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).
Otherwise, as seen in the above rough sketch, I would be placing:
1. x 2 projections
2. x 1 moss machine
3. Phamplets, memorabilia
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 ?
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
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
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.
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.
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)!
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.
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.
Recapping last week’s episode, I have to combine all the distinct elements into one set installation – as till now I still can’t envision the final outcome. Basically, I tried to combine performance actions with the visuals background in OBS to build up a mockup. But I wonder if blatant combination would be really what I want? The best thing to do is to just work on it and figure how it goes on the side.
Understand that sounds are very important, but I am still sourcing for appropriate sounds and have recorded a few but have not started editing them. But at the same time, I am wondering if sounds are really needed in this installation which I am considering of using the physical objects to generate on-site sound rather than a prerecording.
Nawa actualised one of the sketches I had in mind, particularly in my foam tryout last week. However, his premise for the installation slightly deferred from mine – through this installation, Nawa investigates the cycle of birth and destruction, whereas mine focuses only on destruction.
Small bubbles (cells) continue to form on the surface of a gently lapsing liquid. They accumulate to form an autonomous structure comprised of foam. Each bubble cannot escape the cycle of birth and destruction, which is not unlike the way our cells operate as they metabolize and circulate. Source: dezeen.com
Locally, Medalla’s Cloud Canyons No. 24 installed at National Gallery Singapore requires maintanence in the form of topping up the detergent and water before restarting the installation every five days.Sulaiman’s team had to find a brand of detergent that is odourless, water-based and which emits low levels of volatile organic compounds so as not to affect other artworks. Six different brands were tested – each for a week at a time.
A Quick Recap
As the title suggests, this update consists of further refinement of the project idea.
Just a recap; I will be doing a project based on the memory of death. The event of death itself is not an end result itself but rather, it kickstarts a series of sequences. In terms of a physical death, the sequences include the pooling of blood to the area of largest gravity, dropping of body temperature etc just to name a few.
I split the process of death into 3 different sections: the Before (~the death), During ~, and After ~. With regards to my own personal memory of my bun, it is as such:
Before – Of choosing the option of death, of enabling it to happen, the signs that lead to it (momento mori)
✓ During – The act of letting go After – Realising the enormity of the decision and feeling the pain more
I will focus on the During, partly because it has shocked me the most, and is the most impactful of that particular memory of his death.
By clinically examining this particular memory, I wish to indirectly commemorate my bun, by paying tribute to his last moments and also as a form of closure for myself.
The project will take on my viewpoint of the death process, based on my personal experience and what I saw of it.
I tried narrowing down the specific feelings/themes I had during the death, and throwing out certain keywords which might be beneficial in helping me frame my project:
Possible mediums: glass, acrylic, paper, cloth, powder, string
*I would prefer the medium to be ‘organic’ and of physical material
Of my Brush with Death Mentally, my emotions when it happened (During) were as such:
– fear (of what was happening)
– disbelief (of how this could ever happen)
– uncertainty (whether it was the right decision)
– resolution (my brain was convincing my heart that this was the right decision to make)
– shock (I was mentally tired and really could think no longer then)
At the same time, I actually felt a sense of wonder over how fragile life was and how easy death actually turned out to be. More keywords to frame the project:
– soothingly eerie
I was both wowed, but also traumatised by the experience.
And so, back to the project details!
Honestly, I am still pretty stuck over how to formalise the whole setup structure, but meanwhile will continue experimenting and conceptualising it.
Structure of the Project
Somehow, I became fixated on the medium of black bubbles, on the basis that bubbles are fragile (much like lives), and they ultimately burst, but are destroyed so prettily.
Experimenting with Bubbles
I wanted to create black bubbles – black to imbue the feeling of mystery, and for it to surround each visitor to their waist level. Such that the bubbles veils each person, leaving them uncomfortable, and ultimately bursts to leave a mark. Much like how death will ultimately come to each person, the bubbles as a metaphor of death is a constant reminder of it.
Ultimately, I hoped for the bubbles to be slightly hardier (more unb
I tried to visualise my own installation, and tested it out by creating a dummy mockup in paper.
I tried replicating two of the most structures which I was most interested in creating.
Experiment 1: The plan was to fill the entire space with bubbles, but it turned out different from expected.
Firstly, I forgot to layer the exteriors with a thin film of soapy water thus the bubbles were not able to stick. The bubbles were also too fragile – but after all I did not specifically alter them to be more hardy.
