During the process of adding digital to the analog version, there were more failure than success done throughout, let me start with these failures (and additional works I did which were not used in the end)
The unused Animations
Right after the completion of the analog version, I thought of making a projection of animation from the back of the candles onto a sheet of translucent paper sticked behind the candle shelf, I tried to learn how to make an animation and so I asked my animation friends what program to use to do a simple animation and they suggested Autodesk Sketchbook, so I downloaded it.
The Circuit that works,(or didn’t)
And then the Fairy light I bought from china arrived! I bought 220V fairylight because they are cheaper, and I did not expect them to be these problematic to deal with due to the dimming issue and also 220V = risky.
The additions to my “Dark Room”
Coding is a nightmare
as there are 297 candles, the coding to split each candle was simple but tedious, I am sure there are better ways to do thing, but the downside of using max msp was that the exact function to do things the better ways is really difficult to find, so… my mindset was “If I only know “IF”, I can also do unlimited amount of task, “IF” is as powerful as Hercules.” so… I had “IFs” my way through this project, literally. (just to be clear, I tried to find a better ways, and though I found them, but in the end it either doesn’t work or crashed my max msp.)
66 Meters Apart is a project that explores the disruptions in the train of thought when a speaker is articulating their words, as our brain functioned as it should, we’ve forgotten how complex the brain are in these almost instantaneous real time processing of information that we sensed. By using 66 Meters Apart, user will have personal experience of these disruptions within our thought and notice how easily it is to distract our focus even from simple task like reading out loud a few sentences.
The 66 meters refers to the metaphorical distance created between the mouth and the ear through digital latency of 200ms, which is the time for sound to travel approximately 66 meters. As we hear our own voice through bone conduction from our vocal tract to our ear (which is much faster than the speed in which sound travel in air of the same distance), the physical latency it took to hear ourselves speaking is almost instantaneous and we were accustomed to this. By introducing a 200ms latency of us hearing our own voice, it could greatly impede our concentration in thinking as well as speaking in most of us.
The system which I am using for this project is the Lattepanda, which is a hackable computer and I’ve installed Max MSP into it for this project.
As LattePanda does not come with a sound card for microphone input and the only headphone require input and output jack separately, I had purchased an USB soundcard on carousell and luckily it works.
I was prepared to write the slightly longer code which require to delay the sound from the input to the output, however I found out that there is a “Latency” function in the audio setting and so I used that instead, also, I’ve add an audio gain to the patch to increase the output volume of sound. This is the simplest piece of patch and it works just as I needed so being simple is really good!
Thanks to Tiffany and Joan for the awesome snippets that were used as the featured image as well as in the videos, and helping with lighting up all the candles + documentations.
Also Thanks to Bao, Fabian and Suhwee for helping me to place all the candles onto the candle platform.
I’ve seen the actual project with real candles in the dark room the first time as the class saw it.
Light & Darkness was created to give a sense of alternative space within an ordinary space, in this project, I wanted to create a space so that the audience will forget that they were in the IM room, the room was build with pure darkness and stability in mind as nothing should collapse as I wanted to hang the candles platform instead of building a table-like structure to give a sense that all the candles were floating in space(which is also the reason why everything, including the candles platform was black), this worked really well as the candle platform would swing gently which increased the magical feeling to my space, Also, all of this will be enhanced in the digital version as I would add a series of stars(LED, not projection) to the room’s wall to increase the feeling of enchantment. The smell of the candles, as well the burnt smell created when extinguishing the candles worked much better than I expected, as I wanted to have smell that is not too overpowering, I’ve used 239 unscented candles with 60 scented candles, this combination worked like a wonder because there is only a faint smell outside of the dark room. another point that worked better than I expected was the random placement of the scented candles created a colourful candle array when they were all lighted up and this increased the overall aesthetic of this project’s analog version greatly.
After this analog version, I’ve noticed a few points to take note of, it is actually quite hard to light up all the candles so more lighters will be needed and the current lighter that I was using appears to be rather difficult to be used, so I’ll probably buy some more lighter which is much easier to be operated and uses lesser strength. Also, I would have to paint the metal wires that was used to hang the candles platform into matt black as the metallic would reduce the magical floating aspect of this project.
Afterward, I tied the structural loop which my candle stairs will be attached to it later, it was tied to make sure nothing collapse again.
after I confirmed that the structure and overall look of the dark room, I proceed to build the roof of it, which is the most difficult piece to be build as it is really prone to collapsing and I did not want the structure to be seen inside, What i want to achieve was to have all structures outside of the dark room so it will feel legit like a room when you are in it.
