ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Featuring existing works by Ming Wong and Ben Slater with Sherman Ong, and newly commissioned works by Amanda Lee Koe, Godwin Koay, Hilmi Johandi, Jeremy Sharma, Joo Choon Lin, Randy Chan, The Observatory and Ujikaji.

Amanda Lee Koe at Bugis Junction, the site of former Bugis Street
No One Wants To Dance (2017)

Amanda Lee Koe

Amanda Lee Koe is a writer interested in the performativity of language, representation and intimacy. Her debut short story collection Ministry of Moral Panic won the Singapore Literature Prize and was long listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Recent work appears in e-flux, Asymptote and Guernica. Based between Singapore and New York, she is working on her first novel.

No One Wants To Dance (2017)

An encounter is staged in a swank karaoke lounge opposite Bugis Street—where less than forty years ago, transient sailors, satay hawkers and transgendered sex workers mingled freely—one of the iconic locations in Saint Jack, now an air-conditioned shopping mall.

No One Wants To Dance uses tropes and language (karaoke midi to hyperfemme kitsch to pop lyric slur to archival anecdote) to explore problematics of authenticity, stereotypes and representation sired by the film’s straight white male gaze on sultry Singapore of 1979, sharing conversations with and performances by Anita, a vivacious Bugis Street old-timer who tells us how Bugis Street “felt like home”.

Godwin Koay at the Army Market of Golden Mile Food Centre, Beach Road
Cover and Concealment (2017)

Godwin Koay

Godwin Koay is an artist and art worker dealing with textual and visual material. Their research-driven practice takes the Singaporean nation-state as a departure point to interrogate globally emergent neoreactionary currents. Its hegemonic political, social, material, and aesthetic paradigms are used to consider the possibilities for autonomous rupture, which is addressed through digital, pigment, and print processes.

Cover and Concealment (2017)

In an age of enclosing networks of predictive surveillance, allegiances seem unbreakable and identities increasingly essentialised. The tactical concepts of cover and concealment are borrowed as terms to examine personal agency in relation to governmentality and management, and how dissent, desertion, evasion, or emancipation may be formulated or prevented. Reference is taken from the 1971 film In Search of the Unreturned Soldiers in Malaysia that tracked down soldiers of Japan who had taken cover in the post-war peninsula with new concealed lives. Situated between histories of spatial reordering and regimented citizenry on Beach Road, the work is inserted into this environment to contemplate dislodgement from the violence in pledges of loyalty to power.

Jeremy Sharma at Labrador Park Battery Site
Slow Fury (2017)

Jeremy Sharma

Jeremy Sharma works across all media around ideas of aesthetics and production. His practice investigates various modes of enquiry in the information age, addressing our present relationship to modernity and interconnectivity in the everyday and our place in an increasingly fragmented and artificial reality.

His work has been the subject of critical discussion in various print and online publications including Asian Art News, Asia Art Pacific and Wall Street International and is part of a number of public and private collections. He also teaches with the Faculty of Fine Arts at the LASALLE College of the Arts.

Slow Fury (2017)

Based on the adaptation of a medieval idea of the mysterious picture which hides the truth to be disclosed, this installation blends programme, image, light, sound and dance to produce fleeting monuments that is at once solid and atmospheric. Once a memory exiled from popular consciousness, Singapore’s only and forgotten gangster and martial arts film Ring of Fury by Tony Yeow undergoes an electronic and digital transformation made up of individual light nodes. A literal, metaphorical and translated imagery of light from the flickering screens reimagines the endurance of memory and history on the passing of time in forgotten film and war history recreated in Labrador Park again. The installation is also a collaboration with choreographer Nina Djekić who will be responding to the installation and site, questioning the mnemonic potential of dance and choreography. Nina’s practice deals with relationships between bodies, objects and space in exhibitionary settings and the reconsideration of vision as ‘felt perception’.

