The sixth edition of the multidisciplinary series, State of Motion 2021: [Alternate / Opt] Realities conjures pathways into multiple worlds by exploring the science-fiction genre through the potency of audio-visual technologies.

The title takes its cue from the "Alt / Option" key from the computer keyboard, allowing users to modify existing mechanical systems and command codes. By entangling the "opt" between the phrase, "alternate realities", the optional, optimal, and optical permutations imagine possibilities beyond present realities.

Over the years, the science-fiction genre as a world-building exercise received critical attention in Future Studies. The COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, recalls familiar themes that recur in the genre. The outbreak demonstrates how science fiction can actualise into science; a feedback loop that regurgitates itself. As more imagined technologies engineer into reality, some of these machines, in turn, become finer fleets of imagination, invoking speculative projections into truth. 

Considering the 'magical' qualities of science and the power of fiction, how do we make sense of these prevailing simulations? How do we carve out liminal spaces as portals into [Alternate / Opt] realities?

State of Motion

State of Motion is an annual multidisciplinary arts event organised by the Asian Film Archive (AFA) and presented as part of Singapore Art Week (SAW). The series explores the interstices of visual art, cinema, and filmic research through exhibitions, film screenings and artistic responses, focusing on Singapore and the Asian region.

Since its inception in 2016, State of Motion has engaged and commissioned contemporary artists, curators, filmmakers and researchers to uncover the hidden histories and latent discourses within the institution's scope of interests.

Asian Film Archive

The Asian Film Archive (AFA) was founded in 2005 as a non-profit organisation and is registered as an Institution of Public Character. In January 2014, the AFA became a subsidiary of the National Library Board. Its mission is to preserve the rich film heritage of Asian Cinema, encourage scholarly research on film, and promote a wider critical appreciation of this art form.

The AFA is an affiliate of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), an institutional member of the Southeast Asia-Pacific Audiovisual Archive Association (SEAPAVAA) and the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA).

Singapore Art Week

Singapore Art Week (SAW), the pinnacle of Singapore's visual arts scene, returns in its 9th edition from 22 to 30 January 2021. Keeping to the theme of "Art Takes Over", SAW 2021 will present over 100 arts events across both physical and digital spaces, featuring new works, transnational collaborations and virtual art experiences. Offering a diverse range of works from our arts and cultural institutions, private galleries, nonprofit arts organisations, independent artists and curators, audiences can enjoy SAW 2021 through physical presentations complemented by digital programmes accessible from the comfort of their homes.

SAW 2021, a celebration of Singapore's vibrant art landscape, is a joint initiative by the National Arts Council (NAC), the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

B4
B2
L1
L3
L4
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Trisha Baga
[L3 Meeting Room 2]
Trisha Baga
[USA]
Location [L3 Meeting Room 2]

1620

[2020]

2D and 3D video

Videos: Two-channel, 16:9 format, colour and sound (stereo), 35 min

Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York

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Trisha Baga, 1620, film still, 2020, two-channel projection: 2D and 3D video, colour and sound, 35 min 5 sec. Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York.

1620 grows out of a sci-fi imagination and takes its cue from the history of Plymouth Rock, a legendary site that symbolically marks the origins of the United States of America (USA). The main story arc revolves around DNA USA, an experimental theatre troupe who time travels into the past to impersonate the pilgrims and bioengineer America out of its current "illness". Plymouth Rock becomes the source of America's narrative stem cells in the hands of these genetic scientists who are studying deep-seated flaws in The American Drama. With the development of each act, the narrative frame fractures repeatedly, mimicking how media technology has changed the way we tell and read stories over time.

Paralleling the notion that the body may be thought of "as a sort of living memory card", 1620 postulates an integration of biological and technological mutations, where organic and electronic entities become a part of a myth-making exercise. Instigating these entanglements are Baga's investigations of imagery built from post-colonial societies from the lens of ancestral connection to the Philippines and its history of occupation.

Biography

Trisha Baga (b.1985) lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include the eye, the eye and the ear, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (2020); Mollusca & The Pelvic Floor, Greene Naftali, New York (2018); and Biologue, Gallery TPW, Toronto (2018). Her work is in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Museum MMK für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Rovereto; Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf; and Aïshti Foundation, Beirut, among others.

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bani haykal
[L1 Unit 01-01]
bani haykal
[Singapore]
Location [L1 Unit 01-01]

momok elektrik

[2021]

Nine-channel sound (mono) installation, gunny sacks, mild steel frames and stands

New Commission

This work was realised with assistance from ila, Lina Adam and voice samples by Leslie Low, Nur Wahidah and Suhaili Safari.

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Bani Haykal, momok elektrik, digital image, 2021, multi-channel sound installation. Courtesy the artist.

momok elektrik is a choreography of sounds speculating our machine's manner of codifying speech in a time to come. The installation imagines the momok (ghost, phantoms or spectres in Malay) in the machine as a being conjured through the continual interaction with human speech. 

