Week 12: Final Project Documentation – Nghi (Madsen)





The design of my final project was set to communicate an atmosphere that the user was being watched. The user will be exposed to an initial web page displaying an animated eyeball, with a button underneath that provides the option to “Begin” the experience. Afterwards, a video will be displayed automatically in full screen of an old tv with a retro-esque aesthetic. The video message has a retro-esque theme and by the end of the video, the user is transitioned into the interactive webpage. I chose to design the website this way to hopefully not have the theme of surveillance dissipate. After the user is transitioned to the interactive webpage, they’ll have the same pair of eyes that had been displayed within the video, follow their cursor. Additionally, they will have four links which redirects them to live video feed of the following locations: New York, Tokyo, San Francisco, and Jerusalem.



I had split the process of the project into three main portions: creating a message, collecting the visual and audio assets essential to communicating the message, and then designing and incorporating interactivity. The project consists of visual and audio assets I collected online which cover how the U.S. government had spied on its citizens. I had found these visual assets from the news, political documentation, and journalist reports. Along with these visual assets, I included audio assets with the goal to portray the message as quite retro and old. Using Adobe Premiere Pro, I had edited both the visual and audio assets in a way that, by the end of the message, the user would be transitioned from the video to the interactive web page smoothly. With timeupdate within javascript, I had enabled my project to transition the user over to the interactive web page at the end of the video. Additionally, the interactivity of the project in regards to the eyes following the user’s cursor, had been done through javascript. I challenge that I discovered and unfortunately couldn’t overcome was in regards to incorporating live video footage. I had originally thought I could incorporate live video footage directly into my website with an iframe. However, javascript has constraints within iframe such as that of restriction of flashplayer, which is needed to display the live footage. Although I unfortunately could not manage to incorporate live video directly within my webpage, I chose to settle with links to live feeds of specific locations. If I had the chance to do my project over again, I would want to change this specific display format of the live footage, because I think it better communicates the surveillance factor if the user were able to see this footage directly from the interactive webpage.



I had been originally quite ambitious with the video and visual assets I sought. I thought I would be able to retrieve visual assets but the constraint of time had prevented me from getting much of the visual assets I sought. Although the constraint of time had been a large factor, and I couldn’t manage to incorporate a live video feed displayed within my webpage, I believe the interactive project I had created still portrayed the original message I sought to communicate: surveillance.


Week 12: COMMLAB Final Project Proposal -Madsen (Nghi)


The technology that surrounds individuals in their daily life can often be taken for granted, or overlooked. We find ourselves so consumed by the tasks within our daily lives that it can be hard to notice the intricate details within it. However the seemingly flawless integration of technology into society today should not be overlooked. It should concern individuals, such as you and I, how the technology within society could be used, and how it could affect our lives. I bring this concern to light because in regards to privacy, any individual could be at risk with the technology that exists today. The subject I seek to address through my final project will be the prevalent surveillance in society, made possible only by technology. I’ve selected this subject due to the fact that now, information can be collected about an individual more than ever before. Information is made accessible through the individual’s various interactions with technology. While data and information about an individual can be logged physically, the individual can be additionally tracked digitally. Surveillance is prevalent within the livelihoods of individuals, therefore I believe it is essential to address this aspect in order to understand our relationship with technology today.

To clarify, I don’t have a political goal for my project, the subject of surveillance is simply a compelling component within society. For my project however, I do plan to draw reference from modern artists and activists, Shepard Fairey and Ai Weiwei. The artworks of Fairey and Weiwei communicate their political perceptions. In regards to surveillance, the individual is targeted most often only by governments. The more a nation has been developed, the more advanced technology they have, and the less privacy an individual would possess. I choose to reference these two artists specifically because of the way they choose to display their political perspectives. Fairey and Weiwei portray imbalances of power well through their art, and their approach can be relatable to my project. Fairey and Weiwei’s distinctly political works of art draw possess a the much more modern approach, compared with traditional media. The modern political art created by these two activists provide a strong inspiration to the approach I can take, however my approach will be through a different media.

The final project I have in mind will hopefully consist of audio, visual, and video aspects. I’ve found the style of the early internet artwork, hell.com, intriguing and have decided I could take a similar approach. Using html, css, and javascript, my project will be displayed within a web page open to user interaction. I plan to have a video with a dystopian aesthetic, which ends at a freeze frame, then the user would be free to explore certain components of the website. Specifically, user interaction could be through visual assets which communicates an atmosphere that they are being watched. The interaction could be either an animation, or an enlargement of the asset to emphasize the observant atmosphere. Audio cues could be linked with visual assets to further immerse the user interaction. Through the users interactive experience with the website, I hope to provide a watchful atmosphere which can often go unnoticed within the daily lives of individuals.

