Archive

Water Project

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One of my earliest childhood memories is of when I was about three – it’s a bit of a foggy memory but I’m at a beach in Tioman, it’s my first time playing in seawater and I’m having fun.

I’ve always loved the sea, and so this project began with me delving into the idea of oceanic waters, which then led on to ideas of navigation and cartography. Moral philosophy was explored on a parallel track which later converged.

The main deliverable was a 60pp A4 art publication which comprises nine vignettes of curated prose and treated image. Through which I hope to spark meaning through the juxtaposition of navigation, cartography and moral philosophy; a space for the translation and reinterpretation of thought and emotion from designer to viewer.

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In line with the curated prose, selected regions of the world map were treated to become more of abstract expressions of thought and emotion, less of scientific / geographic apparatus. The aesthetic was informed by 19th century etchings while keeping consistent with the modern minimal aesthetic; a meeting of past with present.

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The secondary deliverable was a handcrafted, fully-functional ornamental wooden compass where the arrow may be calibrated by the user to point in any chosen direction. The idea being that while we no longer require such outdated apparatus to navigate, we very much still decide our own existential directions. I point my compass north of west by a few degrees in approximation to America; I’m working towards an Eisner nomination. Where a compass from old would be heavily decorated with flourishes, I kept my compass design minimal in line with the overall design language, again, welding an invention from the past with an aesthetic from the present.

The last deliverable was an original song written to tie the entire project together, packaged in a handcrafted wooden case with a foldout lyric poster. Poster stylised as the prose in the main book, suggesting that this is the voice I’m contributing to the dialogue I created. A folk-styled acapella song was treated with carefully controlled autotune, repeating the past / present motif, while the vocals gradually layer into a building crescendo, similar to how the main deliverable, the a4 art book, is an amalgamation of numerous voices.

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References

To The Ends of The Earth: 100 Maps That Changed The World. Chartwell Books. 2012.

Mapping it Out: An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies. Thames & Hudson. 2014.

Atlas of Remote Islands. Penguin. 2009.

Everything Sings: Maps For A Narrative Atlas. Siglio Press. 2010

“Contemporary Authors: Gavin Menzies”. Highbeam Research. 2006

Hui Chun Hing. “Huangming Zuxun and Zheng He’s Voyages to the Western Oceans”. Journal of Chinese Studies, No. 51 (July, 2010)

Ma Huan. Ying-yai Sheng-lan: The Overall Survey of the Ocean’s Shores

Chunjiang Fu, Choo Yen Foo, Yaw Hoong Siew: The great explorer Cheng Ho. Ambassador of peace. Asiapac Books Pte Ltd 2005

Stephanie Meece (2006). “A bird’s eye view – of a leopard’s spots. The Çatalhöyük ‘map’ and the development of cartographic representation in prehistory”

Finel, Irving (1995). “A join to the map of the world: A notable discovery”.

W. H. Creak: “The History of the Liquid Compass”, The Geographical Journal, Vol. 56 (1920)

Great Thinkers of the Eastern World, edited Ian McGreal Harper Collins 1995

A source book in Chinese philosophy, Wing-tsit Chan

Mandeville, John. The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

Peck, Douglas T. “Misconceptions and Myths Related to the Fountain of Youth and Juan Ponce de Leon’s 1513 Exploration Voyage

Lewis, Bart L. (2003). The Miraculous Lie: Lope de Aguirre and the Search for El Dorado in the Latin American Historical Novel. Lexington Books.

Drye, Willie. National Geographic. El Dorado Legend Snared Sir Walter Raleigh.

http://privatair.com/sites/default/files/magazines/12_11_2013 PrivatAirMagazine_Issue48_Winter2013_2014.pdf

http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~feegi/carto.html

http://math.rice.edu/~pcmi/sphere/gos5.html

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Four-ColorTheorem.html

http://study.com/academy/lesson/juxtaposition-as-a-literary-term-definition-example-poems-quiz.html

Life in Death

Water > Pacific Ocean > Deep sea > Sea > Dead Sea > Israel > Water supply >  Jordan > Arabs > War > Palestine

This is a rough outline of the research process from the word “water” to what I am doing, titled “Life in Death”. The irony and metaphorical meaning of the Dead Sea is the main theme of this project.