From surveillance in the form of listening and its function in accumulating data, our relationship with machines in the future will revolve around the interdependency between us and machines, where both entities are entwined yet autonomous in the way we know one another. Conjuring new worlds and dimensions, these samples are now part of the machine's vocabulary. Our speech is rendered musical. In a world over-reliant on visuals, momok elektrik is a sonic commentary on imagining machine cognition as the modern-day spirit that wards off threats; an act of refusal to be listened to.

Biography

bani haykal (b.1985) experiments with text + music. As an artist, composer and musician, bani consider music (making / processes) as material, and his projects investigate modes of interfacing and interaction with feedback / feedforward mechanisms. Manifestations of his research culminate into works of various forms encompassing installation, poetry and performance. His current work frames encryption as a process and basis for human-machine intimacy by navigating interfaces such as a QWERTY keyboard as mediums of interactivity. bani has participated in festivals including MeCA Festival, Japan; Wiener Festwochen, Vienna; Media/Art Kitchen, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Japan; Liquid Architecture; and Singapore International Festival of Arts among others. He is a member of b-quartet.

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Ada Adhiyatma, Shawn Chua and Tay Ining
[L1 Green Heart, with checkpoints across L2 to L4]
Ada Adhiyatma, Shawn Chua and Tay Ining
[Singapore]
Location [L1 Green Heart, with checkpoints across L2 to L4]

Safe Exit

[2021]

Mixed Media

New Commission

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Shawn Chua, Safe Exit, digital still, 2021, mixed-media installation. Courtesy the artist.

On 23 April 2020, SafeEntry—Singapore's national digital check-in system—was deployed to log the names, National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) and mobile numbers of individuals visiting public venues, in order to facilitate the process of contact tracing. These gantries mark the threshold of entering physical buildings, even as we enter digital databases, but how might we safely exit? How do we reconcile the tensions between epidemiological exposure and data exposure in the name of medical surveillance?

Safe Exit is a multi-site interactive installation exploring our relationship with data in the context of medical surveillance. Upon registration, participants will be provided with a wearable device with which they may activate the installation. Through the experience, participants are invited to reflect on their data doubles—the discrete parts of themselves that have been collected and stored in databases, and used to make determinations about their wellbeing—as they navigate a speculative disease registry. What should remain hidden, and who is over-exposed? Can we safely exit the paradigm of surveillance by reimagining and enacting other technologies of care for one another?

Biography

Shawn Chua (b.1989) is a researcher and artist engaged with embodied archives, uncanny personhoods, and the participatory frameworks of play. He has presented his research at the Asian Dramaturg's Network, The Substation, and Performance Studies international (PSi), and his works have been presented under Singapore International Festival of Arts, Esplanade Presents: The Studios, Amorph! Performance Art Festival, and Panoply Performance Laboratory. He has served on the Performance Studies international (PSi) Future Advisory Board, is a founding member of Bras Basah Open School of Theory and Philosophy and is part of the group that runs soft/WALL/studs.

Madam Data (Ada Adhiyatma) (b. 1989) is a musician (composer) and sound scientist who explores machine and spirit interfaces. Their fantasies are about truly knowing what sacredness is, echolocating spaces infused with spirits, and begetting ghosts in the technology they create. In finding these things, they seek a liberatory practice that uses sound to return bodies to resonance. Madam Data works with synthesizers, handmade computer programs and circuits, field recordings and clarinets; they consider these objects to be interfaces with the Divine presence; they work with the sonics of stillness, space and brutal intensity.

Tay Ining (b. 1988, Singapore) works at a metalworking shop. As an artist, she explores the neglected creative potential of fabrication industries in Singapore. She is a participant of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology GAMBIT program and a recipient of the National University of Singapore SHAPE grant, both of which were work residency in the United States. She completed her B.F.A. at Nanyang Technological University, School of Art, Design and Media in 2011, majoring in Interactive Media.

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Debbie Ding
[B2 Unit B2-61]
Debbie Ding
[Singapore]
Location [B2 Unit B2-61]

The Legend of Debbie

[2021]

Gameplay video

Video: Single-channel on projection, 16:9 format, colour and sound (stereo), 15 min 22 sec

New Commission

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Debbie Ding, The Legend of Debbie, digital still, 2021, single-channel video installation, colour and sound. Courtesy the artist.

Imagine an all-stars episode of a hit-television series, bringing back every character to revisit the set where most of the drama took place. This is the dbbdworld equivalent of it, exploring the translation of Debbie Ding's body of work into the virtual. The artist embarks on a self-reflexive exercise in re-narrativising and re-presenting their own art as an interactive experience, imagining past works as wormholes through time and space.

Featuring gamified simulations inspired by artworks like Dream Syntax (2009-2013), Here the River Lies (2010), Glass Mirror (2014), Shelter (2016), A Brief History of the Trapdoor (2017), A Home Without A Shelter (2018) amongst others, players stumble into different scenes led by a narrator loosely based on the artist. Blending personal histories and bringing storytelling to the fore, The Legend of Debbie seeks to bridge the disconnection between the works and the artist's own articulation of the works. The messy facilitation process allows for misreadings and errors and opens up new worlds for interpretation.

