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Kevin How Chin Chong RMIT University B. Interior Design 2nd Year

Interior Urban Activism Our context and space of investigation is the public space of the city. Within this studio we explore the role design could play in setting up new relationships between people and spaces, and people and people.


Within the studio we spend the first half of the semester developing and testing different approaches in public space. 1. our first action was to create an encounter with strangers along swanston street in the city. students had to develop strategies on how to approach people in public space and create an encounter, hopefully leading to an interesting conversation. 2. the second action we did is to ask students to occupy and to activate public imagination: “as kids you might have played on the streets, in parks or driveways, it seemed quite normal to take advantage of the space we share with others. through play we mark a territory in public space. on one hand we isolate ourselfs from the others, on the other hand we might be open for people to join in.” 3. the third action was an installation asking students to install an object/space in public space on or around rmit city campus using found objects and materials. 4. a highlight was he fourth project, a collaboration with postgrad students from the centre for cultural partnerships at the victorian college of art, Melbourne.


studio leader design: Rochus Urban Hinkel / studio leader technology: Ceri Hann students: Burns, Sophia / Chong, ‘Kevin’ / Cao, Thu-Ha Thuy / Cheekhooree, Vritti / Chrimes, Danielle / Delalande, Fiona / Kodrajaya, Yusak / Lacroix, Maya / Nguyen, Hoang Nancy / Owen,Juliet / Seven, Selin / Tjahjana, ‘Joy’ / Vo, Truc Thanh / Voravarn na Ayuthaya, Katikakorn / Bergman, Simon / Mohd Yusof, Alia / Obliubek, Alistair / Valk, Kerli


The Encounter - Melbourne Central

The Occupation - Footscray

This is the first action we did for the studio. We were asked to create an encounter, an experience with others. The key for this action is to communicate with strangers and to learn to communicate with people and observe the public life. Through out the whole action, I talked to different people in warious place. Some are students, some are tourist and even people working in Melbourne Central. Not all conversation held are success but mostly are towards positve direction and I am happy with that. Talking to different people from different culture, I found out that the way one talks reflect its different level of education some of its personality. Knowledge of Melbourne Central, different culture and the public space are gained throughout the whole action. The documentation in pen and paper, I found that using a recorder is way easier to document something as I found not looking at people while talking to them is not so polite.

The second action we did for the studio is to set up a play with three different games at 1hour for each game at Footscray to attract people’s attention and ask them to take part in our game. As in a group of 3 with Truc and Korn, we decided to come up with: 1. Express your feeling: To set up a piece of white paper and ask people question and let them write or draw what they want. We target on two categeries, kids and adults with two different question. Kid: What colour is the sky etc. and adult is How Breakfast make you feel today. 2. Snake and ladder: Idea from the snake and ladder board, to draw the game on ground using chalk and start to play and attract people to join us. 3. Poker Game: We chose a different venue which is half private and half public, which is a entrance hall of an residental apartment, to ask people to join us to start playing poker game.


The Occupation - Express Your Feeling - Footscray

Kids drawing what they want to express

Adults drawing/writing what they want to express


The Occupation - Snake & Ladder - Footscray

The team Kevin Truc Korn

The winner got lollies

The Snake & Ladder on ground

Playing the game

Was actually quite a seccuess to get people involved in our game and at the hour in Footscray with the big hot sun in the sky, not much people was actually walking at the area. Quite sacrificed with the result from the game held at the place. Got the chance to talk to people about what we are doing is also a great experience to share with others.


The Occupation - Poker Game - Footscray

We were refused from both

Poker Game going on


To start investigating a more privacy space comparing to a public space, we decide to move our third game into a “private-public” space. It’s a entrance of a residential apartment, where people go in and out through this space. We started our game and got refused at the very first, and then someone finally wanted join in and play poker game with us. Comparing these three actions, all are considered success, but what we found that is strangers are actually not really willing to talk or stop to and share some topic with you untill if we’re really near to them or could say those who are more friendly. From all these three actions, the main three discoveries that I found out are ‘Action’, ‘Communication’, ‘Observation’ is where is mostly needed in a public space.

The Installation - State Library of Victoria The third action in the studio that we took is INSTALLATION. We’re coverd by house everyday. Have you ever think of being homeless, or living by the streer? In this action, we were asked to install a shelter for the homeless. Being an experience, we took the action individually for personal experience and then we group ourselves in to group of four and then start installing the shelter. Group work: Alia, Kevin, Korn, Truc

Alia in action

Our shelter

Shelter for two

Kevin in action

Passer-by reaction

Milk crates, water-proof cupboard


The Carte Blanche (with VCA) WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE? Bored of being yourself and want to take 1 or 2 minutes off? We made up a chance to let you be! Let you be someone else! Sticking up cut cupboards at the entrance of the lift and door, making you to walk through someone today! We set up to let people walk through and see how they react. Group work: Maya, Kerli, Kevin

Great result, great people and really enjoy doing work with Maya and Kerli. Love to be someone else for a few minutes if there’s a chance!


What did I discover about public space?

