Reading Assignment – A Companion to Digital Art

I choose to browse through A companion to Digital Art, edited by Christiane Paul for this reading assignment. For me, digital art seems quite appealing not only for its aesthetic aspect, but also the technology aspect.


As defined in Wikipedia, digital art is an artistic work or practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process. In fact, the name and definition have undergone several changes since it exists. From multimedia art, cyberart to new media art and digital art. It is getting more and more effective in our daily life without being noticed. Digital art can be seen in every detail in our life, such as graphic design posters done by computer software, 3D modeling in videos and games, not to mention all the fantastic special effects in movies and advertisements. Although it is not well-appreciated in today’s art market, it has become “the art of our time, thematizing complex challenges for our life and societies”, according to the author.


Due to the time constraint, I only choose one chapter to focus. I was attracted by the chapter 14 The Cultural Work of Public Interactives, which is written by Anne Balsamo. Public interactive is broad definition of technological devices in public space used to offer the audience an experience of digital mediated communication. In this book, the author approaches the definition of interactive art from three aspects, as an art form, a mode of public communication and a manifestation of multiform pervasive computing. Interactive is basically conversation, a conversation between human and human, human and machine or machine and machine.


Joseph-Beuys (Installation art)

Developed from 20th‐century art networks such as Fluxus, installation art, media art and some other genres of art, public interactive is different from normal interactive art as it involves a combination of technical, aesthetic and social domains. However, the core of the public interactive art is still a designed interface to allow human and machine to interact. The main location for this kind of public interactive project would be city streets and urban screens. It has multiple and contradictory impacts on social cultures.


As for the art and design part, public interactive involves the creation of a good interface between humans and technology. It needs to organize the massive inputs and outputs and carefully design the processes. I like how the author describes the aesthetic and art of the interface as a term, “Look and feel”, which “is one of the key characteristics by which public interactives make sense to human users”.


There are some more content involves in this essay, like the genres of public interactive and some useful examples. In all, after reading this part of the book, I have some basic understanding of this new term public interactive, which also helps me better understand the interaction between humans and technology.


Future World Reflection

Future World Exhibition, located in the Singapore ArtScience Museum, is known as Singapore’s largest permanent digital art gallery. It aims to create an environment that allows visitors to immerse in art and science and to explore the possibilities of combining technology, art, and nature. There are a total of 16 cutting-edge installations in the exhibition where visitors can interact and play with them. The future world was done by a group of ultratechnologists called teamLab, who tend to explore the relationship between humans and nature, and between oneself and the world through art.

The whole exhibition provides multiples ways of interaction between the visitors and the artworks, including body movement, physical touching, drawing and so on. It is a fantastic place to get in touch with cutting-edge
technologies for both adults and children. During the tour, visitors can explore the relationship between humans and nature. For example, in the first artwork, visitors can see the change of four seasons in one tour.

The Sketch Piston was interesting to play with. The visitors can create small cute animals by tapping and constraint their path by drawing lines. The combination of animals and the city in the whole picture also explores
the way that humans and nature interact with each other.

Through the whole exhibition, the one that impressed me most is the Crystal Universe, which use over 170,000 LED lights to create a space looks like a universe. Visitors are able to walk inside the space and immerse themselves into the astonishing light show which gives them a sense of being surrounded by stars. The use of mirrors on the ground expands the whole space and I really felt like walking inside an endless place when I
first go in. The design of a curved path also helps provide a feeling of endless space as the visitors cannot see the other side when they walked into the center. The light show and the sound effects associated so well that create an atmosphere of mystery. Besides immersing into space physically, the visitors are also allowed to control the light show by the panel next to space or by downloading a mobile app. After researching about this artwork, I found out that the visitors’ movement can also affect the performance of the light particles, which is another way to interact with the artwork.

In all, during this field trip, I was impressed by the different ways that technology can combine with art and the ways that people can interact with the artwork.