Biography

Debbie Ding (DBBD.SG) is a visual artist and technologist who researches and explores technologies of perception through personal investigations and experimentation. Prototyping is used as a conceptual strategy for artistic production, iteratively exploring potential dead-ends and breakthroughs–as they would be encountered by amateur archaeologists, citizen scientists, and machines programmed to perform roles of cultural craftsmanship–in the pursuit of knowledge.

Recent notable exhibitions include "President's Young Talents" (Singapore Art Museum, 2018); "After the Fall" (National Museum of Singapore, 2017); Singapore Biennale (2016); and Radio Malaya (NUS Museum, 2016). DBBD received a BA in English Literature from the National University of Singapore and, as a recipient of the NAC Arts Scholarship (Postgraduate), an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art, London.

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Divaagar
[B2 Unit B2-63]
Divaagar
[Singapore]
Location [B2 Unit B2-63]

Shelter Skelter

[2021]

Videos, CRT TV, LED screen, PC monitor, furniture, instant noodle boxes, plants

New Commission

New Old World
Video: Single-channel on LED screen, 16:9 format, colour and sound (stereo), 13 min 45 sec

Into the Abyss
Video: Single-channel on CRT TV, 4:3 format, colour and sound (stereo), 10 min 30 sec

Ongoing Excavation
Video: Single-channel on PC monitor, 16:9 format, colour and sound (stereo), 10 min
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Divaagar, Shelter Skelter (New Old World), digital still, 2021, audio-visual installation, colour and sound. Courtesy the artist.

In a city left desolated due to outbreaks, Shelter Skelter envisions Singapore in the year 2022 from the lens of a retrospective 200 years into the future. Taking the form of an exhibition display in an ancient bunker built for the 2000s epidemics, Shelter Skelter examines and imagines events of the era through corrupted digital materials and traces of dwelling left behind.

The archaeological site features essential remnants such as the 'Ancient Ubiquitous Plant Conservatory' and 'Eternal Indomie Stockpile'. Restored virtual materials are also assembled and displayed through 'ancient technologies' like 'televisions' and 'computers' by the System Integrated Technetronic Interpreter [SITI] programme.

SITI takes the 3D form of a 'Singaporean Girl' and articulates in a language archived by the Elocution Preservation Society. Acting as an exhibition guide of the digital and physical relics within the archaeological site, SITI weaves in factual and speculative narratives for its audiences.

Biography

Divaagar (b.1992) is a visual artist who works with installation, performance, and digital media. He works at the intersections of bodies, identities, and environments, imbuing narratives into places, spaces and situations. He has exhibited both locally and internationally since 2010. He has had two solo presentations thus far; Between a rock and a hard place, as part of a Summer residency in Untitled Space, Shanghai (2018); and The Soul Lounge, soft/WALL/studs, Singapore (2018). Other notable exhibitions include Time Passes, Singapore Art Museum (2020), The Lands Of, The Reef, Los Angeles (2019), and Space Oddities, The Substation, Singapore (2019).

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Phuong Linh Nguyen
[B2 Unit B2-71]
Phuong Linh Nguyen
[Vietnam]
Location [B2 Unit B2-71]

Trùng Mù (Endless Sightless)

[2018 – Ongoing]

Videos, PVC banners, LED screens

Endless Sightless [2018]
Video: Single-channel on projection, 16:9 format, colour and sound (stereo), 9 min

Sông có nguồn (All rivers come from springs) [2021]
Video: Two-channel on LED screens, 16:9 format, colour and sound (stereo), 2 min and 14 min 27 sec [New Commission]
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Phuong Linh Nguyen, All rivers come from springs, film still, 2021, multi-channel video installation, colour and sound. Courtesy the artist.

As part of an ongoing project, this latest body of work is an extension of Trùng Mù (Endless Sightless), first conceived in 2018. In this iteration, Phuong Linh continues to engage with Vietnamese diaspora, merging their presence through psychological scapes aligned with Vietnamese ecologies. During her travels, the artist notices a uniformity in the types of work available to working-class Vietnamese women in urban centres. Locations like beauty parlours and nail salons become places of affinity where her mother tongue is spoken and heard. For her new work, All rivers come from springs (2021), she takes inspiration from the landscape of Nam Định province, a relatively flat terrain bordered by the Red River and the ocean. This is where the artist's father often travels to for his job as a traditional house restorer and incidentally, where many from this migrant community come from.

The series of objects and videos are filtered through different registers of opacity, including the presence of white fog. Never in their full physical form and composed in fragmentary, obscure states, disembodied versions of the female anatomy are symbolic of the migrant community's phantasmal residue in Nam Định. Using sci-fi imagination as a method to reconcile irrational contemplations of the immaterial, Phuong Linh emphasises a strategy to think about continuities and parallels in a reality that is not visible to our naked eye.

