About The Tour

An exhibition expands its dialogue through an extension of a roving bus tour.

Within the duration of 3 hours, participants will be presented a compilation of film clips and guided around Singapore from the Pavilion at National Library Building (F) to five film locations (A–E) of the featured films. A site-specific artwork in response to each film awaits their encounter.

For participants 18 years old and above only.

BUS TOUR SCHEDULE

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Date
14 JAN, SAT
15 JAN, SAT
20 JAN, FRI
21 JAN, SAT
22 JAN, SUN

Please arrive at the entrance of the Pavilion, located at The Plaza, National Library Building (F) at least 15 minutes earlier for registration. Tours will commence as per schedule. Latecomers will bear the risk of missing the tour.

Duration per tour: 3 hours.
Frequency: 2 tours per time slot.
Limited to 17 pax per tour.
All tours are for participants 18 years and above only.
Tickets are available here.

  DAY TOURS
Between 11AM – 7PM
End Point at National Library Building (F)

  NIGHT TOURS
Between 7:30PM – 11:30PM
End Point at Far East Plaza (D).
Night tours include an exclusive performance by The Observatory.

CITY CENTRAL DISTRICT, SINGAPORE

CLICK ON MARKERS TO FIND OUT MORE
Exhibition Map
A
B
C
D
E
F
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A

GOLDEN MILE FOOD CENTRE

Kampong Glam, Beach Road
Film Location: In Search of the Unreturned Soldiers in Malaysia (1971)
Artwork 0: Cover and Concealment (2017) by Godwin Koay
Golden Mile Food Centre in present day. Photo: Toh Hun Ping

Running along what used to be the coastline, Beach Road, as its name suggests, was once right by the beach before multiple iterations of reclamation took the beach further and further away from it.

First conceived as the site for European residents, luxury homes were constructed by the water. One such name was bought by the Sarkies brothers and converted into what is now the iconic Raffles Hotel. Along with the Singapore Cricket Club, these landmarks hark back to Beach Road’s conception as an aspect of the colonial tropical imaginary.

It was a lively area, a gathering point of yet more clubs, bars and hotels. While on the less glamorous front, going hand-in-hand with the merriment of the area, many brothels would come to be along Beach Road that serviced the early predominant male population and travellers. Sex workers from all over the world would find their way there, whether willingly or not. Another prominent landmark was the former Beach Road Army Camp that has since become a mixed-used development comprising of office and hotel spaces.

Beach Road was also home to the Japanese enclave on the island. Beach Road is bookended by the Civilian War Memorial, a monument built in memory of the civilian victims of the Japanese Occupation. A monument and stretch of Singapore’s past that we would see through Shohei Imamura’s eyes as he went in search of unreturned Japanese soldiers.

At the other end of Beach Road is a food centre and what’s colloquially known as the Army Market. Both sites open to the public, although one marks the end of a military campaign, while the other offers preparation of one.  A densely populated area, the vicinity is also now witness to different confluences of class, ethnicity, and nationality, including a migrant Thai diaspora and travelers departing for and arriving from Malaysia. So here exists a more complex picture of Singapore interwoven with the broader region, one representative of an organic mix of cultures that sees different peoples coexisting in shared space, betraying simplified and essentialist assertions of national identity.

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B

HONG LIM PARK

North Canal Road Post Office
Film Location: The Wild Eye (1967)
Artwork 0: Glue Your Eyelids Together (2017) by Joo Choon Lin
Hong Lim Park - Kreta Ayer Police Post in present day. Photo: Toh Hun Ping

Parks in Singapore have an English colonial lineage to them.  The popularisation of the English Garden since the early 18th century can be observed in the allocation of public spaces in the colonial settlement planning. It is in this light that we should look at Hong Lim Park, the very first privately owned public garden in Singapore and the context that it plays within Singapore. Aspiring to become a Garden City since independence, gardens and parks conversely provide a benchmark at defining Singapore’s image as a society and civilisation.

It is in this light that we should look at Hong Lim Park, the very first privately owned public garden in Singapore and the context that it plays within Singapore. Aspiring to become a Garden City since its independence, gardens and parks conversely provide a benchmark at defining our image as a society and civilisation.

Throughout Singapore’s history, Hong Lim Park has served as the venue of community events. It was the site of storytelling during the Japanese Occupation; a cricket ground in the 50s and 60s; and a platform for a different medium of storytelling in the form of Chinese opera in the 70s. It was also the site of many of Singapore’s first political rallies, before being designated as the Speaker’s Corner in September 2000, a role it plays till this day.

Public spaces such as parks and squares have long held a vital role in the traditions of democracy. It is this important notion of the public that serves as a foreground for the transition between societies – a portent site of ideology and upheaval. In a scene in The Wild Eye, the protagonist Paolo and his cameraman Valentino struts across the park, a stand-in for neighbouring Vietnam during the Vietnam War. An act of political imagining that sidesteps the adherence to physical realities.

