Week 12:  Second Skin

[]  Tuesday 18th of Janruary: One week collabrative project

[]  Brief:
Design a way for people to embody or enact a outer apperance of a digital avatar 

[]  Team members:
Boxun, Ranga, Yixi

Day 1: 24th Jan

During our initial meetings on Zoom, it became apparent that we were having difficulties with the brief and how to interpret it in the given time frame.

An idea that Ranga was passionate about was relating the topic to the Hindu Goddess Kali.

Kali is the goddess of death. Her backstory is that she chopped her husband’s head off after he abused her.

We proceed to analyze Kalis characteristics.

Day 2: 25th Jan

The first stage of embodying Kali was to make a mask of her face that could be warm. We want to give people a sense of power that Kali had and make the user feel strong and brave.  The mask was meant to be an interpretation of Kali’s face, to emulate her menacing, animalistic stare.

After our tutorial with Steph Singer, she told us that we should not be trying to embody Kali, as this is susceptible. Instead we should be thinking about how Kali would exist in the modern age, where would she appear? In what context?.

I agreed with this, as similar to when using a toolkit you can not leave too much interpretation up to the user because then it becomes a forced exercise in self expression.

Day 3: 26th Jan 

We aimed to bring people together through Kali and wanted to include others in the costume. We chose to look at 3D scanning as this is a great way to make someone into a digital format. The problem with the scanning is that the textures did not export and we were left with just the wireframes.

Above are the processed images, when exported it was only in a stl format without texture.  We used the app to scan 3D arm images of people which we then placed in the cinema4d to merge them. The outcome of this was a lot more abstract than intended. There was no colour so it was difficult to make out the forms.

We explore the use of a hologram to transport Kali into the environment in a distorted, ghost-like format. We chose this approach as the theme of the project from the brief was in a futuristic rave style, so felt a holographic version would be well situation.

We designed the hologram to make it so it could be used live over a video link, so a connection could be made between the viewer and Kali embodiment.


Day 4: 27th Jan

The background of the hologram was used to situate Kali further. We used the night sky because Kali also has links to lunar activity. I animated the background so that it would be more dynamic when projected in the hologram.

Making the background more dynamic, it took inspiration from the plant that was featured in the paintings of Kali.

It felt a bit static so I decided to abstract it, and add moremovent to capture the angelicness of Kali.

We opted to use the moon as the added animations felt too distracting and overbearing.


The diagram above shows how we conducted the presentation. We had everyone crowd around the central hologram so it could be viewed from all angles and played the Kali song that Ranga (dressed up as Kali) danced to.

We had some problems with music in the presentation, and as this affected the overall mood of the demonstration we needed to stop and start again to get it to work. I think this was due to a miscommunication between the group and we should have all come together to prepare properly for the presentation. 


‘it was the only project that made me feeling anything’ - John Fass 2022

That was all we needed to hear to know we had succeeded.


In the second skin project my group hit a creative block with our project. We didn't know how to express the god of kali in avatar form in a conceptual way. As a group we had a discussion with Steph who helped us collectively reframe the idea. This was a moment of reflection that we had to do as a group. We had to take a step back from our own visions for the project and collectively discuss Kali and how we were going to frame our idea. We discussed alternatives like how Kali would fit into a modern day context. In the discussion it was important for all group members to speak as we need to gain the group's perspectives on the ideas. I learnt this through exploring my own journey in my reflective writing group that I had been partaking in weekly. Where I have been exploring group dynamics and how it fits in with that.

A lot of the time, I felt like the person trapped in the middle, working between two ideas and working out how to combine them. This is a diplomatic role within the group and it's difficult for me to work with both parties as they are both focusing on separate ideas. So, I spent a lot of the time communicating between group members.