The Dead Sea is dead. Due to its salinity, making the environment extremely harsh to live in, no living thing can flourish under such circumstances and hence, it’s name. However it being dead, life still thrives. The mineral left behind in the dead sea and the minerals that are washed up ashore has known healing properties for curing skin diseases, curing their skin problems. The minerals are also used in skin products as it also promotes renewal of cells. People flock to the dead sea because of these healing properties and some, also to have fun in the water as human bodies can float effortlessly in the water because of it’s salinity.

Ironically, the countries surrounding the Dead Sea are not as peaceful as the Dead Sea. Israel, Palestine and Jordan are neighbouring countries around the Dead Sea, however, they are always having disputes and fights, and sometimes even war. Many innocent lives are lost in this never-ending disagreements between them. The tension of these 3 countries have been going on for many many years, and still on-going till this day.

Despite all the deaths around the Dead Sea in Israel, Jordan and Palestine, it still sits peacefully right in the middle of them three geographically.

Could they be metaphorically like the Dead Sea?
Could there still be life in death for them?

 


 

A contemporary art exhibition space will be set up to convey this message.
Accompanying a booklet that will be available at the exhibition space as a take-away for the visitors.
And a poster, promoting this exhibition space.


 

 

Exhibition

A top down flat-lay view of the exhibition space.
Literally taking the concept words of “Life in Death” to the overall layout of the exhibition.

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Overview of exhibition space.
The walls are the walls of the border between Israel and Palestine. There will be a levered tank of Dead Sea water in the middle circle section and a pile of Dead Sea salt in the middle of it. The exhibition booklet will then be placed on top of the pile of salt where people can take home.
The exhibition is design in such a way where people coming from the respective section of the “Death” layer will cross-path in the middle “Life” section in order to see the other sections from the “Death” layer.

 

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The writings of the accounts of people in the country regarding the other two neighbouring countries.
A gun wrapped in their respectively flag hangs in the middle of the section representing the war and deaths present in their countries.

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Flat layout of the countries in the “Death” layer.

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Architectural model of exhibition layout

 

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Booklet from the exhibition

Booklet will be places in the middle of the exhibition on the pile of salt from the Dead Sea. There will be a handwritten summary text in the booklet summing up the text on the wall in the booklet for each of the country’s thoughts. Tracing paper is used to show the layering of their thoughts and the ethereal feeling of life in death. Minimal colors are present to show the contrast between life and death/ white and black.

 

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Exhibition Promotional Poster

The exhibition promotional poster also has tracing paper behind the dye cut of the circle to show that the word ‘life’ is literally in the black circle of ‘death’, showing a layering effect on the viewer.

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So is there Life in Death?

“上善若水. 水善利万物而不争, 处众人之所恶,故几于道.”

The supreme goodness is like water, nourishing all creatures without competing with them, it gathers in the lowest places where men despise, therefore it is like Dao (the way).

Water is the perfect substance according to Daoism. Water always seeks the lowest point and always takes the shape of any vessel into which it is poured. Water always flows downhill, and it always flows around any obstacle. Water seems to be the weakest substance, but it’s really the strongest, a single drop could pierce through rocks and glaciers.

So referring to that particular verse in Tao Te Ching, what does it mean to lead a life that flows like water and harmonizes with nature and how are we going to do so in order to absorb these virtues and attain the way?

Concept

Taoism had a great impact on the development of herbal medicine. Hence, with the use of herbal teas, we aim to achieve wellness inside out. By creating a series of herbal tea for each virtue presented in the philosophy, targeting a particular aliment in us that is hindering our path of attaining “enlightenment” would help us do so.

These teas can be viewed as an antidote for our wellness and also to substitute the virtues and values that are missing from us which we should be learning from this Chinese philosophy verse from Tao Te Ching.

