Detention Class

Armenian Street Party, 2017

Photograph of classroom set up outdoors. Some people are solving puzzles. Actors dressed as students sit on the teacher's table. Graffiti is all over the walls.
Participants solve puzzles to escape detention class.

In March 2017, I was commissioned by The Substation to design puzzles for Detention Class, an outdoor pop-up installation celebrating “creativity and playfulness, the two things that might have landed you in detention back in school.”

The installation was part escape room and part immersive theater. Puzzle-inclined visitors decoded ciphers and cracked locks to break into the teacher’s desk, where a treasure trove of chewing gum awaited them. Others played trashcan basketball and shot the breeze with the resident delinquents, played by Shaiful Risan and his band of punks.

Detention Class ran for two nights, over the course of the 2017 Armenian Street Party.

Photograph of a man standing behind the teacher's desk in an outdoor classroom and writing on a paper. The blackboard behind him has many things written on it: a list of banned books, a student duty roster, and the date.
Photograph of a wall placed on road with the heading, Detention Class. Next four lines are in four different languages: english, chinese, malay, and tamil. The first line in english reads, to nurture the obedient leaders of our tomorrow.
Left: Shaiful Risan preps for the next set of visitors. Right: the tongue-in-cheek inscription on the outside of the installation.