The Skinner Box is a piece of psychological apparatus used for animal behaviour experiments. This project uses the Skinner Box as an analogy for how the language of space and the built environment can influence our behaviour, particularly through ‘rewards’ and ‘punishment’ (operant conditioning), but also through the imposition of other factors such as restraints.
This project applies the concept of the Skinner Box to a contemporary art gallery context, where a hypothetical, megalomaniacal ‘curator-dictator’ uses these principles to manipulate the visitors’ experience of the artwork. With my proposal, I use architecture as a medium of satire by creating an extreme caricature of the curator-visitor relationship in contemporary art.
I interpreted the concept of a ‘threshold’ as a boundary, whether it is spatial, cultural, or sensory. I discovered an peculiar site, an urban glitch: a ‘semi-permeable’ dead end where pedestrians could pass but vehicles could not. As this curious ‘threshold’ is approached, it opens up visually from an apparent dead end. I decided to bridge this threshold visually, initially using fibre optics, then adapting the same basic principle (total internal reflection) by using mirrors to transform the space into one big, visually unobstructed ‘fibre optic’.
Building on ‘decay and restoration’, I decided to exploit the decay of materials and structures. I looked at connection between a ‘place’ and memory and the function of spaces as memory cues. A transient space would dissolve along with memories of it. I decided to use the material of soap bubbles implement this concept.
My initial idea was to use helium and soap creating a foam structure that would float away, but after testing the temperamental material I adapted the design to use the foam’s natural tendency to bend. I experimented with various parameters, such as bubble size, soap concentration and shape of container, before arriving at the final ‘design’.
This jewellery project was a personal response to the theme, ‘connect’. The focus was interpersonal connections, particular the hidden insincerity and animosity behind some handshakes.
A magnetic connection was used between the two pieces to represent the passive-aggressive subtext of what seems to be a friendly gesture. The magnet piece, when in brought close to the other piece in a handshake gesture, will cause the pins to bristle, like the raised hairs of a threatened cat.
This project was a personal interpretation of “urban density”. Coming from Hong Kong, an ultra-dense vertical city, I was interested by why tower blocks are stigmatised in London, the Trellick Tower in particular.
I decided to approach the project in two parts: in the area around Trellick Tower, I saw the lack of large, contiguous green spaces as a undesirable consequence of urban density and decided to connect the main parks using an overhead network, forming one continuous space.
The design of the overhead pathways responded to the ‘energy level’ of each part of program/activity, from cycling, walking, to the static landscaping. The aesthetic layout was inspired by quantum mechanics where each ‘energy’ corresponds with a ‘wave’: slow-paced activities had a meandering rather than direct path.
The second part: focusing on the tower itself, one of the problems I identified was that housing blocks in general had a lack of access to private green space, in contrast to suburban housing. I researched precedents such as Habitat 67 and decided to break up the monolithic feeling of the tower by introducing a green ‘street’ that would spiral up the tower, dividing the 30 floor tower into a ‘street’ of 6-floor apartments. This ‘street’ integrates with tiered balconies and is connected with the macroscopic green network.
This project was my interpretation of ‘skin and bones’: I was particularly interested in the juxtaposition of soft/dynamic and rigid/static elements. My research led me to the skin-to-skin contact between mother and child and the spatial qualities of the womb. As touch is the first sense to be developed in the embryo, I focused using on inflatable structures within a frame to create a space that is perceived purely through the sense of touch, recreating a womb-like quality.
The Innovation is a charity fashion show founded in 2007 and is organized by senior students from South Island School. It first began as a CAS project but soon turned into a major success. Now Innovation is an official annual event for South Island School and all ESF Schools. For the year 2012, funds of almost HK$120,000 (approximately US$15,000) were raised for the World Wildlife Fund to support their conservation efforts.
Duties entailed co-organising the event with head organiser, rebuilding Innovation’s visual brand identity, graphic design for promotional campaigns, conducting photoshoots, curating and designing the print catalogue/programme.