Deliverables

Packaging | Website | Posters

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Packaging

Each tea was represented by a particular herb / flower and the graphic elements shown was created with only organic shapes. This is to show how fundamental organic shapes are and with simple continuous rotation and scaling, they are able to create such beautiful patterns. These shapes are like the virtues in Tao Te Ching, where everything links back to its most basic fundamental form, just like water, which takes in the form of anything that holds it.  IMG_0216

Individual packaging are shaped in the form of a water droplet, and forms into a flower when all six of them are pieced up together.

IMG_0234Sides of each individual tea packaging

 (From L to R) Logo – Type of Herbal tea , Generic tea descriptions , Graphic Elements , Virtue and explanation

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A simple hexagon box to keep all of them together.

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One tea box is able to hold 3 pyramid teabags.

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Individual tea bags has a tea tab with their virtue and graphic elements on it for easy differentiation from one another.

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Combining all six virtue tea boxes together will form a complete circle from the top view with their individual herb graphic patterns on the packaging. This is to show how all these virtues comes together as one and help to bring wellness to you from inside out.

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6 types of herbal tea for 6 different virtues in Tao Te Ching.

(Wolfberries tea, Osmanthus Oolong Tea, Lavender Tea, Honey Lemon Green Tea, Ginkgo Leaf Tea, Chrysanthemum White Tea)

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I want to create the essence of fun through this packaging too, hence this geometric shape of a water droplet. The graphics on the packaging works as a puzzle when you piece all six of them up together. With the use of colours, we are able to differentiate what flavour those teas are.

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Promotional Posters for Tea Wellness

Idea to draw people who are interested in purchasing the tea to the online site. Keeping the poster minimalistic and simple, emphasizing on the water element by combining curved strokes and flowy like graphical treatments to the logo.

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Tea Appreciation Workshop Posters, to cultivate more interest from target audiences and to learn the art of tea ceremonies and drinking tea.

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Website

Relatively simple and clean outlook for the website in order to showcase more of the graphic elements on the packaging itself.

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Concept page educates people on the aim and objective of this brand, how it derives from the chinese philosophy from Tao Te Ching and how this is being connected to this product.

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Tea page was based on the graphic elements found in the tea packaging.

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Upon hovering on each section of the circle, the name of the tea will appear

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After clicking it, a brief introduction of the tea and its health benefits would appear as a pop-up. Clicking the cross button on top of the circle would close the pop-up and goes back to the initial tea page.

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Simple user interface is created for the online shopping section where consumers are able to shop for their tea through this site itself.

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TOPIC – Honey & Bees
Through my explorations of water, I found the subject of honey, as well as the bees who create this wonder liquid. Honey has played a crucial role in many places in the world since early civilization and history. It has been used as a medicine, a food, an item used for worship and even in crafting, among many other uses. We also owe it to the bees for their pollinating of our crops. Without them, we would not have much of the food we have today. This liquid along with it makers, the bees, is rich with fascinating history buried by time. The current state of the world has the bees slowly dying out and disappearing without a clear reason why. These set of items have several goals: serve as way to learn about this fascinating history, to bring up bee awareness and to subtle talk about taking things (bees and honey) for granted.

My deliverables are:

  1. Book – Bee of Yore
  2. App – Bee Buddy
  3. Website

BOOK
The book talks about the impact bees and honey have on ancient human history. It features three countries, which has significant impact, India, China and Egypt. In an attempt not to stray too far from Southeast Asia countries, North America was omitted in place for Egypt. Among the topics discussed in each country’s chapter, the end of each the subject of the current state of the bees in each area. As the situation in general isn’t good, this serves as comparison on how things are compared to the past where bee and honey were highly thought of and sought after as well as not to take such things for granted. The objective is for readers to find out more through the app mentioned at the end of the book.

This is essentially a history book for an age group (roughly 18-25yrs old) that may have an interest in world history but unable to digest or sit through huge amounts of text. There is typographic play and illustration elements on most pages so the reader stays visually interested. The summary at end of each chapter sums up key points for each section for quicker reference.

APP
The book talks most about ancient history, thus the app is more about the modern and current situation, especially in regards to bee awareness and conservation. It serves as link from the old to the new.

