Jiva – atma

Abstract or Summary of Project

The project aims to share the philosophical phases of the inner self from rebirth to liberation. The concepts are specifically shared via interactive and contemporary metaphorical means. It was aimed to make understanding of the concepts easier to the general and new aged audience.

What ideologies will be shared?
The project aims to share ideologies such as Samsara (rebirth), Karma, Practice of Yoga and Moksha (liberation) in Hinduism.

Why interactive exhibition and not other mediums?

I strongly believe that the process of physically experiencing the metaphors followed by coming across its revealing content creates room for effective learning. Also interactivity triggers curiosity and engagement which is key to truly understanding any kind of concept.

Process and More Details

The concept behind Jiva – atma was triggered from the significant role water had in Hinduism. Upon further research I came across complex and philosophical concepts to the path towards liberation in Hinduism. So what is actually liberation? – The path to liberation is not easy. The inner self also known as the soul, is bonded in the endless cycle of rebirth (samsara) because of the karmic law. With the practice of meditation and selflessness ones atma may someday, after several lifetime, be able to break free from the cycle of rebirth and achieve liberation. Liberation is the ultimate state of oneness. Hard to grasp what I just said? Simplification to these complexed philosophies became the concept behind the jiva- atma (inner self) exhibition.
Systems used in this project
1. Invites – Print and Edm
2. Metaphorical series – 4 sets of metaphor, each consisting of 1 or more products, revealing texts and a poster
3. Website

1. Print invites and EDM
– to inform
– 2 mediums used to attract more audience to the exhibit.

The colour black and white is a contradictory colour to the vibrant spiritual culture in Hinduism. However I aim to trigger interest with the alarming use of colours. Having said that the simplicity of the colours and design layout with plenty of negative space enhances the concept of reduction much like how I have aimed to express complex ideas using simple metaphors.


2. Metaphorical Series
Each metaphor reveals the concept after or while experiencing the physical product. The act of revealing ties in with the project’s intention of unraveling these complex ideologies. Moreover the act of revealing enhances the user experience and shares an intended strong statement. The exhibition posters aims to briefly share the ideologies that its metaphor represent. The design style of the poster and all other written context within the metaphors stay consistent with the idea of reduction and simplicity as mentioned above.

Metaphor (1)

The water in the clay pot represents the atma (inner self), the pot itself represents the physical body of a being. Audience will be made to break the clay pot on an acrylic container. Upon destruction of the pot one will observe that the water remains at its original state, much like the concept of samsara, where the atma remains despite the death of the material body. The water can be transferred into another material containment, in this case the acrylic container —this is a representation of the process where the atma is able to possess one material from to another, endlessly until it reaches Moksha.

Metaphor (2)

This metaphor focuses on representing the karmic law of cause and effect. Following the instructions one will be made to make a circular mark around the black piece of paper. The marks can be only seen at the next white page. The circular mark they had made then creates a visual hierarchy drawing the audience’s attention to read the content. By using a wooden tool to go over the black page one is not able to see the marks they have caused, much like the concept of karma where one may be ignorant towards his/her actions. The white page symbolises the act of the karmic law of effect in the next lifetime, where one’s doing is experienced and observed. The use of black and white pages can also be perceived as ignorance and realisation of the karmic law respectively.

Metaphor (3)
Raja Yoga

The game provokes one to balance both thoughts and physical movements in order to meet the game requirement of filling all the indentations with the metal ball-bearings. The ability to unite both thoughts and physical movements to reach a “focal point” serves as the metaphorical expression of the concept Raja yoga. Raja yoga is a practice that helps to bring together the inner thoughts and body to create balance for the purpose of meditation. The elevated woodblocks found in some of the games serves as a symbol of obstacles, much like the distractions in our minds one may have during the course of a meditative practice. It enhances the idea that without overcoming obstacles and distractions one is not able to attain the state of balance for mediation.

Metaphor (4)

The bottle, anthropomorphic symbol, acts as an illusion of containment that forces the mind to see everything as separate, like the air within and air outside the bottle. Upon moksha the atma (inner self) in this case represented by the air within the bottle cannot be differentiated as it departs from its material body— the bottle. In the ideology of Moksha when the atma (inner self) achieves liberation it attains the state of oneness by becoming one with the world. The metaphor — air represents the ultimate state of oneness. When one is not able to differentiate the air within and the air outside the bottle, they will be thought provoked.


3. Website
Each exhibition poster is tagged along with a QR code. Scanning the QR code will direct the audience to the website that will have detailed explanation of the concept and the metaphors used.

The purpose of this medium is to enable audience to learn more about the concepts at their own time, after visiting the exhibition. The website is not given away in the invitations and one will only be able to access it from the visit to the exhibit and onwards. This is to secure the element of experience and effective understanding – aim of the exhibition.

Inspiration for the way the website system works:
After attending a talk regarding the development of museums held by an Italian museum historian, I learnt that audiences do not prefer overload of information. Also in this era, audiences have tendency to enjoy information that can be portable, allowing them to learn more at their own time and pace. Inspired by the talk I had create my website system to be able to act as a set of “archive”. Because my concept is very deep and complex, 1 poster for each concept will not do justice in presenting the concept in its whole entity. The website comes with more elaboration and information about the concepts and the exhibition. This will enable the audience to learn more about the concept after their visit to the exhibit, at their own time and pace.


The following link will direct you to the website preview.

Website (click here to view)


I came across many hardships in this project, especially in translating such deep and complex concepts. The idea of using metaphors for this project popped up one day as I found myself using simplification to explain the concepts to my circle of peers who were not really convinced when i had just explain the concept as it is in theory . I then realised the power of simplification and decided to do more with this idea. Coming up with the appropriate metaphors needed intense planning as the use of wrong or dual meaning metaphors could cause easy misinterpretation.

I feel like during this course of project I came out of my little box where i am easily influenced by everyone’s else’s idea and way of thinking. This project somehow became a part of me with the freshly “baked” metaphors out of my head.

Secondly, I feel that I have missed out in putting up the working in a real space to have a sense of its visual appearance in a real set up, with more time I believe i would have been able to do more for this project.

The project had taught me the importance of conceptual thinking process.  Concepts do indeed enhances a design and brings more value and meaning to it. Most importantly i was able to learn about the heart of Hindu ideologies, this was a more personal enhancement for me. Overall, i had a good time and learning experience working on this project.


Reference to the information seen on the website





URL(s) of Video or Trailer


Posted on

March 27, 2015

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