Acknowledgements:

Project Manager – Corine Chan
Choreographer/Movement – Nina Djekić
Lighting Engineer – Raj Mayuran
Performance/Movement – Foxkid Luca
Voice – Bradley Foisset
Soundtrack – Dharma
Technical and Installation – Joel Chin and Nicholas Lim

Joo Choon Lin at Hong Lim Park
Glue Your Eyelids Together (2017)

Joo Choon Lin

Underlying Joo’s practice is her philosophical interest in the nature of reality which might be summarized in terms of the philosophers’ longstanding investigation into the relations between appearance and essence. Choon Lin’s own investigation into these questions is also informed by her interest in technological developments: as the various technologies of representation devise new ways of capturing the likeness of things, so the quality of the surfaces of these things undergoes a transformation. Consequently, reality itself appears as if reconfigured. She has been experimenting with a range of materials and media as a means to examine the relations between visual and tactile experiences.

joochoonlin.com
ringmastertoymaker.wordpress.com

Glue Your Eyelids Together (2017)

The work is, in its moribund nature, designed to deform and destroy over time. A large block of rock is structured around hidden balloons. When the balloons are allowed to deflate over time, the rock will succumb and crumble. Its remains tethered to knitted chains are akin to intact nerves. The destructive elements create a kind of divine or ghostly presence residing within objects.

There is something liberating in witnessing these inanimate death objects transforming amidst such a mordantly physical activity. It is a visceral spectacle that that viewers can themselves empathise and become entwined in. These violent manipulations are conceived for the transformations to occur to derive aesthetic pleasure. A veil of familiarity masks the potential for violence that the object’s disposability instils upon them.

The Observatory at the bridge to Far East Plaza

The Observatory

The current constellation of The Observatory are vibrations of shifting rhythms, synth bass space, oscillators and abused guitars. Repetition is at the heart of their riff. Hammering out a certain truth. Noise, rock, and melancholy.

The heart and soul of The Observatory is in its constant reinvention. Since their formation in 2001, the band has gone from folk electronica to prog to avant rock, taking a stylistic sledgehammer to each and every one of their previous releases, and approaching a more primal sound in recent years.

Down The Up Escalator Forever (2017)

“I am supposed to say something to the children in the Singapore audience. These children who are doomed to ride the up escalator forever.” – David Bowie

A trench coat-adorned Bowie, who with but a hint of curiosity, traverses the brightly-lit escalators and overhead bridge at the then newly-built Far East Plaza. Culminating with him sitting ponderously at the fountain at the building’s atrium, he is as if an alien who had wandered into an equally strange world.

Responding to this iconic scene in Ricochet, an ephemeral music performance will be built loosely around the Far East Plaza locale. This brief moment will reflect upon the fleeting nature of Bowie’s presence within Singapore and its resonance. An anomaly that could only be so for its very brevity.

Melantun Records (梦澜吞唱片)

Ujikaji

Ujikaji means ‘experiment’ in Malay. Ujikaji is an independent music label and organiser of DIY music events. Our interests lie in the curation of fiercely experimental music, whether in the rock, jazz, electronic, or other idioms, but with a special focus on Southeast Asian artists and sounds. We support independent artists in the production aspects of releasing their music, establishing a complementary partnership that allows them to focus on the creative aspects of music-making.

ujikaji.bigcartel.com
facebook.com/ujikajirecords

Melantun Records (梦澜吞唱片)

Inspired by David Bowie’s 1983 concert in Singapore and release of the tour documentary Ricochet, Melantun Records (梦澜吞唱片) opened in Far East Plaza in 1984.

Through the decades, Melantun has seen the ebbs and flows of the record store business, remaining a pillar of the music scene and a stalwart of the undergound, independent and experimental.

Visitors enter a place where the past, present and future of underground music culture in Singapore converge. In-store gigs facilitate the direct transmission of a musician’s creative impulse to an audience. The space of the record store becomes a cultural and intellectual economy, facilitating knowledge production and exchange.