The app is meant to be an interesting and periodical way for players to learn. Players are tasked with taking care of bees with the incentive that if they do it well, they can earn and win prizes such as vouchers or specific items. This is done via the players earning of game currency in the app in order to buy supplies for the caring of the bee. This currency is earned via two way, watching short educational videos about bees and or taking the quiz. These can be done once every 6 hours. Depending on how long each bee lives and how well they are taken care of, players are rewarded with points for their efforts which then can be used to claim prizes.

WEBSITE
The website serves to advertise the book and the app as well as link and tie them together. It gives brief introductions and preview images for the two products. The ‘Learn’ gateway serves as a link to outside sources of information and related organization. In a sense the app and book serves as a jumping board for this learning. As the internet has a wealth of knowledge that is so big, this brings users in the right direction with trust worthy and correct sources.

  1. Book – Bee of Yore
    Design decision: Clean layout & illustration, not overwhelming, chapters are color coordinated with orange (as main) being repeated throughout. Half tone dots resemble bee combs.

Load and view full book here:

2. APP – Bee Buddy
Design decisions: Bee design made less realistic for appeal. Illustration matches book for consistency.

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3. Website – Advertising book & app
Design decisions: Has book and unique illustrations. Kept style consistent.

*Please IGNORE COLORS of the main page displayed on wordpress.
Use the fullview linked below instead. Could not upload new version due to issue with wordpress*

For full viewing:
Main Page

Book Page

App Page

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As a valuable resource, water is vital to every living being – much like how food and air determines our life or death. It’s a part of nature that we should try our utmost to conserve and think of in terms of sustainability for the future.

During the initial brainstorming process, I expanded the mindmap to include alternative water storage apart from the usual water tank, for example, the cactus and elephant tree.  After a series of explorations, it led to the final idea; to delve deep down beneath the surface and find out about the more obscure significance of the coconut.

The coconut tree is often referred to as the “tree of heaven” due to its height and beautiful environment it grows in. It is also known as the “Tree of Life” and a versatile tree as every part of it can be used and can produce drink, fiber, food, fuel, utensils, musical instruments, and much more.  Coconut palms have been cultivated for more than 3,000 years, and today they supply about 8% of the global demand for plant oil.

In India one of the most common offerings in a temple is a coconut, playing a vital role in all puja rituals. As a satvic fruit, it is sacred, pure, clean, and health giving, endowed with several properties which he might have achieved or is going to achieve. The coconut is broken as an offering to god in a humble act, where in the process of breaking the coconut, the person let’s go of his ego and pride. It is believed that the marks on the coconut are even thought to represent the three-eyed Lord Shiva and therefore it is considered to be a means to fulfill desires.

Nguyen Thanh Nam; the Coconut Monk, devised a new religion, which was established in Vietnam as a fusion of Buddhism and Christianity called Tinh Do Cu Si, also known as The Coconut Religion.

Proposal

The entire project is based around the coconut and its significance in religion, history, culture, and rituals, using a playful approach in order to promote learning about culture and symbolisms in a fun but educational manner.

The deliverables include:

  • An app for the Coconut Trails game 
  • A website and logo branding
  • A book titled “Coconut Trails” with mini bookmarks

Coconut Trails – Hp Game 

This project led me to create an enjoyable, but informative handphone game that can be an addictively entertaining mode of learning. There are a total of 3 stages, where players have to utilise 3 coconut-inspired buttons, tapping gently with their fingers in in order to operate the game. The interface is simple, only requiring the player to read through short instructions before they begin each round. After every challenge is cleared, the player gets to learn more about each stage, which are based on coconut-related rituals, symbolisms and culture in 3 different countries, Vietnam, India and Indonesia.

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A playing preview of the Hp game, Stage 1:

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A playing preview of the Hp game, Stage 2:

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A playing preview of the Hp game, Stage 3:

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Coconut Trails – Website

Branded as the Coconut Trails website, it poses as a platform that provides an overview on what Coconut Trails is about, and serves as the station to connect all 3 deliverables together, interlinking the mediums as the hub in which consumers can easily access.