Effects-wise, it wasn’t to my expectations. In addition, the medium of bubbles was somewhat tough to control, and not an ideal medium to use.
The 2nd experiment’s outcome was more similar to what I had in mind. I particularly liked how the black stains were imprinted onto the human figure, as though it ‘leaves a stain’. Despite that, it made me realise how troublesome this medium is, and should visitors ultimately come for the installation, they might actively avoid it instead.
Perhaps there exists another medium, with similar physical qualities to black bubbles but less messy? I was considering using cloth, and will continue to consider it the following weeks.
Overall, I’m glad that I experimented with the bubble medium… though it didn’t particularly work out, I wish to continue working with and explore different physical medium for the project.
Performance? Prof Randall suggested that I investigate performative in the project, after I discussed with him an earlier budding idea (not recorded down on OSS) involving audience interaction.
Performance might be ideal in cases where audience interaction is hard to achieve, or if the artist has an intended narrative to build up.
As such, I video taped a few performative actions that might contribute to my overarching theme. However, it is still not yet integrated with the how-do of my project.
Or, here’s a fast-forwarded version of the above video (lacking action #7):
A short description of the actions are to follow.
#1 – Breaking Down (0:00 – 0:45 min)
What follows death is always decay, aka the breaking down of objects. Here, I break myself physically down, with staggering and exaggerated movements in opposition to the natural decay of bodies.
#2 – Clapping to alert (0.47 – 1.39 min)
A gesture attempting to materialise the memory, by redirecting energy spent on thinking of the memory, and translating it into sound. At the same time, attempts to alert others of the death is ongoing, as though through recognition would it become more real.
#3 – Powder Fiesta (1.39 – 2.48 min)
I am marked; for I have tainted myself. With this memory, I willingly chose death as a route for my bun, and with that, I am going to bear this guilt forever, willingly.
#4 – No Face (2.48 – 4.14)
I am ashamed to face, both my fears and all memories related to the death. I do not want to face the truth, nor recognise that it is the truth.
#5 – Slow Hello (4.14 – 4.55)
My actions have been dulled, just like how the sense of time has been altered for me relative to the neighbouring grasp of time.
#6 – Embracing the Inner Self (4.55 – 5.44)
I find peace with myself, but remain unwilling to bare my emotions to others (hence back is turned against camera). At the same time, I become more and more enthusiastic down this route of self exploration.
#6 – Reach for the Stars (5.44 – 6.17)
In a childish play attempt, I attempt to reach the goal (the aircon) within the camera screen. No matter how happy I might be, this treasured bad memory will always be a part of me.
The pertinent issue is to come up with a game plan for the final project rough guide as soon as possible.. of which I am still exploring.
The Physical Body Why not show it as it is, literally? I had my ideas, thoughts and possible pathways to explore – problem was translating the ideas onto the physical body, whatever it was. But after seeing Hiromi Tango’s Lizard Tail and Amanda Parer’s Intrude, both of which literally translated ideas into physical form, I thought that perhaps, I wanted to try it.
Lizard Tail (Breaking Cycle) by Hiromi Tango
In the artwork, Tango investigates the idea of the lizard’s ability to drop their tails, and how we similarly do it with difficult memories and emotions. The lizard’s tail becomes a symbol for Tango – to nurture, protect and regenerate.
At the same time, she transforms her feelings into the object itself: as she weaves, she considers, and untangles the emotional knots she has.
“I accept that some creature is visiting me, and together we wrap our memory, emotions and trauma. It is quite an aggressive energy and I don’t want to reveal it to others. Other times, a tender energy visits me, and with it, I carefully examine the emotional threads and weave them together. The process is quite simple, but I need to stay focused to see the invisible threads in order to untangle them without feeling overwhelmed.” – Hiromi Tango (2017).
Intrude by Amanda Parer
The usage of rabbits here contains a slight contradictory message – cute they might look, rabbits are actually considered pests where Parer hails from in Australia. However, Parer attempts to use the cutesy image to entice people to notice the underlying environmental message it (rabbits) brings.
Referencing the ‘elephants in the room’, the large bunnies force us to confront the issue headfirst.
Thus, I thought to look at rabbit-related phrases, and came up with a few:
Horse and rabbit stew – referring to unpleasant things being of a larger proportion to beneficial things
Go down the rabbit hole – a situation that is strange, problematic, and becomes increasingly chaotic
✓ Rabbit’s foot – a good luck charm
Of these, I was the most interested in the rabbit’s foot and subsequently did more reading up on it.