Week 11: Video Project – Nghi Nguyen (Madsen)

Link: http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~cl4750/videoproject/mainpage.html

Partners: Cindy and Kyle

The Project:

Within our project is a film we created which documents the journey of an individual turned thief. Thus, we also justifiably titled the film “Thief.” Within the film, it starts off with an introduction of the individual under a very mysteries and dark setting, with hopes to attract the viewers attention. The film then transitions into a narration which explains the plot to the viewer in order to clarify the background of the story. The narrative follows how the individual had been stressed about financial challenges, and what he had to resort to. The film expresses the financial challenge the Thief faces with a brief scene documenting his debt on NYU Albert. Thus, after communicating to the viewer that he Thief has financial issues, the film transitions into a webpage which the thief has listed the items he’s stolen. However, the “selling” page within the film is also the webpage that the viewer interact with. The items the thief has listen and stolen are four items: a camera, an iPhone, a MacBook, and textbooks. These items are all buttons that transition the viewer to the respective scenes where each item is stolen. At the end of each item scene, a bank note counter and cash register “ding” can be heard, insinuating that the Thief has made some money after his crime. After the viewer watches the video an automatic “sold” identification will be displayed over the item which they’ve chosen. After all items have been watched, no matter the order, the viewer will be directed to a final ending scene of the Thief. This will provide a conclusion to the film and respectfully cue a segment of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.”

The Process:

In regards to our process, we developed the idea of Thief through the intention it could provide a problem many individuals could relate to: financial challenges. We had come up with a storyboard for varying plots but had eventually settled upon the plot of Thief. The production of the film had originally been planned to only be within campus, but eventually, we decided to change the setting of some scenes. Aside from the footage we had on campus, the scenes outside campus take place within a parking garage, the sidewalk, and FamilyMart. After shooting our footage, we edited using Adobe Premiere Pro. The editing process consisted of the addition of color grading, transitions, effects, and overall footage correction to the project. For the code, their were minor hookups but had worked out in the end. The major two errors had been in regard to our event listeners, and video audio within Javascript. The problem with our event listeners was originally, the javascript had been linked to two HTML files, intruding upon the [var object].addEventListener process and returning null. We addressed the aspect pertaining to the linked HTML files and the problem had been resolved. The second issue we ran into but eventually also solved was in regards to the autoplay of audio within videos being muted. This problem was as a result due to the autoplay blockage of audio from the Chrome web browser. To solve this, we found a workaround be adding an invisible “iframe” with autoplay enabled before our Video tag. This enabled Chrome to autoplay the audio within the actual video.


The interactive video we created displays the story of Thief and the journey this individual goes on while still providing an immersive experience to the viewer. Looking back in retrospective, I think this project went very well and has, in my opinion, met all of our original goals.

Week 8: Audio Project Documentation – Nghi (Madsen)


In regards to my audio project, my partner and I decided to produce a narrative that immerses the user through audio and visual interactions. Due to a time limitation, we had to opt for a rather less detailed, but still interesting, story. The plot of the story follows the accidental release of a sentient AI onto the world. The intention of our open ended story was to leave the user with the impression that the AI is now out there in the world somewhere. For our audio, we have a mix of samples retrieved online, and some that we had recorded ourselves. We used audio recorders provided to the class to record short narrations necessary for our story, and samples that could further immerse the user by imitating the real world experience. Using Adobe Premiere Pro, I had added some depth to the narrations we recorded by adding another layer of audio. One of these additional layers had been of “radio static,” which gave the impression to the listener that they were actually listening to the narration through a tape. To add variety, another layer of audio distortion was added to the dialogue of the AI, voiced by my partner. The audio distortion imitated a “glitch,” we added this with hopes that it would also further immerse the user to the story. Due to the constraint of time, a majority of our visuals had been retrieved online. Using CSS, we styled these visual assets accordingly to portray our story. Additionally, we made the user experience further immersive by linking certain visual assets to our audio. For website interactivity, the user has buttons which could play the audio of our narrations of the story. In regards to Javascript, we had used it  to tie the webpage together. We made page links, buttons, and adjusted the volume of our background audio accordingly using Javascript. We found that in regards to interactivity with only buttons wouldn’t have been immersive enough for the user’s experience, so we used also made certain visual assets play audio when hovered upon by the mouse. Once these certain visual assets were hovered upon, the user’s experience of the story would be made further immersive through played audio such as: the flicker of a light, the bubbling of chemicals, and the sound of the street. After the completion of the audio project, I think that both my partner and I were successful in our goals. This had been due to both a feasible goal, collaboration, and a successful management of time on both of our parts.