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Coconut Trails – Book

The Coconut Trails book is a fully illustrated collection of coconut-related stories from 3 different countries, namely, Vietnam for the Coconut Religion and the Coconut Monk, India rituals and a creation myth from Indonesia. The name coconut was taken from the Spanish word ‘cocos’ that literally means laughing face or grimace, which was the inspiration for the book cover.

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Water, the source of all life, and yet also the source of many deaths. Beautiful, yet destructive, and so mysterious. Land is something that we somewhat can track and take notice of, but it seems that some things that happen at sea we have absolutely no control of.

In the past 2-3 years, there have been many tragedies that have claimed the lives of many people, so many of them disappeared, and their bodies never to be found again. As humans, we need closure to the death of the loved one, so what happens when they completely disappear? How does the family completely heal, how do they move on?

One of the most tragic accidents recently in South East Asia, that claimed many lives, and the case never solved, was the disappearance of the flight MH370 which was en-route to China from Malaysia, when it mysteriously flew off the radar, assumingly plunging to the depths of the ocean, carrying with it the lives of 239 passengers and crew.

It is somewhat impossible to think that, in our world where technology has the ability to track us at all times, an aircraft can just completely disappear.

Soon after the disappearance, theories began emerging as to why this plane went missing. People used factual evidence, and pieced it together with stories that could be possible – some seemingly believable, and others completely unbelievable. Theories emerged ranging from alien abductions and terrorists attacks to suicide and military conspiracies.

While these theories may have aided in providing some answers to the family and friends of those loved ones who disappeared with MH370, it was very unhelpful to travellers who rely on these aircrafts. People began to be too afraid to fly all because of a theory that may or may not be true, but because some of theories were presented by officials, people believed them.

To answer this problem of “how much exactly should you believe?” my research led me to conspiracy theories and their conception. How do people create conspiracy theories, and how easy is it to make one of my own? And if it is as easy as my research suggested, then how much should we really believe of the ones that have emerged since MH370s disappearance. Should we really be so petrified of flying? Or was this accident a devastating one in a million chance.

The project led me to create a game, which engages the players with creating and deciphering the difference between real theories, and fake ones. There are two phases to the game, one is creating your own theory using elements provided on the cards, and the other is picking from all of the created theories, which one is the ‘official’ theory, released after the disappearance of MH370.

The deliverables:

  • A card game ‘Conceit’
  • An app version of the game ‘Conceit’
  • A poster advertising the game

 

Conceit – The Board/Card Game

The aim of the game is to create the most convincing end to the conspiracy read out by the first dealer. The more convincing your theory, the more points you get. The second part of the game is also to decipher which theory is the most accurate. If you guess the correct original theory, you also earn points.

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Conceit – The App

The aim of the game is to complete the conspiracy theory given on the screen. Race the clock to beat other team members and earn points if playing multiplayer, or to advance to the next level on single player

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The Poster

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The ocean is arguably the most fascinating feature of our planet. The ocean means a lot to humans. It is the enabler of lives and the connectors of lands and of humans, yet it is also the site of many disasters and holds many dangers within. It is also a piece of the Earth of which we have so far been able to explore only a small piece of its whole area. While mankind has been able to explore deep into the outer space, we haven’t really conquered, or polluted, depends on the perspective, our own deep sea.

Hence, the ocean is an object of fear or awe or both at the same time for most cultures and across ages. Its vastness reminds people of how small they are, its ever changing nature brings about thoughts of instability and dangers. The myth and deep seated beliefs for sea monsters, gods and the likes are recited from almost all civilisations.

On the other hand, the ocean also possess amazing healing power that has since been associated with water, too. Scientifically, the sea contains a lot of beneficial minerals obtained from both the water and the ecosystems that live within it.  For some, even, the view and sound of waves and water has relaxing properties. Beach resorts and recreational water sports continue to be very popular throughout ages, as well as the observed trend of aural therapy amongst the city dwellers.

This observation raises an line of thought process about the duality of nature, and the nature of fear itself. Why does a thing instil extreme fear in some and pure awe in others, and how do we reconcile with this nature of duality, which is often found in most things.