Ben Slater (left) with Tony Yeow on the set of Tony's Long March
Film still from Tony’s Long March (2015)

Ben Slater & Sherman Ong

BEN SLATER is a screenwriter and critic with considerable experience working across various creative fields, including film production, theatre, performance and digital and audio art.

SHERMAN ONG is a filmmaker, photographer and visual artist. His practice has always centered on the human condition and our relationships with others within the larger milieu.

Tony’s Long March (2015)

Runtime: 39 minutes
Rating: PG
Languages: English, Chinese
Directors: Ben Slater & Sherman Ong
Producers: Ben Slater & Sherman Ong
Cast: Tony Yeow, Ben Slater
(Available for viewing from 15 JAN onwards)

A “has-been who never was,” the late Tony Yeow was involved in film, television and theatre in Singapore for 45 years. He co-directed and produced Singapore’s first and only kung fu film in the 70s, was a key crew member for Peter Bogdanovich’s Saint Jack in 1978, and inadvertently kickstarted the revival of feature films in Singapore in the 1990s. All of his films were flops or failures, and yet Tony was always dreaming about the next movie, and the one after that. This documentary is an affectionate and moving portrait which allows Tony to tell his own story, taking us on a journey through a rich and complex cultural history, and revealing the self-deprecating humour and extraordinary spirit that kept him going.

Hilmi Johandi at The Plaza, National Library Building
Hotel from Utopia and Stagehands (2017)

Hilmi Johandi

Hilmi Johandi uses cinematic language to develop methods of compressing temporal and physical spaces into non-linear narratives in his paintings. In his recent solo exhibitions, Framing Camellia and Dusk to Dawn | Fajar ke Senja, he turns his gaze to Singapore in the late 50s and 60s. He composes and synthesises images from film, archival footages and photographs into a fragmented montage that hints at the social effects of rapid development, and the personal desires and despairs of those who attempt to embrace modernisation. Hilmi graduated from Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Arts. He has participated in a number of exhibitions in Singapore where he lives and works.

Utopia and Stagehands (2017)

Utopia & Stagehands revolves around the appropriation of media recorded visual signifiers of Singapore’s landscape through paintings and video. Decontextualised images are mediated by the artist and transformed into centralised figures, portrayed as sequences made to anticipate an imagined event on stage. The work visually replicates portions of what appears like staged sets. This montage of fragments is presented as the mutable nature of sets, props and actors employed on a stage or film studio. The paintings are to be seen as a continuous dialogue of the familiar and nostalgic, which are essentially synthesized from stills taken from the selected films.

Close up of Filem-Filem-Filem (2008)

Ming Wong

Ming Wong reinterprets iconic moments from world cinema and popular culture in his videos, photographs, installations and performances, often portraying multiple key characters irrespective of language, gender, ethnicity, nationality or historical period.

Through imperfect translations and re-enactments, the artist uncovers the gaps and slippages that haunt the notions of “authenticity” and “originality” in self and society, and reveals how one’s identity is constructed, reproduced and circulated.

The Singapore-born, Berlin-based artist represented Singapore at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 with his solo presentation Life of Imitation, which was awarded a Special Mention. He has had solo exhibitions at leading institutions worldwide, including Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2015); Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo (2013); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2012); and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (2010). Wong has been included in numerous international biennials, including Sydney Biennale (2016 & 2010); Shanghai Biennale (2014); Lyon Biennale (2013); Liverpool Biennial (2012); Gwangju Biennale (2010); Performa 11, New York (2010).

Filem-Filem-Filem (2008)

Originally built as ‘dream palaces’ for the local masses, cinemas were invariably grand and modernist, designed in styles that included Art Deco, Bauhaus and International Style, vernacularized for the Asian tropical climate.

The pictures of the cinemas in the exhibition are Polaroids taken with a manual medium format camera. They give the viewer a mixed sense of time and place: they have an intimacy and immediacy, as an ‘instant’ snapshot of a place, frozen in time forever – although in reality all of these pictures have been painstakingly stitched together digitally from several photographs.