Week 7: Response “The Danger of a Single Story” – Nghi (Madsen)

Through the Tedtalk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” a critical component which shapes our perspectives had been indulged upon: the individual’s exposure to knowledge. Chimamanda Adichie’s seminar had spoke upon the often “single story” an individual could be exposed to. Due to this single perspective, the individual can only develop an idea based off of this. The dangers of such an exposure which Chimamanda Adichie had spoke about is applicable to all individuals, regardless of age, race, wealth, or gender. If an individual is exposed to multiple perspectives, we can begin to understand the whole story. I believe the significance we should acknowledge from the Tedtalk is that, in order to better understand anything, individuals must keep an open mind and learn to develop various perspectives. In regards to myself, the significance of Chimamanda’s Tedtalk isn’t only applicable because I am a student, but also because of how I seek to develop my own perspectives. If I continue to expose myself to various perspectives, I can only further my understanding of the overall story. Understanding the overall story is crucial in the development of my own perspective.

Week 6: Response “Ecstasy of Influence”

A distinction was made apparent by “Ecstasy of Influence.” This distinction was that of influence, and outright plagiarism. Within the reading, Jonathan Lethem compares various artists and possible influences that had been identified within their art. Lethem argues that the influence apparent in an artist’s work should not be considered plagiarism. Due to the amount of sheer influence of prior art on today’s society, we should not consider the “translation” of past work to be plagiarism, but rather different perspectives of a “reoccurring theme.”

Week 6: Response “On the Right of Molotov Man”

Within the reading “On the Right of Molotov Man,” the portrayal and context behind art had been addressed. Specifically, the rights of an image, “Molotov Man,” had been elaborated upon. The issue at hand had been that the image had been used to without the artist’s permission. This copyright infringement, resulted in the progressive communication of contrasting messages from the image’s original context. The usage of the artist’s image, without its’ context, had resulted a misinterpretation of its’ significance, and had been a disfavor to its actual subject. The importance of recognizing the copyright infringement of “Molotov Man” is that within art, an artist can try to convey a message. If individuals begin to recognize the significance behind the contextualization of art, we can see that it is often manipulated. Although no one should have the right to own the struggle depicted within “Molotov Man,” it is important to recognize the context and original meaning behind any form of art.

Week 6: Comic Project Documentation – Nghi (Madsen)


For my comic project, I worked with two other students, Clara and Rahmon. To create our comic, the process  consisted of four main components in sequence of, developing the story, creating the visual assets, piecing these assets together in a webpage, and then finalizing the project by adding interactivity. The story of our comic revolves around the story of a boy who gets inspired by an idea to go to the moon. As the comic progresses, the user is exposed to this boy’s journey as he pursues his dream. Initially, our visual assets had been rather detailed. However as we realized the resources and talent required to produce these visual assets for the storyline would’ve been out of reach, we opted to simplify them. The revised visual assets, although simpler, still portray our story effectively. In regards to interactivity, we were ambitious at first with ideas, but only a few could’ve been executed with our current experience with html, css, and javascript. The issue of our assets had been in regards to portrayal, we managed to provide simpler illustrations that displays the story. Additionally, the issue of our comic interactivity only came from an overly ambitious initial intention. We had many ideas for interactions, however with our experience we were only able to execute a limited few of them. Within the comic, the user will be able to interact through pages with a “growth” interaction, a television “power button” interaction, and a rocket “drag and drop.” So overall, now after completing the project and contemplating back on its process, I would say were still relatively successful in executing our original goals.

Week 2: Response Marshall McLuhan “The Medium is the Message” – Nghi (Madsen)

Marshall McLuhan elaborated upon the ideology that the medium behind communication is just as important as the message itself. As new infrastructure develops, the way an individual consumes information also changes. Although new means of communication can have benefits, a negative characteristic can be the conformity of information available. Parties in control of media infrastructures, such as the radio in McLuhan’s case, can confine public opinion by providing only the information they want the public to know. Additionally, the applicability of this conformity isn’t only limited to the structure present within McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Message.” The confinement of public opinion can occur when any mass media infrastructure in place such as television, or even the internet, becomes controlled by a small population of the people. In the case that these media sources are funded by specific corporations or parties, they can preach a biased perspective to benefit their individual beliefs.

Week 1: Response Tim Berner-Lee’s “Long Live the Web” + Bruce Sterling’s “Short History of the Internet” – Nghi (Madsen)

The irony regarding the usage of the internet, and what it was meant for, is quite intriguing. The internet had evolved to accommodate much more than its original purpose, which was for the military. Initially developed for a post-nuclear torn America, the internet instead is now used on a global scale with no single individual or nation claiming control over its entirety. However, the internet’s purpose wasn’t the only component that had evolved, the original ideals behind the infrastructure has changed. A high regard of the internet originally was to have a “free and open” infrastructure. Yet, as the usage of the internet evolved, so did this regard. As of 2018, a significant culture that has developed on the internet is that of “memes.” This seemingly arbitrary culture, which the user can be exposed to, can be deemed quite different and odd, but not necessarily bad. Although the usage and ideals behind the internet changes, the infrastructure in place continues to greatly benefit society.