From the overall project, I found that public space is a great place to conduct an activity or a particular play. Action done in public space has nothing to do with people that pass by the places. What and how people react has no guarantee as people have no responsibility to get in touch with us while people have their freedom of what they want to do or how they want to act. Just for example for the Occupation project at Footscray, when we have our games and activities going on, people refused to take part in our games. We have the freedom of doing things in public space as long as not against the rules and regulation of the public space. The way how people keep in a distance from others show a great example of what is private and public. In public space, some people have their own ideal private space. They don’t like people to stay too near to them. For some people, they will approach us if there’s something odd happening in an unusual place, just like our VCA project. People started to feel curious and then they’ll start to approach us. As within the few minutes, relationship between the people and the space will be established. With no obstruction of communication, people will then start to feel more comfortable when they’re more familiar with the space. There’s also the freedom of speaking or acting appropriately in the public space. With correct language and words, people will not stop you from doing that.

What did you discover about people in public space?

While observing public space during my projects, I found that all people in public space are very unique and the way how they act, how they react, actually reflects who they are or maybe who they will be in the future. They way how people communicate to other in a public space are also very important. To avoid misunderstanding, people have to communicate well and the way of communication is also very important like using correct words and correct volume. While observing a space, there’s lots of people walking through the space, I found that we cannot judge people too quickly as what we see it’s only their outlook and it’s our own impression. Communicate is also the best way to know a person before we judge them. While doing the Encounter project in Melbourne Central, to start talking to strangers is actually quite a hard task at first, as we have to communicate with them and the build a relationship within us, him and the space and then later on only we can ask him about giving comment or react what we need in our project. How people react and the different habit of the different people is also what I discovered from all these projects. Some people will care more about the public and will pay more attention about what we doing and will we endanger others or even just to know more about what we doing. In a public space, different things happen at the same time, but I discovered that sound usually attracts people more sight. Things that come in to one’s mind through smelling, listening or looking will then sent to the brain, proceed and transform into useful information.


What did I discover about myself?

The most three main discoveries that I found in these projects are Communication, Observation and Action. Communication is very important in the society and while we need to be more observant to the environment, the people and things around us. Action refers that we need to be more courageous to take action or to look around action that is happening around us. What I discovered about myself is that I found my courage to talk to others that I never realize before. As for observation, I think that I’m quite a observant people and that I’m able to observe the area quite well. I think that I have to boost up my communication skills after doing all these projects as I discovered that communication is really a very useful tool. By doing all observation did in these projects, it really helped me to understand the relationship within the space, the people and myself. By looking at people’s behavior in the public space, I eventually learnt and get to know which is the better way to behave when I’m in a public space. From looking lots of different people, things and design everywhere, it actually help me to boost my thinking and get more ideas when I’m walking through a space or wandering in an area. From all what I gained this these projects and the future project, I’m sure that I’ll be able to fully utilize them in coordinate with what I have learnt. I’m more interested in the Installation and the Pyschogeography project.

Private or Public? The Chair walk - RMIT Bowen Lane & State Library

Bringing the item in the private into the public space, attract a lot of people’s attention. It’s actually weird to have chairs from the lecture room to the lawn in front of the State Library. Being such an action, it actually managed to get what we want to gain in the studio. Besides that also let us have the idea between the private and public spaces.


DO YOU KNOW? DO YOU KNOW THAT Action - Yarra River Bank, State Library of Victoria After all these actions we took in the studio for the previous time, I found out the installation in the public can actually attract a lot of people’s attention and could gain experience and what we learnt in the studio. I came up with an idea of installing some odd installation in the public space to attract people go actually walk near the installation and read it and then gain relationship between the people, the space and the item that is installed in the space. Idea is to transfer knowledge to the public via a more interesting way comparing to reading a book with thousand of words and letting people to know more about the space that they’re using, because very often, we use the place, but we don’t know about it. 1. DO YOU KNOW triangle fruit installed at tree outside State Library To install a triangle shape paper made fruit with printed question and answer of the State Library on the tree outside the State Library. 2. DO YOU KNOW THAT fact sheet on lawn outside State Library To install fact sheets along a string about the State Library on the lawn outside the State Library to attract people’s attention. 3. DO YOU KNOW sheet on hand rail along Yarra River bank To install sheet with folded answers along hand rail along Yarra River bank about the Fed Square, Eureka Tower, Yarra River and the Flinders Street Station. 4. DO YOU KNOW THAT fact sheet on path along Yarra River Bank To install fact sheet along path along Yarra River bank about the Fed Square, Eureka Tower, Yarra River and the Flinders Street Station.


DO YOU KNOW? DO YOU KNOW THAT Action - State Library of Victoria Triangle Fruit

Fact Sheet

Feedback State Library Staff: Great way for public to know more about the library. Building and Safety Dept: You need $20000 public insurance to set up this. Triangle Fruit Installation was taken down after 30mins by the sercurity of the State Library.


DO YOU KNOW? DO YOU KNOW THAT Action - Yarra River Bank Fact Sheet Q&A Sheet

Was invited to join the grants program under The Signal, Australia after I did the action.

Feedback via text message:

+61434308397: Hi, I loved all your interesting facts that you’ve put on the bank of Yarra. Congratulations to everyone involved and thanks. +61407329946: Love the do you know project. You should check out our grants program under get involved at

Outcome: The outcome of this action is not what I want. Quite dissapointed with that. After I think about it, I think that it should be the paper colour not attractive enough and is not that visible at the eye level when you pass by. Many of them were distroyed by the strong wind and passer by as well.



Personal portfolio of Kevin Chong


Personal portfolio of Kevin Chong