Biography

Phuong Linh Nguyen's (b. 1985) multidisciplinary practice spans installation, sculpture and video. From geographic cultural shift, traditional roots and fragmented history in Vietnam – a complex nexus of ethnicities, religions, and cultural and geo-political influences – her works contemplate upon the visible/invisible truth, form and time, and convey a pervasive sense of dislocation and the ephemeral. Phuong Linh co-found and co-directed Nha San Collective, a group of young artists dedicated to pushing boundaries of artistic expression while providing support for other young artists in the community. She studied as a guest student under Tobias Rehberger at Stadelschule Frankfurt (2015–2017). She works and lives in Hanoi, Vietnam.

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PURE EVER
[L4 West Tower]
PURE EVER
[Singapore]
Location [L4 West Tower]

Sunset X - This is not sci-fi, this is heartbreak

[2021]

Videos, LED screens, polyurethane, automobile paint, mineral assortment, recycled paper, artificial moss

Videos: Three-channel on LED screens, 16:9 and 9:16 format, colour and sound (stereo), 47 min, 3 min and 6 min

New Commission

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PURE EVER, Sunset X - This is not sci-fi, this is heartbreak, film still, 2021, multi-channel video installation, colour and sound. Courtesy the artists.

Sunset X - This is not sci-fi, this is heartbreak is a dizzying tale of forbidden love between three individuals from the Republic of Synkie. With a flourishing kelp industry that is turning the country's capital into Kelpital, the bearing of a Kelpitalocene upon the contemporary struggles of the Synkie people is reflected through the lives of Eden, Yasmyn and Wan Ting. In a non-linear ocean of visual fantasy, eco-enterprise, cult economy and alternative imaginings of spirituality, the protagonists find themselves mired in a "rupturing apocalypse of the harrowing heart".

The work is an invitation to think beyond monolithic methods of fiction-making in moving images. The chaotic set pieces and fragile relationship structure bridge elements from our reality to speculate parallel universes where dominant narratives are overturned. In a time where the future is fraught with challenges, Sunset X - This is not sci-fi, this is heartbreak exercises its choice to pre/de/scribe plausible realities into existence.

[Film Credits]

Directed, written and produced by PURE EVER
Cast | Fatin Zulkifly as Yasmyn, Tara Tan as Wan Ting, Terry Tan as Eden, Tyen Rasif as Annaburlesque, Akashdeep Bal as Akash
Director of Photography | Bryan Quek
Editor | PURE EVER
Costume Designers | Bryan Yeo, Maz, Jane Teo, Farah Sudiro, Mia Zhang
Art Department | PURE EVER

Music Composers

Singers/Musicians | Cindy Honanta, Zoe Hong Yee Huay, Ngoo Tien Hong Ted, Adam Sharawi
Music | VIKTORIA, Zachary Singson Dominguez, ANTI SHIFT, Cosmic Child, VIKTORIA, DARK0
Camera | 4Acts Production
Sound | 4Acts Production
Film Crew | Jason Lim Bao Sheng, Shahzryan Bin Sharin, Tiffany Lee, Qing Siang, Alice Hau Xin Yu, Roy Lee, Celeste Ng
Hair/Makeup | Jovan Tng, Sarah Tan, Sarishna Nair
Set Assistants | Akashdeep Bal, Guo Lei Bing, Perrin Tan, Ryan Pagdanganan 
 
Music Credits

"Parabolic Disarray", Post Structural, 2018
"one day we'll grow up and nothing will matter in the end", Cosmic Child, 2016
"DARE2DIE", VIKTORIA, EP, 2020
"Eden’s Fantasy", Original Soundtrack, 2021
"La SirenX (Main Theme)", Zachary Singson Dominguez, Original Soundtrack, 2021
"Dark0 - Music To… Orbit The Moon To", Dark0, For i-D, 2015

Special Thanks | Syaheedah Iskandar, Thong Kay Wee, Chris Sim, Euginia Tan, Fairuddin Hamid, Gagandeep Singh, Joanne Cheah, Kenneth Toh, Silly Goose Studios, Sher Chew, Zhang Bo, Chong Lii

Biography

PURE EVER is an alliance of people whose goal is to provide visibility for under-represented or emerging creatives across all vectors of political, social, and creative interests. We aspire to find commonality and collective foresight through nuanced and intense forms of art-making; one that hopefully occupies a more generous spirit of collaboration, creativity, networking, and solidarity-making. Current members include Elsa Wong (b.1999), Hilary Yeo (b. 1991), Raigo Law (b.1998), Rifqi Amirul Rosli (b.1994), Zhiyi Cao (b.1995).

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Riar Rizaldi
[B4 Common Area]
Riar Rizaldi
[Indonesia]
Location [B4 Common Area]

Kasiterit

[2019]

Videos, iPhones

Videos: Single-channel on projection, 16:9 format, colour and sound (stereo), 18 min 22 sec; two-channel on iPhones, 6 sec and 21 min 28 sec

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Riar Rizaldi, Kasiterit, film still, 2019, three-channel video installation, colour and sound, 18 min 33 sec. Courtesy the artist.