Rabbit’s Foot History Some history on the foot: considered a good luck charm, the rabbit’s foot has a macabre history behind it. According to an article by Kim Nagy for Webvet, the belief hails from animism which bestows objects with spiritual powers. Obtaining part of the animal would give the holder some of its strengths, such as improved fertility or swiftness in the face of danger.
One interesting point to note that the luckier the rabbit’s foot was to be, the elements involving how it was killed had to be more inauspicious than ever. Firstly, it must be a real rabbit’s left hind foot, the luckiest feet originating from rabbits who are killed or caught in a cemetery. After which, various superstition exists on how to get the luckiest feet – the rabbit must be caught during a new or full moon, or on Friday the 13th. The foot should be cut off the rabbit while its alive, or it be caught by a cross-eyed person.
Folklorist Bill Ellis quotes an earlier advertisement selling the foot, exemplifying this,
“…the left hind foot of a rabbit killed in a country churchyard at midnight, during the dark of the moon, on Friday the 13th of the month, by a cross-eyed, left handed, red-headed, bow-legged Negro riding a white horse.”.
I love how the ironic this is: that by capturing the rabbit through the unluckiest ways, we aim to get good fortune from it.
The Modern-day Rabbit Foot
Based on wisegeek.com’s article, real rabbits’ foot keychains are still easily available on the internet, tourist shops or casino vending machine. However, in my experience, I have not seen an actual rabbit foot being sold, but a furry alternative remains in fashion stores.
This is the closest keychain I can see inspired by the rabbit’s foot, however it should be noted that these keychains are only for aesthetic purposes, and have no such superstitious value (to my knowledge).
The Rabbit’s Foot and…. FYP?
I did some rough sketches, but somehow feel a lack of direction to go about it. These sketches were mostly for installations, something I think I foresee myself doing. However, the sketches mostly replicated artworks which I’ve seen before, and am unable to express the message I would like to bring across.. all I knew was that I wanted to make something physical. Perhaps I was relying too much on the rabbit metaphor?
After talking to Prof Randall, we thought that it might be better to extract the themes of my bunny, and work with it. With themes, it was easier to both narrow down and explore the concept more accurately.
Key Ideas and Topics
Loss, grief, memory, and fear
Grief One famous method to categorise grief would be Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle (aka 5 stages of grief) from her 1969 book On Death and Dying.
Without delving too deeply into the cycle, I found my own experience not fully ascribing to the cycle, and sprung onto a new situation. I was in denial yes, but at the same time, I too felt helplessness, was bargaining with myself, frustrated at making the wrong decisions, and in shock. I was everything. It was as though my grief was an emotional replacement for my bun, evident that everything has happened and was not just a figment of my imagination.
Taryn Simon’s An Occupation of Loss tackles grief through acceptance, and she investigates how the living uses rituals and monuments to deal with loss. In her work, performers stay inside large concrete cylinders and grief, forming a cacophony. In a way, she accepts the grief, and moves on, but acknowledges it. I find this aspect very enthralling, or giving sufficient space to this whole new process of grief.
Loss Definitely, the loss was startling – how can one quickly adapt to a change in routine, a loss of something important in your life? After all, humans thrive on routine. Grief results from this loss.
While I do understand that the process of my bun leaving is centred on grief and loss, I am more interested in exploring the concept of memory. Memory of my last moment together with him, the previous time spent with him… It feels distant, as though it has never happened before. Rather than focusing on loss/grief, I want to make sure that his PRESENCE is still there.
Perhaps, that will be what I will focus on.
Photographer Jennifer Loeber created a project ‘Left Behind‘, which matches objects her late mother left behind to photographs her father took. In her artist statement, she stated that it was a ‘confrontation’ to her tragedy, and it directly connects the otherwise ordinary objects to the beautiful memorial of her mother.
I like the confrontation, and rediscovered poetic memory of her mother. She acknowledges, and addresses it properly, rather than shy away or disregard it.
(Random update: I didn’t realise that I did see this painting before in real life a year ago and even snapped a picture of it!)
According to Tate, momento morirefers to an artwork ‘designed to remind the viewer of their mortality and of the shortness and fragility of human life’. Translated from latin, it means ‘remember you must die’.