To build the stairs for the candle, I’ve estimated the size of it to be 180cm long and each step should be 5cm wide as the candle is 38mm, so having some tolerance for me to drill holes to place the candle into each hole would be really good to prevent the candle from falling off the stairs. I’ve not decided the total number of steps but since they sell 9mm thick plywood in the size of 2400 by 1200, I could possibly get 22 planks of 1800 by 50mm strip of plywood when I give some cutting tolerance to it.
After calculation and calling around to find the cheapest plywood supplier that does cutting service at the cheapest rate, I found Ban Heng Long at Syed Alwi Road which the plywood is $20 and each cut is 50 cents.
After buying the wood, I measured and marked out the wood for drilling later.
After that, I’ve purchase a 30m cardboard roll to build the dark room for my candles as I would really like to give a feeling of a customized space which one wont feel like in the same space when we are in the one I created, which actually is another space within what we are always used to, the IM room.
After dying, I brought the cardboard pieces up and decided a place to build my dark room… And I’ve decided to use the space that lesser people used in IM room which is the corner with lockers, however I have do do quite a bit of packing up and shifting of the tables to make space.
I think that Candles are really interesting, not only that they are visually appealing to watch as an therapeutic experience, they also produces smell depending on the nature of the candle, even extinguishing a candle produces a different smell. In short, a candle will utilize 3 out of the traditional five external senses which are sight, smell, touch but not hear and taste.
There are always meaning to everything and many objects have different meaning depending on the cultural context of the objects, However, candle have similar meaning across the globe as the candle symbolizes light in the darkness of life especially individual life, illlumination; it is the symbol of holy illumination of the spirit of truth.
There are festivals among different cultures around the world which uses candles as part of the “rituals”
Judaism – Hanukah, the ‘Festival of Lights’- a candle is lit for each of the 8 nights. Used to ward off evil spirits, life safe as long as candle burns
Hindu – Deepavali, spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.
Western Christian – Halloween, candles were carried from eleven til midnight, if the candle went out it was an evil omen, if it didn’t it meant one year free from witchcraft.
Mahayana Buddhism – the lighting of a candle or an oil lamp represents the light of wisdom illuminating the darkness of ignorance.
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared”
I want to play with the idea of Light and darkness which is the most common way to depict a candle, however the Project should incorporate a sense of aesthetic and should look nice and pleasant (Opinions on the matter vary from person to person) especially in the analogue stage.
Idea 1: To Build a secret hideout for us to sleep in IM Room.
my initial idea was to build a structure that allows people to go up and as IM student, we could sleep there or rest there, since it would be really nice to place a bed on top and we could just go up and sleep during our free time. and this is part of my research to build the system, of if it gets too expensive, I might use the bamboo pole in the IM room to make a ladder since the height is 4meters tall, and a metal ladder is quite expensive in the first place. I also used a drone to check if it look like it is walkable or not, apparently it seemed like we could walk on it!
after the researches, I decided to try to inspect by climbing up once to make sure if it is walkable, as it might be a fake ceiling thing, in the end, I used a ball tied to a long pole and threw it onto the top to listen to the sound, it sounded really hollow with the dampen drum sound and I gave up this idea because I don’t want to vandalize the school by making a hole on top.
Bye my secret hideout.
Idea 2: scout around to find materials which are cheap and make sense for interactive spaces.
first, the place should have decent price range and generic product, and maybe carry some big items at cheap price. so 2 place came to my mind.
Bike sharing had been in Singapore for almost a year and it is rather successful (transportation for us wise, not in business or government policy) and we could virtually find these bikes anywhere and everywhere (like in the drain, read: man throw ofo bike into canal)
There are 3 major bike sharing company running in Singapore, namely OBike, MoBike and OFO, and out of the 3, OFO is in striking yellow and would be nice in contrasting to most background and so we decided to use OFO for this work! (not because OFO was free from Monday 22nd January to Sunday 4th February, we would definitely pay if we have to. Really.)
During our first session of mOFOs we shifted bikes to create a roadblock in a void deck, by doing so, we had many curious passerby coming to us and asked why are we blocking the path? and we told them that we will remove the Ofos and they are like “ohhhhhh ok”. One even took the pictures of the bike too! she must’ve like our installation and think its really organized and definitely did not think about complaining us…
And on our second session of mOFOs, we went to Chinese gardens and shifted the bicycles around, Senior Nat saw us during his MRT ride and he alighted the train and helped us to carry the bicycles. Thank you again Nat! =D
at the end of the day, we got photos taken by random passerby and it was uploaded onto Reddit Singapore… well… that’s free publication!