Researched and filmed on Bangka island in the Indonesian archipelago, Kasiterit foregrounds the labour entanglements of tin, one of the most coveted materials used in display technologies today. Bangka is a major exporter of tin and accounts for one-third of the global supply. The artist traces the materiality of tin from the mine to the museum, from tensions between communities, politicians, and miners, to the geophysics that shapes both the human and nonhuman life on the island.

Both Riar Rizaldi's works – Kasiterit and Tellurian Drama – explore image politics, media archaeology and unanticipated consequences of technologies. Situated at the lowest and highest point in the exhibition, their narratives reflect the contemporary microcosm of order contrasting the natural world.

Biography

Riar Rizaldi (b. 1990) works as an artist and amateur researcher. His main focus is on the relationship between capital and technology, extractivism, and theoretical fiction. Riar has also curated Penal Colony (2017) at ARKIPEL Jakarta International Documentary & Experimental Film Festival; Internet of (No)Things (2018) at Jogja National Museum and co-curated Open Possibilities: 'There is not only one neat way to imagine our future' at JCC, Singapore & NTT ICC, Tokyo (2019–2020). His works have been shown at Locarno Film Festival, BFI Southbank London, International Film Festival Rotterdam, NTT InterCommunication Center Tokyo, and National Gallery of Indonesia amongst others. Riar is born in Indonesia and is currently based in Hong Kong.

H2
Riar Rizaldi
[L4 East Tower]
Riar Rizaldi
[Indonesia]
Location [L4 East Tower]

Tellurian Drama

[2020]

Video, LED screen, three cut-out standees on plywood

Video: Single-channel on LED screen, 16:9 format, colour and sound (stereo), 26 min 25 sec

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Riar Rizaldi, Tellurian Drama, film still, 2019, three-channel video installation, colour and sound, 18 min 33 sec. Courtesy the artist.

Tellurian Drama narrates the history of Radio Malabar set up by the Dutch East Indies government in May 1923. It is Southeast Asia's first radiotelegraphy station situated in West Java. In March 2020, the local Indonesian government announced plans to reactivate the station as a historical site and tourist attraction.

The work imagines what would have happened in between: the vital role of mountains in history; colonial ruins as an apparatus for geoengineering technology; and the invisible power of indigenous knowledge. Narrated based on a text written by a prominent pseudo-anthropologist Drs. Munarwan, Tellurian Drama contemplates spirituality and the historicity of communication by colliding archival history with conspiracy theories, blurring the lines between fact and fiction, rational and illogical.

Both Riar Rizaldi's works – Kasiterit and Tellurian Drama – explore image politics, media archaeology and unanticipated consequences of technologies. Situated at the lowest and highest point in the exhibition, their narratives reflect the contemporary microcosm of order contrasting the natural world.

Biography

Riar Rizaldi (b. 1990) works as an artist and amateur researcher. His main focus is on the relationship between capital and technology, extractivism, and theoretical fiction. Riar has also curated Penal Colony (2017) at ARKIPEL Jakarta International Documentary & Experimental Film Festival; Internet of (No)Things (2018) at Jogja National Museum and co-curated Open Possibilities: 'There is not only one neat way to imagine our future' at JCC, Singapore & NTT ICC, Tokyo (2019–2020). His works have been shown at Locarno Film Festival, BFI Southbank London, International Film Festival Rotterdam, NTT InterCommunication Center Tokyo, and National Gallery of Indonesia amongst others. Riar is born in Indonesia and is currently based in Hong Kong.

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Tulapop Saenjaroen
[L1 Unit 01-06]
Tulapop Saenjaroen
[Thailand]
Location [L1 Unit 01-06]

Squish!

[2021]

Video, inflatable coloured cushions

Video: Single-channel on LED screen, 16:9 format, colour and sound (stereo), 18 min

New Commission

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Tulapop Saenjaroen, Squish!, film still, 2021, single-channel video installation, colour and sound, 18 min. Courtesy the artist.

Squish! is a meditation on the self through lurid and liquid forms; filtered through both old and foreseeable technology informed by Thai animation history and contemporary culture, and a constant process of constructing and deforming new selves to simulate 'movements'. By alluding to traditional modes of early animation, the central character self-references its existence to make sense of its 'reality'.

By extrapolating and redefining the terms of 'movement', be it through psychological, physical or political understandings, the work interweaves the medium of animation with a state of depression. It investigates how they are enmeshed in the paradoxes between control and freedom. The animation medium itself not only becomes a way of externalising a personal existential crisis but represents, through its virtuality, a prospect for transformation during a time of distress.

Biography

Tulapop Saenjaroen (b.1986) is an artist and filmmaker based in Bangkok. His recent works interrogate the correlations between image production and production of subjectivity as well as the paradoxes intertwining control and freedom in late capitalism. Saenjaroen's works have been shown internationally in exhibitions and screenings including Locarno Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Image Forum Tokyo, Curtas Villa do Conde, 25FPS Zagreb, Kasseler DokFest, Vancouver International Film Festival, BACC Bangkok, Display Gallery Prague, Moscow International Biennale for Young Art among many others. He has won awards from Winterthur, Jakarta, Moscow, and Thailand. He holds an MFA in Fine Art Media from the Slade School of Art and MA in Aesthetics and Politics from CalArts.