The Polaroid was also developed around the same time as many of these cinemas, so the medium and subject are about the same age and both are becoming obsolete. Seen collectively, the Polaroid cinemas could be read like human portraits, with stories untold of past glories, and facing uncertain futures, reveal their vulnerability.

Randy Chan at The Plaza, National Library Building
Installation view of Palimpsest (2017)

Randy Chan

One of Singapore’s leading young architects, Randy’s architectural and design experience includes work on projects as diverse as stage design, private housing, cluster housing and master-planning – all of which are guided by the simple philosophy that architecture and the aesthetics originate from the same impulse. Randy takes a multidisciplinary architectural approach to his projects, working at the intersection of art and architecture. His recent works include Building as a Body, a collaboration with local designer qwodrent commissioned by the Singapore Art Museum, and was awarded the prestigious Design of the Year at the President’s Design Award 2012. He was also Creative Director of Singapore: Inside Out, a travelling showcase of Singapore’s talent that travelled to Beijing, London, New York and Singapore in celebration of Singapore’s golden jubilee in 2015.

Palimpsest (2017)

Singapore has always had a conflicted relationship with its own image. A national narrative is never just one of the past, but one biased towards the future. In this pursuit of image making, some truths will not just be inconvenient, but also irreconcilable.

A re-creation of the Wayang Kulit stage celebrates South-East Asian theatricality. The presence of the physical Wayang stage highlights the absence of its live actors; the presentation of multiple realities in filmic media brings to mind what could only have been symbolically referenced on the Wayang stage. New relations are drawn between film and theatre as the set-up contrasts and complements, while setting up the ambiguous boundary between representation and reality.

This deliberate confusion between representation and reality is used to question: what are the facets of Singapore that has been buried behind its own national narrative?

“This is not a just image, this is just an image.”
– Jean-Luc Godard

Amanda Lee Koe

No One Wants To Dance (2017)
Amanda Lee Koe at Bugis Junction, the site of former Bugis Street
>
No One Wants To Dance (2017)
>

Amanda Lee Koe is a writer interested in the performativity of language, representation and intimacy. Her debut short story collection Ministry of Moral Panic won the Singapore Literature Prize and was long listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Recent work appears in e-flux, Asymptote and Guernica. Based between Singapore and New York, she is working on her first novel.

No One Wants To Dance (2017)

An encounter is staged in a swank karaoke lounge opposite Bugis Street—where less than forty years ago, transient sailors, satay hawkers and transgendered sex workers mingled freely—one of the iconic locations in Saint Jack, now an air-conditioned shopping mall.

No One Wants To Dance uses tropes and language (karaoke midi to hyperfemme kitsch to pop lyric slur to archival anecdote) to explore problematics of authenticity, stereotypes and representation sired by the film’s straight white male gaze on sultry Singapore of 1979, sharing conversations with and performances by Anita, a vivacious Bugis Street old-timer who tells us how Bugis Street “felt like home”.

Godwin Koay

Cover and Concealment (2017)
Godwin Koay at the Army Market of Golden Mile Food Centre, Beach Road
>
Cover and Concealment (2017)
>

Godwin Koay is an artist and art worker dealing with textual and visual material. Their research-driven practice takes the Singaporean nation-state as a departure point to interrogate globally emergent neoreactionary currents. Its hegemonic political, social, material, and aesthetic paradigms are used to consider the possibilities for autonomous rupture, which is addressed through digital, pigment, and print processes.

Cover and Concealment (2017)

In an age of enclosing networks of predictive surveillance, allegiances seem unbreakable and identities increasingly essentialised. The tactical concepts of cover and concealment are borrowed as terms to examine personal agency in relation to governmentality and management, and how dissent, desertion, evasion, or emancipation may be formulated or prevented. Reference is taken from the 1971 film In Search of the Unreturned Soldiers in Malaysia that tracked down soldiers of Japan who had taken cover in the post-war peninsula with new concealed lives. Situated between histories of spatial reordering and regimented citizenry on Beach Road, the work is inserted into this environment to contemplate dislodgement from the violence in pledges of loyalty to power.