Field Trip Reflection – Happenings | “Disappearance, Bar in the Gallery” with INTER— MISSION

This exhibition was a remake of Lee Kang-So’s 1970s works “Disappearance” combining with the artwork, Life Circle, I/O by Inter-Mission. The artists manipulated the sound effects according to the audience’s behavior while they projected some videos on three different screens. The small digital screen near the side showed some footage they took before in the gallery and some other places. The projector also showed some real-time video on the large stairs. And there was another large screen showing the mixture of these two videos.

For the first part of the art show, the artist changed the sound effect and walked around to get real-time video. And for the second part of the show, he wore a mask made of digital panels and walked around.

At first, I was confused about what the artist was doing and I was a little bit troubled by the constant noise sound. I’ve noticed the three videos around us, but I didn’t really understand what the artist tried to express. At the second part of the show when the artist was wearing the metal mask with two digital screens covering his eyes, I gradually felt that the artist would like to show the world around us was filled with different types of information and it may affect the way we see the world.

After the show, and after talking to the prof, I tried to search for some information about the show done by Lee in 1970. It is quite impressive that the props used in this show were very similar to the original scene. And after gaining the information for Lee’s art show, I have a deeper understanding of what the artist was trying to express. Lee’s original goal was to bring art into people’s everyday life. Based on that, the recreation uses videos taken in the gallery and outside the gallery to emphasize the idea that art can be around us in daily life, not only inside the gallery. And the noise sound they made might be a way to represent the inputs in life.



Lee Kang-So’s Sensual Semiotics

“Disappearance”: Lee Kang-So’s 1970s works at Gallery Hyundai, Seoul – original interview extract

Interactive Art Reflection: Footfalls


This interactive art design caught my eyes at the moment I saw the name and I was wondering how can foot become a fall.

This artwork was commissioned in July 2006 by the NTT InterCommunicationsCenter (ICC), Tokyo, for their solo exhibition of Tmema projects. It actually captures the stepping sound of the visitors by microphones under the floor and visualizes the sound into a fall of bubbles. The visitors can also interact with the bubbles, like catching them or throwing them. The size and number of bubbles are determined by the stepping or stomping sound. The louder the sound is, the more bubbles will fall.

It is a quite attractive design for me. Unlike most of the other interactive art, the audiences can interact with it in more dimensions. It is not only a simple visualization of the stepping sound created by the audiences but also an interactive game that the audiences can play with. This artwork combines the sound, the visual image of falling bubbles and the actions of the visitors.

In my mind, it is also very innovative to visualize the sound of stepping, which we seldom notice in our daily life. It brings my attention to the stepping sound I create in everyday life. Have I ever create stepping sound that is louder than I thought? Can it also be a characteristic of one person?

In a word, footfall really inspires me on both aesthetic and technical aspects.




Week 13 Prep Work

Photos I took in Pioneer MRT Station for composition at first.

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When I got the topic, I first considered drawing different people living in Singapore happily, and I thought public transportation  would be a good background as many different people are around. Therefore I drew some drafts in MRT and buses.

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Finally, I decided to draw the MRT station and divide the paper into two parts, the one on the left represents the old generation came from the past and the other part represents the new generation heading towards the future. The MRT trains represent the connection between the two generations.

Then I drew the first rough draft with the Pioneer MRT Station as the background and circled the places I wanted to draw different people later.


After that I practiced different human figures with different poses including young man, little kids and the old.

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Later I elaborated my first draft with details about the MRT station and the exterior of MRT trains. For the  train on the left hand side, I searched the pictures of old MRT trains and drew according to it. For the train on the other side, I chose the one with more modern outlook.


Then I drew the final draft.


Week 8 Night Drawing

At first, we did four drawings using different composition to prepare for the night drawing.


Then we started our night drawing using the composition we liked most. We used  white chalk for highlight and could use yellow or brown for the lights. It was important to show different tone using different color or even different ways of coloring.