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Natasha Tontey
[L1 Unit 01-06]
Natasha Tontey
[Indonesia]
Location [L1 Unit 01-06]

Pest to Power

[2019 – 2021]

Multi-channel video installation, LED screens, iPad, pallets

Videos: Four-channels, 16:9 format, colour and sound (stereo), 13 min 50 sec; 32 min 39 sec; 3 min 31 sec; 1 min [New Commission]

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Natasha Tontey, Pest to Power, digital still, 2019, multi-channel video installation, colour and sound. Courtesy the artist.

Marginalised by humans for thousands of years and seen as a fearsome creature carrying diseases, Pest to Power is a science-quasi-fictional chronicle by a commune of cockroaches proposing a manifesto that attempts to seek redemption for their kind. In this reality, the cockroaches attempt to find grounds for reconciliation with humans, using their peculiar habits as resource material for their study of humans.

As the only single species that survived past extinction events and epochal transformations, Pest to Power speculates a world accepting of cockroaches, where their knowledge of the universe is unparalleled. As a symbiotic entity, cockroaches in this reality imagine its role as part of a larger speculative cosmogony with other unorthodox species. By recognising their agency beyond 'pest', the work gestures towards a future centring on eco-centric kinship between humans and non-humans.

Biography

Natasha Tontey (b. 1989) is an artist and graphic designer based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She is interested in exploring the concept of fiction as a method of speculative thinking. Recent showings of her work include Other Futures: Multispecies Experiment (2019) Polyphonic Social 2019 by Liquid Architecture, K4 Gallery of Video and Moving Image (2019) and The Wrong Biennale for Digital Arts (2019) amongst others. She has received awards by ArtJog MMXIX, HASH Award 2020 for Net-Based Projects in the Fields of Art, Technology, and Design by ZKM | Karlsruhe and Akademie Schloss-Solitude. She is a recipient of the Performance Space Micro Fellowship 2020 and Martin Roth Initiative Virtual Residency for transmediale 2021.

Programmes

From film screenings, artists conversations, a panel discussion with guest collaborators, audio-led exhibition tour and a special closing performance, the series of programmes are conceived to expand the discursive frameworks relating to the [Alternate / Opt] Realities exhibition. Driving these programmes are a diversity of enquiries exploring speculative fiction (e.g. science-fiction) as future-prophesying tools to re-thinking the role of audio-visual technology in art-making and as an actual world-building exercise.

XX Ray [1993]
Aziz M. Osman
XX Ray [1993]

Aziz M. Osman

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Runtime: 108 mins
Country: Malaysia
Language: Malay 
Rating: PG

Screening venue(s): Oldham Theatre

The discovery of XX Ray, a device that allows one to see through things, creates a disaster when Anuar deliberately sneaks it out and brings it to a party. In the struggle to prevent XX Ray from nefarious characters, Amir turns himself invisible. Will Anuar and Amir succeed in retrieving the device or will Amir remain invisible forever?

XX Ray II [1995]
Aziz M. Osman
XX Ray II [1995]

Aziz M. Osman

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Runtime: 108 mins
Country: Malaysia
Language: Malay 
Rating: PG

Screening venue(s): Oldham Theatre

Johan and Tina are cadet scientists at a science centre. Johan claims credit for the invention of a laser disposal machine that is in fact, Tina's brainchild. Tina seeks help from Amir, an astronomer, to prevent Johan from using the machine. Amir and Tina's attempt to destroy the machine fails and they are instead teleported in a time warp to the Malacca Sultanate when the self-operating laser misfires. They witness and try to alter history in the infamous conflict between Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat.

Avatar [2004]
Kuo Jian Hong
Avatar [2004]

Kuo Jian Hong

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Alternate title: 流放化身
Runtime: 98 mins
Country: Singapore
Language: English
Rating: NC16 (Brief nudity)

Screening venue(s): Marina One Auditorium and Oldham Theatre

Set in 2019 of a then futuristic vision of Singapore, individuals in the general population are identified by an implanted microchip and connected to a system called CyberLink. CyberLink is used for communication (sometimes virtual reality), monetary transactions and contains the records of all citizens. Criminals use fake chips, known as "SIMs" (Simulated Identity iMplants). Dash MacKenzie, a bounty hunter, in her search for a man who bought a SIM, uncovers a conspiracy to manipulate society schemed by the leaders of five conglomerates.

Apokalips X [2014]
Mamat Khalid
Apokalips X [2014]

Mamat Khalid

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Runtime: 100 mins
Country: Malaysia
Language: Malay, English
Rating: M18 (Violence and Drug Use)

Screening venue(s): Oldham Theatre

The remnants of human civilisation are divided into five rival clans after the nuclear war of 2047. Men and women who survived the war live in chaos and destruction perpetuated by gang violence. Rival gangs fight for pride and ego with the ambition to rule the last remnants of humanity in a world destroyed by chemical warfare.