Jeremy Sharma

Slow Fury (2017)
Jeremy Sharma at Labrador Park Battery Site
>
Slow Fury (2017)
>

Jeremy Sharma works across all media around ideas of aesthetics and production. His practice investigates various modes of enquiry in the information age, addressing our present relationship to modernity and interconnectivity in the everyday and our place in an increasingly fragmented and artificial reality.

His work has been the subject of critical discussion in various print and online publications including Asian Art News, Asia Art Pacific and Wall Street International and is part of a number of public and private collections. He also teaches with the Faculty of Fine Arts at the LASALLE College of the Arts.

Slow Fury (2017)

Based on the adaptation of a medieval idea of the mysterious picture which hides the truth to be disclosed, this installation blends programme, image, light, sound and dance to produce fleeting monuments that is at once solid and atmospheric. Once a memory exiled from popular consciousness, Singapore’s only and forgotten gangster and martial arts film Ring of Fury by Tony Yeow undergoes an electronic and digital transformation made up of individual light nodes. A literal, metaphorical and translated imagery of light from the flickering screens reimagines the endurance of memory and history on the passing of time in forgotten film and war history recreated in Labrador Park again. The installation is also a collaboration with choreographer Nina Djekić who will be responding to the installation and site, questioning the mnemonic potential of dance and choreography. Nina’s practice deals with relationships between bodies, objects and space in exhibitionary settings and the reconsideration of vision as ‘felt perception’.

Acknowledgements:

Project Manager – Corine Chan
Choreographer/Movement – Nina Djekić
Lighting Engineer – Raj Mayuran
Performance/Movement – Foxkid Luca
Voice – Bradley Foisset
Soundtrack – Dharma
Technical and Installation – Joel Chin and Nicholas Lim

Joo Choon Lin

Glue Your Eyelids Together (2017)
Joo Choon Lin at Hong Lim Park
>
Glue Your Eyelids Together (2017)
>

Underlying Joo’s practice is her philosophical interest in the nature of reality which might be summarized in terms of the philosophers’ longstanding investigation into the relations between appearance and essence. Choon Lin’s own investigation into these questions is also informed by her interest in technological developments: as the various technologies of representation devise new ways of capturing the likeness of things, so the quality of the surfaces of these things undergoes a transformation. Consequently, reality itself appears as if reconfigured. She has been experimenting with a range of materials and media as a means to examine the relations between visual and tactile experiences.

joochoonlin.com
ringmastertoymaker.wordpress.com

Glue Your Eyelids Together (2017)

The work is, in its moribund nature, designed to deform and destroy over time. A large block of rock is structured around hidden balloons. When the balloons are allowed to deflate over time, the rock will succumb and crumble. Its remains tethered to knitted chains are akin to intact nerves. The destructive elements create a kind of divine or ghostly presence residing within objects.

There is something liberating in witnessing these inanimate death objects transforming amidst such a mordantly physical activity. It is a visceral spectacle that that viewers can themselves empathise and become entwined in. These violent manipulations are conceived for the transformations to occur to derive aesthetic pleasure. A veil of familiarity masks the potential for violence that the object’s disposability instils upon them.

The Observatory

Down The Up Escalator Forever (2017)
The Observatory at the bridge to Far East Plaza
>

The current constellation of The Observatory are vibrations of shifting rhythms, synth bass space, oscillators and abused guitars. Repetition is at the heart of their riff. Hammering out a certain truth. Noise, rock, and melancholy.

The heart and soul of The Observatory is in its constant reinvention. Since their formation in 2001, the band has gone from folk electronica to prog to avant rock, taking a stylistic sledgehammer to each and every one of their previous releases, and approaching a more primal sound in recent years.