The momento mori and a similar genre vanitas picture became popular in the 17th century, at a time where the majority believed that life on Earth was merely a preparation for the afterlife. In these artworks, symbols of mortality, both directly and indirectly referring to it, are included. In the momento mori, common symbols include skulls, hour glasses, clocks and dying fruits or flowers, whereas the vanitas portrays musical instruments, wines and books, reminding us of the vanity in world pursuits.
Both genres remain a candid reflection of life and death, and a reminder of passing time. It does not trivialise death, but rather prepares one towards it as a final end goal. It is just what it is. It is not positioned as something to avoid, but something we accept.
These genres continue to be explored by artists today.
Life and Death in Art
I particularly liked Beth Lipman‘s One and Others, where she arranges a still life of glass and flowers – items commonly used as tribute for the death – at the top of a coffin which has been customised to fit her.
The clever use of glass, a medium she is quoted saying
“Glass has a perpetuity, or immortality to it. Even though glass is fragile, it mimics the life cycle. It has a duality to it. It’s fragile and perishable, but also perpetual.”
both pushes and reminds one of death. Lipman becomes the symbol of death itself, and imbues herself with the artwork.
Momento Mori and my fyp
Facing death directly. Being candid and acknowledging it. Instead of death being a poetic end at the end of one’s life cycle, I want to make a varied version of the momento mori, one which extrudes and glorifies that memory of death (not before it happens).
After feedback from Prof Randall that perhaps I could concentrate on the concept-building for now, I decided to do so. Without a clear and strong foundation in the conceptual phrase, it might hinder progress.
As FYP’s duration lasts almost a year, it was important to find a project that I am willing to stick with and spoke to me on a personal level. Hence, I charted out topics and areas that I was interested in exploring first.
My Art Preferences
Several topics that I am interested in/want to include in my project:
✓ Repetitive visuals ✓ Playfulness
✓ Surreal, immersive
✓ Change in perception and understanding of object through differing viewpoints
☓ Projection-only visuals (dislike the simple sensor-feedback loop)
☓ Light ‘sculptures’
☓ Lack of meaningful interaction
I compared 2 installations which I visited personally, and tried to weed out ideas which I liked/disliked to better understand my own preferences.
Lee Yun Qin’s Moonflower and Ran Hwang’s Becoming Again; Coming Together
Both Hwang and Lee’s installations were instagram-friendly, and limited in interaction. However, my appreciation greatly varied amongst both works: while I really loved Hwang’s installation, I felt that Lee’s Moonflower was muted, and limited in visual appreciation and engagement value. It also felt more static – perhaps due to the fixated nature of the project, rather than Hwang’s, being more attractive as it relied on other mediums such as projections, sound and assorted visuals.
In addition, I felt that Hwang’s installation had a strong overarching theme over it, in terms of the subject matter and theme. It later contributed to how I appreciated the work, and created meaning about it for myself. Thus, I knew that I did not want to rely on a purely visuals ‘show’ for my own project.
Visualising my Interests
In summary, I thought that this concept was really important and clearly what I want to include in the work:
Basically, I wanted something familiar, yet unusual enough to capture attention, It would give off an eerie level of familiarity. The work will not be too rich in meaning, but enough to provoke thoughts. At the same time, I was reminded very strongly of memory, that ‘what you see is not what it is, but rather a memory of how you want to interpret it, or how you expect it to be’. There is a gap between reality and perception. This is one aspect that I hope to imbue into my project.
The Chimera was, according to Greek mythology, a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of more than one animal. – Wikipedia
I thought of the chimera, which was a good character to describe how I see myself and my artwork. As someone who studied science in my pre-tertiary school, later went on to work myriads of part-time job and joined different club activities, I saw myself as a Jack of all trades. Similarly, the chimera, a fearful juxtaposition of different animals, was also a hybrid like me.
My project will after all, be a reflection of who I am both as a person and as an artist. As such, I want to be able to extrude and magnify this quality within my artwork, perhaps of it having different facades to it.
Medium-wise I’m still a little hesitant in going past the installation format. Of course, I’m still open to any format, but find it hard to present my idea in another way for now. Several ideas I had include placing the artworks into photoframe and create a gallery-esque booth, else creating a gallery ‘haunted house’ version. I also did think of creating a chimera machine-sculpture lookalike but did not like the idea of a contained person.
