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Riveting visitors through futuristic art at the One-North Festival

More than 6000 visitors were entranced by our unique installation

“It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”

—Jean-Luc Godard

 

As artists, we’re continually building on the work of others, inspired and shaped by influences both intentional and not. How then do you create artwork that’s fresh and innovative, capturing the audience’s hearts and minds?

At PaperplaneCo, we’ve always believed in the transformative power of technology – its invisible strings that make possible the reinvention and reimagination of art in a million ways. It was this fascination that led us to create our first product – a storybook app inspired by the iPad. It was also why when an email from Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR) arrived – inviting us to participate in their first-ever One-North Festival – we jumped in with both feet. 

Named after the One-North area, Singapore’s equivalent of the Silicon Valley, the organizers designed the festival to showcase to the public exciting innovations and ideas originating in One-North and the possibilities they held for the future. Every installation was to embody the spirits of Research, Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise – a challenge that we found both thrilling and formidable. 

We wanted to go beyond an installation that people would just stand around and watch. How could we create a storytelling experience that was immersive, one that connected people, creating a shared encounter?

Creativity vs Constraints

Led by Dara Toe, a visual design expert, and Paul Seekings, tech whiz and artist, our crew came up with several great ideas. These ideas were centered around the locations we were interested in, but as it turned out, building regulations and restrictions meant that we repeatedly had to give up our location of choice. 

After a few failed attempts, we came across an interesting location opposite an escalator – and began to think about this overlooked part of our daily commute. It proved to be the catalyst for our ideas – the natural movement of people riding it becoming the interactive element that would bring the installation to life.

Titled Ebb & Flow, the installation would reflect on this movement as a barometer of our individual circumstances.  Were we rushing to work?  Relaxed and meandering?  Taking three steps at a time or standing still?  It would deliver an immersive, interactive experience that reflected the flow and ebb of movement in real-time with a unique meld of poetry, music and projection mapping.

While we worked with Dara to design the visual effects, Paul was busy setting up the tech behind Ebb & Flow. First came the crowd-sensitive motion sensors and cameras that detected faces and bodies in motion. Then this data would feed into algorithms, which would use that context to shape the audience’s visual and auditory experience in real-time. 

The visual effects, soundtrack, and even the stanzas of a poem displayed on the installation would automatically change depending on whether the camera and sensors detected a couple, a throng of people, or solitary commuters on the escalator. And if someone stopped to read the displayed poem, the soundtrack would adjust to match the breathing rhythm of the reader. 

The installation would tell a story through different mediums, but crucially, with the audience becoming part of the tale, changing it with their presence.

A Story Like No Other

More than 6,000 people, young and old, visited the One-North Festival that weekend. The look of wonder on their faces was testimony to the fact that our fusion of art, words, and technology had transformed the humdrum into the magical. 

Ebb & Flow resonated with people because in the moments they were there, the poem was about them.   They became part of the telling of a powerful story that continually unfolded afresh.  

We can’t help but be excited by the possibilities of telling stories in this way. The role of the storyteller will continue to be redefined as we experiment, innovate, and discover new ways to share our stories.

Collaborators

Chrissy Lim

Chrissy Lim — Creative Director

“I live for the flow. Time stands still and every stroke, every pixel nudge is inspired by a supernatural genius.”

In a world riddled with complexity, Chrissy Lim has the background and imagination to make sense of it all, traversing the realms of technology, business, and creativity. In a world of flux, she connects the dots. She has steered two of her start-ups into multi-million dollar successes, and directed the global ad accounts for brands like Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola and Mercedes-Benz.

Chrissy founded Paperplane to bring together the promise of creativity and technology to celebrate stories in an age of new media. The interplay of disciplines is where Chrissy thrives, and where the classic paper plane gains its charm: a humble sheet of paper transformed through engineering and imagination. Photographer, scuba diver, inveterate foodie, Chrissy carries it all off with child-like enthusiasm.

Paul Seekings

Paul Seekings —

Dara Toh

Dara Toh — Product Designer

Chrissy Lim

Chrissy Lim — Creative Director

“I live for the flow. Time stands still and every stroke, every pixel nudge is inspired by a supernatural genius.”

In a world riddled with complexity, Chrissy Lim has the background and imagination to make sense of it all, traversing the realms of technology, business, and creativity. In a world of flux, she connects the dots. She has steered two of her start-ups into multi-million dollar successes, and directed the global ad accounts for brands like Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola and Mercedes-Benz.

Chrissy founded Paperplane to bring together the promise of creativity and technology to celebrate stories in an age of new media. The interplay of disciplines is where Chrissy thrives, and where the classic paper plane gains its charm: a humble sheet of paper transformed through engineering and imagination. Photographer, scuba diver, inveterate foodie, Chrissy carries it all off with child-like enthusiasm.

Paul Seekings

Paul Seekings —

Dara Toh

Dara Toh — Product Designer

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