Down The Up Escalator Forever (2017)

“I am supposed to say something to the children in the Singapore audience. These children who are doomed to ride the up escalator forever.” – David Bowie

A trench coat-adorned Bowie, who with but a hint of curiosity, traverses the brightly-lit escalators and overhead bridge at the then newly-built Far East Plaza. Culminating with him sitting ponderously at the fountain at the building’s atrium, he is as if an alien who had wandered into an equally strange world.

Responding to this iconic scene in Ricochet, an ephemeral music performance will be built loosely around the Far East Plaza locale. This brief moment will reflect upon the fleeting nature of Bowie’s presence within Singapore and its resonance. An anomaly that could only be so for its very brevity.

Ujikaji

Melantun Records (梦澜吞唱片)
Melantun Records (梦澜吞唱片)
>

Ujikaji means ‘experiment’ in Malay. Ujikaji is an independent music label and organiser of DIY music events. Our interests lie in the curation of fiercely experimental music, whether in the rock, jazz, electronic, or other idioms, but with a special focus on Southeast Asian artists and sounds. We support independent artists in the production aspects of releasing their music, establishing a complementary partnership that allows them to focus on the creative aspects of music-making.

ujikaji.bigcartel.com
facebook.com/ujikajirecords

Melantun Records (梦澜吞唱片)

Inspired by David Bowie’s 1983 concert in Singapore and release of the tour documentary Ricochet, Melantun Records (梦澜吞唱片) opened in Far East Plaza in 1984.

Through the decades, Melantun has seen the ebbs and flows of the record store business, remaining a pillar of the music scene and a stalwart of the undergound, independent and experimental.

Visitors enter a place where the past, present and future of underground music culture in Singapore converge. In-store gigs facilitate the direct transmission of a musician’s creative impulse to an audience. The space of the record store becomes a cultural and intellectual economy, facilitating knowledge production and exchange.

Ben Slater & Sherman Ong

Tony’s Long March (2015)
Ben Slater (left) with Tony Yeow on the set of Tony's Long March
>
Film still from Tony’s Long March (2015)
>

BEN SLATER is a screenwriter and critic with considerable experience working across various creative fields, including film production, theatre, performance and digital and audio art.

SHERMAN ONG is a filmmaker, photographer and visual artist. His practice has always centered on the human condition and our relationships with others within the larger milieu.

Tony’s Long March (2015)

Runtime: 39 minutes
Rating: PG
Languages: English, Chinese
Directors: Ben Slater & Sherman Ong
Producers: Ben Slater & Sherman Ong
Cast: Tony Yeow, Ben Slater
(Available for viewing from 15 JAN onwards)

A “has-been who never was,” the late Tony Yeow was involved in film, television and theatre in Singapore for 45 years. He co-directed and produced Singapore’s first and only kung fu film in the 70s, was a key crew member for Peter Bogdanovich’s Saint Jack in 1978, and inadvertently kickstarted the revival of feature films in Singapore in the 1990s. All of his films were flops or failures, and yet Tony was always dreaming about the next movie, and the one after that. This documentary is an affectionate and moving portrait which allows Tony to tell his own story, taking us on a journey through a rich and complex cultural history, and revealing the self-deprecating humour and extraordinary spirit that kept him going.

Hilmi Johandi

Utopia and Stagehands (2017)
Hilmi Johandi at The Plaza, National Library Building
>
Hotel from Utopia and Stagehands (2017)
>

Hilmi Johandi uses cinematic language to develop methods of compressing temporal and physical spaces into non-linear narratives in his paintings. In his recent solo exhibitions, Framing Camellia and Dusk to Dawn | Fajar ke Senja, he turns his gaze to Singapore in the late 50s and 60s. He composes and synthesises images from film, archival footages and photographs into a fragmented montage that hints at the social effects of rapid development, and the personal desires and despairs of those who attempt to embrace modernisation. Hilmi graduated from Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Arts. He has participated in a number of exhibitions in Singapore where he lives and works.