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C

LABRADOR PARK

Labrador Battery
Film Location: Ring of Fury (1973)
Artwork 0: Slow Fury (2017) by Jeremy Sharma
Labrador Battery in present day. Photo: Toh Hun Ping

A coastal park at the edge of secondary forests, Labrador Park lies at the southern coast of Singapore. Fort Pasir Panjang was one of 11 coastal artillery forts installed by the British in the 19th century to defend the western passageways into the harbour against the rampant pirate attacks and foreign naval powers. It was only till the 1850s that the threat of piracy posed less of a danger.

In the years leading up to the Second World War, the British decided to upgrade the fort to what became the Labrador Battery. Anticipating a Japanese naval invasion via the south, the coastline was deemed a strategic for defending the colony. Alas, the plan backfired as the invasion arrived via the north from Malaysia.

Falling into disrepair after Singapore’s independence, the lush surroundings and disused bunker tunnels however became the ideal film site for Ring of Fury. In the film, blindfolded henchmen were guided into the surrounding forest and led into the tunnels before they were finally unmasked within Iron Mask’s hideout. It was also within the tunnels that the climatic chase scenes began before the final showdown. Though like the location,  the film too fell into disrepair, having never served its intended purpose within Singapore.

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D

FAR EAST PLAZA

14 Scotts Road
Film Location: Ricochet (1984)
Artwork 0: Melantun Records (梦澜吞唱片) () by UJIKAJI Music performance by THE OBSERVATORY
* Exclusively on the Night Tours 
   (20 & 21 Jan 2017)
Far East Plaza in present day. Photo: Toh Hun Ping

With the rapid urbanisation in the region, it seems almost inconceivable that Far East Plaza had once been the largest mall in Southeast Asia. Over the course of its history, Far East Plaza has been home to a wide array of occupants. What stands out though was its relationship with the underground youth culture and its past as a stomping ground for the local independent music scene.

In a less culturally liberal period of Singapore’s history, the “Far East Kid” moniker was coined to label any youth found spending their time at the mall. It was where they would parade and gawk at one another’s display of individuality. It was also popular with the local punk scene that the press had continuously linked with the occurrence of crime, a movement that was regarded as too Western and a threat to the Asian way of life. Impromptu break dance displays led to arrests and debates on youths in the local media.

Far East Plaza became one of the focal points of the discussions of being a frontier land for Western culture intruding upon Asian soil. These issues of cultural propriety eventually gave way to the profits made from the commercialisation of culture. Far East Plaza despite its revamps and renovations over the years faded away from prominence, save for a few independent record stores, costume shops and tattoo parlours, the remnants of its youthful heyday.

Though for a brief spell of an evening, the Far East Kids found a kindred spirit in a particular individual named David Bowie.

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E

OLD BUGIS STREET

Film Location: Saint Jack (1979)
Artwork 0: No One Wants To Dance (2017) by AMANDA LEE KOE
Old Bugis Street - Bugis Junction in present day. Photo: Toh Hun Ping

Bugis Street, was to say the least, once a colourful place. What was once Bugis Street, is now a series of malls and office buildings called Bugis Junction. The Bugis Street of the past was a sleazy raucous place. A short distance away from the Raffles Hotel, the locale was a favourite nightspot of both foreigners and locals.

Frequented by overseas soldiers on R&R, sailors on shore leave, locals and tourists looking for adventure, Bugis Street was one of the few sites that could truly lay claim to the term “melting pot”. It was described by Dutch writer, Francis Downes Ommanney as “one of the most beautiful streets in the world”. Tables and chairs were laid out along the pavement near Chinese and Malay hawker stalls serving food, beer and hard whiskey, while pimps and sex workers roamed freely amongst the tables looking for potential customers. The highlight of each night would be the impromptu cabaret shows by transwomen in outrageous costumes sashaying along the lanes.

Despite the all too familiar uproar that precedes the destruction of local sites prior to new developments, old Bugis Street would make way in the early 80s for the construction of an underground subway station. Despite the Singapore Tourism Board’s best attempts to replicate the street as a simulacra that is the current Bugis Street, all the allure and denizens of its predecessor was by then lost to the winds of change.

The erstwhile charms amidst seedy Bugis Street became the ideal place to mirror Saint Jack’s quest of finding honour within a supposedly dishonourable  trade. One often needs to scratch beyond the surface to see the value of things, something that in Singapore, was only extended to the film belatedly.

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F

NATIONAL LIBRARY BUILDING

The Pavilion & Tour Starting Point
The Plaza, 100 Victoria Street
Artwork 0: Palimpsest (2017) by RANDY CHAN
Artwork 1: Utopia and Stagehands (2017) by HILMI JOHANDI
Artwork 2: Filem-Filem-Filem (2008) by Ming Wong
Artwork 3: Tony’s Long March (2015) by Ben Slater & Sherman Ong

A structure sitting under a building, the Pavilion serves as the starting point of the tour. It is a temporary makeshift cinema that would last as long as the run of a blockbuster at the local box office. It is a resource centre about the films, its location, history and context alongside the works of other artists.

The Pavilion is in itself a dialogue as well as a site to host one.