Snakeskin [2014]
Daniel Hui
Snakeskin [2014]

Daniel Hui

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Runtime: 105 mins
Country: Singapore, Portugal
Language: English
Rating: NC16 (Some Mature Content)

Screening venue(s): Oldham Theatre

Awards

Special Jury Prize
TORINO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Award of Excellence (New Asian Currents)
YAMAGATA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL

Part documentary, part dream, the lines between fiction and reality are blurred in this film. It is the year 2066, and the lone survivor of a cult reviews footage of Singapore in 2014. The cult's leader, who claims to be the reincarnation of Sir Stamford Raffles, claims that the footage is evil and should be burnt. He recounts his country's traumatic history and the events that led to the rise and collapse of this cult, while ghosts from 2014 and the years before appear as witnesses. Bringing together the past, present and future, this hybrid film traces Singapore's physical landscape and its collective unconscious.

NUOC 2030 [2015]
Nguyễn Võ Nghiêm Minh
NUOC 2030 [2015]

Nguyễn Võ Nghiêm Minh

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Runtime: 98 mins
Country: Vietnam
Language: Vietnamese
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scenes)

Screening venue(s): Oldham Theatre

In 2030, water levels have risen to the point that southern Vietnam is beginning to drown. To survive, people live on houseboats and rely solely on fishing. As land vanishes, huge multinational conglomerates compete to build floating farms along the coastlines equipped with desalination and solar power plants to produce much needed vegetables that have become highly priced commodities.

A young woman, Sao, tries to cope with the everyday challenges of her environment in the aftermath of her husband's murder. A re-encounter with a former lover, Giang, who works for one of the corrupt conglomerates and their floating farms, leads her to suspect his role in her husband's death.

Geomancer [2017]
Lawrence Lek
Geomancer [2017]

Lawrence Lek

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Double bill screening: Geomancer [2017] + AIDOL [2019]

Runtime: 48 mins
Country: UK
Language: Chinese
Rating: PG

Courtesy the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London

Screening venue(s): Marina One Auditorium and Oldham Theatre

The year is 2065. Singapore is preparing to celebrate its Centennial. In the stratosphere above, a satellite artificial intelligence faces imminent demise. It escapes to Earth to establish its own autonomy and to fulfil its dream of becoming the first AI artist. Faced with a world that limits its freedom, Geomancer must come to terms with its militarised origins, a search that begins with a mysterious syndicate known as the Sinofuturists...

Featuring video game animation, a neural network-generated dream sequence, and a synthesised vocal soundtrack, Geomancer uses 'art' to symbolise humanity's appreciation for creative thought and beauty. How would humans feel if an emotionally aware AI gains the power of self-expression and creative genius is no longer the domain of humanity?

Foxtrot Six [2018]
Randy Korompis
Foxtrot Six [2018]

Randy Korompis

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Runtime: 114 mins
Country: Indonesia
Language: English 
Rating: NC16 (Violence)

Screening venue(s): Marina One Auditorium and Oldham Theatre

Angga, a former marine, is working as a congressman for a corrupt government in futuristic Indonesia. In search of his lost love and a cause to fight for, his world is changed forever when he discovers she is part of a rebel force. The rise of a rival paramilitary leader Wisnu is the catalyst that pushes Angga to assemble his old military platoon. Foxtrot Six is thus born to save Indonesia.

Ten Years Thailand [2018]
Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng, Chulayarnnon Siriphol, Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Ten Years Thailand [2018]

Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng, Chulayarnnon Siriphol, Apichatpong Weerasethakul

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Runtime: 93 mins
Country: Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand
Language: Thai and English
Rating: M18 (Nudity)

Screening venue(s): Marina One Auditorium

10 Years Thailand is an omnibus film inviting four directors to imagine their country a decade on. The four directors are Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng and Chulayarnon Siriphol. Taking wildly diverse, surreal, satirical and banal routes, each of the four films reflect on a country that has been ruled by the military since 2014 and seen curbs in various degrees on dissent, public expression, creativity and diversity of thought.

The Long Walk [2019]
Mattie Do
The Long Walk [2019]

Mattie Do

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Alternate title: Bor Mi Vanh Chark
Runtime: 116 mins
Country: Laos, Singapore, France
Language: Lao
Rating: NC16 (Some Violence and Disturbing Scenes)

Screening venue(s): Marina One Auditorium and Oldham Theatre 

A boy witnesses a tragic car accident near his home in rural Laos, claiming the life of a young woman. The dusty road where she died on becomes haunted by her ghost. Fifty years later, the boy, now a middle-aged man, is filled with loneliness and regret. Still living in the same village, isolated in his farm and unpopular with the other villagers, his only companion is the taciturn female ghost. When he discovers that the ghost is able to take him back in time, he tries to fix the problems and situations of his past, including his mother's death. But his actions have unexpected consequences as he disrupts the fabric of time.