Utopia and Stagehands (2017)

Utopia & Stagehands revolves around the appropriation of media recorded visual signifiers of Singapore’s landscape through paintings and video. Decontextualised images are mediated by the artist and transformed into centralised figures, portrayed as sequences made to anticipate an imagined event on stage. The work visually replicates portions of what appears like staged sets. This montage of fragments is presented as the mutable nature of sets, props and actors employed on a stage or film studio. The paintings are to be seen as a continuous dialogue of the familiar and nostalgic, which are essentially synthesized from stills taken from the selected films.

Ming Wong

Filem-Filem-Filem (2008)
Close up of Filem-Filem-Filem (2008)
>

Ming Wong reinterprets iconic moments from world cinema and popular culture in his videos, photographs, installations and performances, often portraying multiple key characters irrespective of language, gender, ethnicity, nationality or historical period.

Through imperfect translations and re-enactments, the artist uncovers the gaps and slippages that haunt the notions of “authenticity” and “originality” in self and society, and reveals how one’s identity is constructed, reproduced and circulated.

The Singapore-born, Berlin-based artist represented Singapore at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 with his solo presentation Life of Imitation, which was awarded a Special Mention. He has had solo exhibitions at leading institutions worldwide, including Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2015); Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo (2013); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2012); and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (2010). Wong has been included in numerous international biennials, including Sydney Biennale (2016 & 2010); Shanghai Biennale (2014); Lyon Biennale (2013); Liverpool Biennial (2012); Gwangju Biennale (2010); Performa 11, New York (2010).

Filem-Filem-Filem (2008)

Originally built as ‘dream palaces’ for the local masses, cinemas were invariably grand and modernist, designed in styles that included Art Deco, Bauhaus and International Style, vernacularized for the Asian tropical climate.

The pictures of the cinemas in the exhibition are Polaroids taken with a manual medium format camera. They give the viewer a mixed sense of time and place: they have an intimacy and immediacy, as an ‘instant’ snapshot of a place, frozen in time forever – although in reality all of these pictures have been painstakingly stitched together digitally from several photographs.

The Polaroid was also developed around the same time as many of these cinemas, so the medium and subject are about the same age and both are becoming obsolete. Seen collectively, the Polaroid cinemas could be read like human portraits, with stories untold of past glories, and facing uncertain futures, reveal their vulnerability.

Randy Chan

Palimpsest (2017)
Randy Chan at The Plaza, National Library Building
>
Installation view of Palimpsest (2017)
>

One of Singapore’s leading young architects, Randy’s architectural and design experience includes work on projects as diverse as stage design, private housing, cluster housing and master-planning – all of which are guided by the simple philosophy that architecture and the aesthetics originate from the same impulse. Randy takes a multidisciplinary architectural approach to his projects, working at the intersection of art and architecture. His recent works include Building as a Body, a collaboration with local designer qwodrent commissioned by the Singapore Art Museum, and was awarded the prestigious Design of the Year at the President’s Design Award 2012. He was also Creative Director of Singapore: Inside Out, a travelling showcase of Singapore’s talent that travelled to Beijing, London, New York and Singapore in celebration of Singapore’s golden jubilee in 2015.

Palimpsest (2017)

Singapore has always had a conflicted relationship with its own image. A national narrative is never just one of the past, but one biased towards the future. In this pursuit of image making, some truths will not just be inconvenient, but also irreconcilable.

A re-creation of the Wayang Kulit stage celebrates South-East Asian theatricality. The presence of the physical Wayang stage highlights the absence of its live actors; the presentation of multiple realities in filmic media brings to mind what could only have been symbolically referenced on the Wayang stage. New relations are drawn between film and theatre as the set-up contrasts and complements, while setting up the ambiguous boundary between representation and reality.

This deliberate confusion between representation and reality is used to question: what are the facets of Singapore that has been buried behind its own national narrative?

“This is not a just image, this is just an image.”
– Jean-Luc Godard