With reference to the above picture on the right, the thicker lines suggest greater desire to work with the linked object. With FYP being the final and grandest art project I have ever attempted in my life, I want to be able to end it on an ambiguous note – creating hope (through thoughtful questions), yet not finalising on its outcome. Perhaps I would create grander works after this, or perhaps not. The future is unknown.
The project will focus on fostering an experience within a space, instead of the interaction at this point of time. Ultimately, I would still want to include some degree of interaction but will focus on creating the experience first.
With regards to the artistic direction, it will remain minimalist, stripped down to the ‘element’. The project’s light projection will now project planes of light parallel to a human body.
Above: a small snippet of the visualised light projection; the light rays will form walls which are solid, yet the walls ‘curve’ around the viewers like a maze. Repetition of the light waves will be conducted throughout the entire space, to create a visual depth.
The light projections will now include coloured lights, to further push across a visual depth. (Under consideration: allow viewers to toggle with colour filters and change the colours).
After more research, the project will reference the following artists to better reflect its ideal:
James Turrell, Breathing Light (2013)
Turrell’s Breathing Light effectively creates an atmospheric space with an even lighting to promote a surreal, out of the world experience. Similarly, the intention for the project is to achieve a similar atmospheric condition, of creating an entirely different, immersive, contained experience.
Despite similarities in medium, my project would instead integrate additional dimensions, whereby the possibilities for variation of lighting schemes are maintained. Despite that, it would be good to examine the visitor’s reactions and use it as basis to predict how the audience would react for my project.
Parallels by NONOTAK (2015) and White Canvas by Cocolab (2016)
Both Parallels and White Canvas present more suitably the idea and outcome the project wishes to achieve, albeit with differences. The idea of repetitive forms hailed from White Canvas, but I wish to further simplify the light forms hence the usage of planes. At the same time, I feel that the usage of projected light planes can further increase the ‘wholeness’ and the large scale of the project.
As per the previous update, I would like to harness projectors onto the roof tentage of the truss room, and the projection will hail downwards.
The smoke machine still remains, as it contributes to better visuals of the light rays.
I am still exploring related concepts but have shortlisted several ideas that might relate to the project: the black hole (in space), stormy weather, haze.
– Would have to test out the lighting to determine the outcome of the lights
– Of not having visitors stay beyond a short period to experience the project (trying to further interactivity in the later half)
– Would prefer to integrate more analog elements within the artwork, instead of pure projections
Overview Walking on air (woa) is an interactive installation that allows visitors to trace their own paths in a smoke-filled environment, and experience being above the clouds.
Concept: Creating an otherworldly experience, an experimental space where the body becomes the instrument. Individual bodies are disregarded, and instead become part of the bigger picture.
Logistics: Smoke generating machine, strong light projector, video camera, all situated within a contained room (tentatively truss room)
Functionality: In woa, a smoke generator will create a foggy atmosphere in the room, and the projector will continually project a wavy line into the smoke at a height slightly above the calf. When light is projected into smoke, a smokey, surreal form independent to the initial wavy line is created. This creates the illusion of clouds forming, and walking above or on clouds. When there is movement, a motion camera tracks the movement and a light trail formed by the movement (eg walking) is immediately projected at the location where movement is detected. Where movement overlaps or take longer to move, the light trail becomes brighter. Over time, the light trail will dissipate (with the dissipating effect) and fade away, resuming the original sight
There will also be an accompanying soundtrack to the installation. When the new light trail is created, a musical note is played, extending for the entire duration of which the light trail exists. When the light trail fades, the volume of the accompanying note will also fade away, proportionate to the brightness level of the light trail. Each light trail will generate a musical note in a randomised pitch; it is hoped that the different walking styles of people would generate a pleasant harmony.
Colour for the light beam would be restricted to only white, to reduce visual distraction and to preserve an ethereal feel. Music notes would similarly adopt a
Technicalities: MaxMsp would be used for motion tracking, and also as a sound synthesiser.
Aim: For woa, I wish to achieve an ethereal feel bordering on minimalism, and going back to the basic, rudimentary elements. The visuals and surroundings are kept sparse, and available elements kept strictly little. However, I want to imbue a slight element of play, to make interaction engaging and open to all age groups. It is hoped that visitors leave the installation entranced, as though they had just visited an alternate world. At the same time, a slight element of bodily displacement would be created, with the visitor, having an extremely wide movement range but without a set moving path within this changing, unfamiliar environment.
