Art direction



X sl_owtalk


project type Multimedia Performance
year 2021

As part of CAKE theater’s Running with Strippers music stage, I collaborated with Singaporean drum and synth duo ‘sl_owtalk’ who focus on using oscillators and percussive rhythms to create harsh aural dissonance.

When I first heard their music, their restless drumming and distorted synth sounds made the listening experience intensely heightened. Altogether, the duo's chaotic synergy created an intimidating, imposing sonic mass - and in a sense, it seemed as if berpecah (Meaning “Split up” in Malay) embodied the spirit of their music.

The first thing that came into my head was an image of a man going astray while being chased after with so much guilt. As I received a set-list from the band, I started to document the imageries in my notebook.

Karen Barad states in her theory of Agential Realism that the matter is not static, rather it is formed through the endless entanglement of intra-acting agencies. It is temporal, and it takes time to stabilize to reveal its own meaning. Likewise, this project attempted to detour the deliverance of a narrative, by having a 30 minutes platform for various video fragments to constantly interplay through a VJ-ing software, Resolume.

Based on the initial sketches, I started to clarify the narrative flow into the chapters.

(I worked with a bunch of keywords as it is delivering the emotion, not logical storytelling)

1) 1212
A forewarning of what’s gonna happen.
Nightmares and church bells. Reminding of the guilt that one feels. The guilt is visualized with the footage of a bird and a man falling.

2) Perang
A desperate running fight. 
Feeling of being chased after something. A man starts to feel that he is worth less of a bug.

3) Sesat
Starting to reveal his past and his sins. 
Gambling. Casino. Prostitution. And about being addicted. How it slowly eats up.

4) 119
Him with a severe stage of addiction.
Gaming and how it conflicts with reality. Inability to see the reality. Feeling of being a cockroach. 

5) Anubis
Love, Jealousy, Murder, and Obsession.
Starts with a passionate kiss that keeps fading out into black, which reminds him it’s just a memory. Short clips of him murdering his partner’s secret lover.

6) Diamond Back
A severe paranoia.
All the things, reality, the imagination of him being a cockroach, and memories collide with one another, creating great chaos. End with the falling man again, reveals how he ends life.

After constructing the entire flow, I started making detailed notes on ‘what’ footage could be used to deliver the narrative effectively - especially with the constraint of having 3 layers and 2-30 footages only to prevent the crash during the performance. Song by song, I drew a timeline to analyze which part correlated with its respective visual.

I utilized copyright-free archived films and started looking for scenes that the music could belong to. I downloaded the films, analyzed and extracted potential scenes, sorted those moments into chapters I established. After I collected my films, I turned them into a scorebook that would guide myself and others through the performances.


Juggling a 9-6 job as an advertising creative, my after-6 hours were spent on finessing the performance (which led to quite a few sleepless nights for 2-3 months). We gathered once a week, sometimes three times a week to rehearse for the big show. Even though from time to time I felt pretty restless working on this project, as the band and I had really good chemistry, we enjoyed every single step of the event day.

These weeks led up to a performance at a repurposed power station in Singapore, hosted by CAKE theatre. Thereafter, we were invited to perform again at Esplanade, Theatres on the bay Singapore.

Working with sl_owtalk helped me understand the potential of theVJ-ing tool in analyzing and collecting impactful visuals and turning them into a rich storytelling tool that would create an immersive, and emotive experience for the viewer.