idea to the usage of phones when one is sitting on the toilet, while answering’s nature’s call.

According to a survey commissioned by Kleenex, 3 in 4 Singaporeans use mobile phones in the toilet. Phones are then used to play games, watch videos, or even answer calls. However, bringing your phone into the bathroom, an unsanitary location, could risk bacteria and germ contamination. Of which, only an estimated 2 per cent sanitise their phones after doing the deed.

In Singapore, as part of a shyer Asian culture, where toilet talk is generally avoided, it would be interesting to bring this lesser-discussed topic to the surface. After all, revealing ‘secrets’ is a very exciting thing. I would like to utilise the world wide web as a medium for my idea.



Data is first extracted from twitter live streams for discourse analysis. Users who upload both hashtags (#phone, #toilet), or include in their twitter updates the phrase “toilet” and ‘phones” will pinpointed. Next, these statistics are compiled, and displayed visually as per below:



Each time a user uses the key words, a single dot will appear on the website screen. There is a timestamp at the bottom: hence, we can visually pick out which timings are users (who update twitter) most often on the toilet. Using mouseclick, the website user can interact with the dots on the website, which can be dragged around the screen. The website user is able to manually manipulate the data on the site.


Areas where more dots coagulate, the background will turn towards a redder shade.


In order to view other timeframes, users can point their mouse right/leftwards, and scroll to other timelines.


Proposing Topics | Eric Zimmerman: Four Concepts / Assignment 1

Reading: Narrative, Interactivity, Play and Games: Four naughty concepts in need of discipline, by Eric Zimmerman

It was a piece of writing that was not meant to be rushed through in a single read. In fact, I had to write out some notes, and categorise the information to better understand it:

Eric Zimmerman Reading Summary

Overall, it was a pretty interesting piece that summarised and clarified succinctly my initial impression of the four concepts.


Assignment: think about 2 topics which you find interesting and that potentially can be turned into interactive narratives, think about what type of interaction would be important for these topics (based on the reading’s definitions), post the ideas on OSS

Topic 1: Astrology

Regarding the astrology, focusing on the meta-interactivity and functional interactivity would be interesting. The zodiacs, an ancient science, which has both believers and non-believers, and I would like to explore this metaphysical construct of divinity based on astrology. To personify this topic, would be ideal in giving audiences a physical realization and better relation to the topic, inclusively targeting non-believers. This encompasses functional interaction, where perhaps, a change in astronomical signs could change the weather. Explicit interaction would be ideal, where the change in circumstances influence the person’s choices, interspersing with functional interaction.

Topic 2: the daily rituals of life: washing up & brushing teeth

I choose this idea as I wanted to explore a common, Everyday activity, and impose a greater narration into it. I wanted to stretch the boundaries of an action so simple and thoughtless, and test the boundaries of narration. For this topic, it was a discipline that adhered closer to stories than game – a narration that is patterned and repetitive – the action of first grabbing the toothbrush, followed by the steady squeeze of toothpaste on the bristles, culminating in a brushing action of the teeth. It would be interesting to explore a functional interaction, where perhaps, the audience uses his entire body to control the movement (sensed by sensors), by which requires precise & accurate movements. The rule of even a centimetre off would invalidate the movement. Cognitive and explicit interaction could be integrated, where the user makes conscious decisions of the movement, and recalls the actions (which may be scrambled up) in playing the game. However, at this stage, I still feel a sense of dissatisfaction as mentioned by Zimmerman, with my use of the mediums available, and will continue exploring more beyond what I have at present.

However, comments given upon consultation with the professor reflected:

*focus on narrative, rather than the physical output

*might have problems with interface so be sure to edit the end product

*astrology as a topic is interesting, but has been widely used

*physical product is possible too

Thus, more effort would need to be put in to further push and develop the ideas.