Inspired by Anthony McCall’s You and I, Horizontal, ideally, my installation would also bring across a simple sensation using the most basic instruments.
Interaction: Walking, running in the path of the light, backtracking, circulating
1.You and I, Horizontal II (Anthony McCall)
The usage of the smoke and light beams originated from this work. However, I would like to push it further and make it more interactive with accompanying sounds.
2.On space time foam by Tomàs Saraceno
I would like woa to adopt a similar premise – immersive, playful, yet simple. Perhaps I could analyse the movements and behaviour of visitors who took part in the installation and predict how they would behave in mine.
3.El Claustro by Penique Productions
Penique productions changes the space by blowing up a balloon and wrapping all the items in the surroundings with rubber. Here, they have changed the space visually.
I utilised jit.wake, to create the varied glitchy effect, and will set a timer that will increase the glitch accordingly. The glitch is still quite patchy for now, and I am trying to use smaller increments to let the glitch form slowly (not seen from video).
As for the project (concept’s) updates, I did think of using repetitive motion which would be boring for viewers, but at the same time would really poetically bring out my artistic stance. I will however, be changing the project’s layout due to the more flexible arrangement and feedback given by Prof Randall.
I initially wanted it to be like an artificial waterfall, which would cascade down the roof and into the ADM pond. Should I have placed it here, my ideal colour pick for the strings would be a cool-themed colour.
After a round of consultation with prof and classmates, I realised that 1. the interaction was lacking 2. it was more of a sculpture, and did not lure others to interact with it.
Also, I realised that it might be a safety hazard with regards to hanging it on the roof. The strings might tangle too, but I was ready to secure it to the bottom by weighing it down. However, I decided to switch it up instead, and shift the installation to another area.
Hence, I transplanted it into a singular, rectangular installation (instead of previously fronting only the edge). Within the installation there would be scissors, which would ideally tempt others to join in and cut the strings.
Initially, I wanted to place it in the corridor and use shower rods to secure it up. However, safety issue was to be taken into account, and I had to pay extra to purchase shower rods – hence, I decided to place it in the level 2 empty area beside the stairs (level 2 to 3 stairs) in adm. There, I could use strings to secure it.
The top supporting the strings would be a foam-board, chosen as it is lightweight, relatively durable, and also, able to support some degree of piercing. The strings were meticulously arranged separate from another at a distance of 3cm, measured out and indicated on the board.
After finishing my preparations, I had to meticulously string those on the board. Initially, I planned out 90cm for each string length, but measuring them one by one was taking way too much time hence I decided to just estimate the length. In addition, the strings were pretty much tangled up so I had to resort to estimation else completion would not be a reality.
Also, I intended for the scissors to be of a different colour from the strings: to be easily seen and lessen the risk for walking facefirst into it, and for it to be a prominent object (with a status) within the artwork itself.
How to string 101:
I decided that the lighter colours would be on the inside; as the chosen area might be a little dim at times, and the inner colours would be dulled. I chose white as it was a metaphor for clarity, upon passing the darker colours on the outside. In addition, it could create a density which I wanted.
Upon completion, I lugged it to adm to be hung up. The four corners were tied with black string to be suspended.
I intended for the installation to be at a height whereby the bottom of the strings would be touching my chin; at this height, it would create a more immersive feeling for when the viewer looks up, all he sees are a cascade of strings.
Initially, I meant for it to adopt a squarish format, of which my chosen width would be at 1.2 x 1.2m. However, I ran out of strings, hence I shrunk the size down to about 80cm x 1.1m (estimated).
When seen from the 4 different sides, the strings look slightly different, partly due to the pattern of stringing and lighting conditions.
The strings also got slightly tangled up, but due to the quality and weight of the strings (specially chosen for such), it was generally weighed down and added to the beauty of it.
One point I noticed was that the scissors were a safety hazard. Particularly, that was the reason why I opted to purchase childsafe scissors with a small blade. However, if the viewer does not close the scissors after using it, the blade might hurt him/someone else.
When looking from the bottom, the middle of the board is noticeably white.
Colours from inside out:
white > yellow-white > pale pink > hot pink > royal red > dark brown
Definitely, this installation would be much more immersive if it was larger; when seen from afar, it appears small and isolated. However, I am thankful that it managed to achieve density and the experience that I sought for.
It would also be interesting if more people could interact with it, and see how they would cut the strings.