Urban Explorations Singapore
The Urban Explorations Project began in 2012 as an investigation on the ordinary happenings and encounters in the Singapore heartlands, narrated through the retrieval of sound, colours, smells, soil samples, found objects, behavorial observations and traffic patterns.
Driven by a low-tech approach in collecting data rather than making use of digitally available big data sets to make sense of the urban environment, the explorers are required to conceptualize and design their own methods and strategies to collect and categorize data.The Urban Explorations Project stems from an interest in documenting the various phenomena of the urban landscape.
A team of 8 explorers employ a strategy called Urban Sensing, utilizing their custom-built instruments at sites of commute and civic exchange where recordings, observations and specimens were collected then visually translated into static or dynamic artifacts presented in an exhibition.
The gathered data is intended to offer an informed preliminary understanding towards the public practices and civic nature of Singapore and the living culture of its citizens. The artifacts created out of the first exploration in Singapore are not only unique snapshots of urban reality but they are also meant to trigger new questions and dialogues about how citizens of an urban environment experience or perceive their surroundings in a sensorial context.
Workshop, ideation and building custom tools
With a low-tech driven approach in collecting data rather than making use of digitally available big data sets to make sense of the urban environment, the participants were required to conceptualize and design their own methods and strategies to collect and categorize data.
A number of field trips across Singapore were conducted to collect small but diverse data sets. These include samples taken from areas of reclaimed land, 3 types of temperature samples including body-, environment-, and perceived-temperature, a set of smell samples inspired by the Hennig’s Odour system, or a table of location based color-codes captured and processed by a mobile phone.
All collected data samples and findings are translated into static or dynamic artefacts using traditional methods including prints or paintings and new technologies such as computational design or digital fabrication.
The format of the exhibition was developed with mobility and low wastage of materials in mind. With the use of stacked euro pallets to present exhibits, these industrial materials could eventually be returned after the roving exhibition was completed. This approach ensures a low waste footprint and allows the project to easily adapt to the changing characteristics of exhibition spaces.