 

THE THALASSA PROJECT

This system revolves around a narrative that is a real, fictional story, crafted to communicate all those questions, reflections and to invite others into the experience of the discovery of this aspect of psychological duality.

In a more clear sense of focus, this project aims to bridge the two contrasting perspectives by the means of a fictional metaphorical story. In addition, it also seeks to inspire reflections in a more relaxing manner.

The story itself consists of two parallel narrative from two characters, both named Thalassa – a name borrowed from an ancient Greek sea goddess.

One of the Thalassa is a siren mermaid, who, despite having living her entire life in the ocean, is wary towards the sea. Her story is subtitled Thalassophobia – the fear of the sea. Being a mermaid, she has witnessed first hand, how dangerous the sea can be.

Her character is also a representative for those who have the condition Thalassophobia – a condition often stemmed from negative experience of the sea. A siren mermaid is also a mythical creature, a subtle nod to the illogical nature of a phobia, yet it exists all the same.

The other Thalassa is a sickly little girl with an active imagination. Being somewhat sheltered and lonely, this Thalassa has a penchant towards the mysteries, beauty and the nature of the oceans that she reads about in books. Her story is called Thalassotherapy – healing properties of the sea.

The child Thalassa represents most urbanites who despite being knowledgable, often have a tendency of naivety when it comes to the perception of nature and may come as shallow. Yet, their perspective too, might not be completely wrong.

 

DELIVERABLES

I. Project Thalassa Colouring Book

The main product of the Project Thalassa is a two-in-one colouring book for all ages. Colouring book is a form of art therapy that has been proven to be effective as a form of relaxation and reflection.

The product features two nearly identical books, bound back to back on separate sides of spines yet connected as one. This method of assembly represents the contrasting view points of the same thing, often unreconciled and yet inseparable, likening fear and therapy as two sides of a coin.

The book contains five parts of the respective stories with hand-drawn illustrations inspired by the elements of the sea.

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On one side we have the book dedicated to the Thalassophobia side (the mermaid perspective), indicated by the dark blue layout, darker tone of narrative and descending order in respect to the narrative – going from The Surface and ending at the Dark Water at the bottom of the sea.

On the other side, we have the Thalassotherapy side. Indicated by the pure white colour, childish, optimistic narrative and reversed order of illustration/chapters.

In both story, the same elements of the sea that induce both fear and awe are highlighted as scenes or chapters – going from the surface of the ocean to the rock bottom they are:

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1. The vastness of sea in The Surface,

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2. the scale of the sea in The Depth,

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3. the force of the sea in The Undercurrent,

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4. The richness and sea creatures in The Mystery, and

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5. The lack of light underwater in Dark Water.

 

II. Trailer for a companion digital experience, an audio-visual narrative The World of Thalassa

Titled The World of Thalassa and hosted in the main website is a audio-visual experience, featuring all the illustrations in the book, animated digitally and accompanied by ambient soundscape tailored to each chapter/scene. This experience is best accessed when one has the colouring book at hand.

At the start of the program, the user will be greeted by the narrator and asked if they are scared or relaxed by the sea. Should they choose scared, Thalassa the sea-lover girl will continue the story from there in the Thalassotherapy package, featuring calmer and more relaxed nuance of the sound and visual movement, and vice versa for those who answer relaxed. This is in line with the aim of the project, which is to bridge the two sides and encourage mutual understanding between differing viewpoints.

The two product is best when utilized hand in hand. As the user got their storyline, they’ll be able to colour the illustrations while enjoying the soundscape and taking inspiration from the moving visual. The digital experience itself will keep looping until the user decides to forward it to the next chapter, allowing them to personalise their pace, soaking in the psychological concept.

 

III. Website for Project Thalassa

The website acts as a bridge between the two products and a vessel for the system. It contains link to the book order, hosts the free online audio-visual narrative and more detailed information about the project.

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While the website contributes less of an original content, it acts as an organiser and a helper for users to make sense of the system and to draw the most out of it.