The Sciences Of Fiction [2019]
Yosep Anggi Noen
The Sciences Of Fiction [2019]

Yosep Anggi Noen

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Original Title: Hiruk-pikuk si al-kisah
Runtime: 106 mins
Country: Indonesia, Malaysia, France
Language: Indonesian
Rating: TBA

Screening venue(s): Oldham Theatre

Awards

Asian Cinema Observer Recommendation Award
2019 GOLDEN HORSE FILM FESTIVAL

Special Mention: International Competition
2019 LOCARNO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

In 1962, the quiet Siman encounters a foreign film crew staging a fake moon landing in a desolate part of Indonesia. His tongue is cut out to preserve his silence. After the traumatising incident, Siman remains frozen in that moment. Fifty years later, he is still lost in dreams of being an astronaut. He wears a homemade spacesuit and builds himself a ship from trash. His muteness and strange, slow-motion gait mimicking movement in space make him a target for scorn and exploitation. Labeled as crazy by the rest of the village, Siman is the only person who knows about history's biggest lie.

The non-linear story plays out during a number of historic moments, told in different ways as time passes, including the moon landing, Suharto's coup and the subsequent communist persecutions.

For My Alien Friend [2019]
Jet Leyco
For My Alien Friend [2019]

Jet Leyco

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Runtime: 72 mins
Country: Philippines
Language: Filipino
Rating: PG13 (Some Disturbing Scenes)

Screening venue(s): Oldham Theatre

In this experimental documentary, footage from the narrator's mundane everyday experience, fragments of news footage such as the moon landing and professionally shot photographs of landscapes, are juxtaposed against each other to create an honest depiction of humanity. An (imaginary) alien friend is the framing device that serves as the receiver of the documentary's narrative. A self-reflection of the narrator's personal life that includes anecdotes from his friends and family, the film utilises the idea that the most personal is the most universal, capturing Filipino culture at its most distinct and authentic.

The Tree House [2019]
Truong Minh Quý
The Tree House [2019]

Truong Minh Quý

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Runtime: 84 mins
Country: Singapore, Vietnam, Germany, France, China
Language: Vietnamese
Rating: PG13 (Brief nudity)

Screening venue(s): Oldham Theatre

In 2045, a filmmaker lands on Mars and tries to make a film. Using his lived experience and memories, he uses footage he shot of the Kor and Ruc people, indigenous ethnic groups living in the mountains and caves of Vietnam. Included in his footage is archival material of the American invasion of Vietnam where many were forced out of their homes through bombings or economic necessity. Interweaving images shot on Super16, negative images that give a distinctly futuristic air, overlaid with the sounds he recorded on his space voyage, the filmmaker contemplates the concept of 'home' and 'memories'. Is a memory valid only if it has been recorded?

AIDOL [2019]
Lawrence Lek
AIDOL [2019]

Lawrence Lek

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Double bill screening: Geomancer [2017] + AIDOL [2019]

Alternate title: AIDOL爱道
Runtime: 83 mins
Country: UK
Language: Chinese, English
Rating: PG

Courtesy the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London.

Screening venue(s): Marina One Auditorium and Oldham Theatre

In the year 2065, the eSports Olympic finale is set to take place. Diva, a washed up popstar, is set to mount a comeback with the help of the AI composer Geomancer. Geomancer dreams of being recognised as an artist, while Diva dreams of fame, which she equates as immortality. An incident happens mid-performance, and Diva goes missing. As a result of the publicity, her music goes viral and she becomes more popular than ever, while Geomancer floats around the earth in solitude.

Part music video compilation, part video game and part animated film, Aidol explores the complex relationship between humanity and artificial intelligence, as well as the allure and the emptiness of fame.

The Halt [2019]
Lav Diaz
The Halt [2019]

Lav Diaz

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Alternate title: Ang Hupa
Runtime: 283 mins
Country: Philippines
Language: Filipino, English
Rating: R21 (Some Homosexual Content)

Screening venue(s): Oldham Theatre

Manila, 2034. Millions have perished from a flu epidemic known as the 'Dark Killer' and volcanic eruptions have destroyed the environment and landscape of the country, throwing it into permanent darkness. Set in a seemingly endless night, the nation is ruled by a paranoid dictator whose rule is staked on divine right, enforced by armed militia. The cast of characters bring romance and thrilling intrigue into the plot. Shot in striking black and white, the lo-fi and minimalist filmmaking contrasts the haunting and bleak vision of the future.

Tiong Bahru Social Club [2020]
Tan Bee Thiam
Tiong Bahru Social Club [2020]

Tan Bee Thiam

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Runtime: 88 mins
Country: Singapore
Language: English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Malay, Tamil
Rating: NC16 (Some Sexual References)

Screening venue(s): Marina One Auditorium

Passive everyman Ah Bee has just turned 30. He leaves his dull office job to join the Tiong Bahru Social Club, an exclusive data-driven pilot programme that aims to create the world's happiest residents in the idyllic, pastel-hued neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru in Singapore. Employed as a happiness agent, Ah Bee is assigned to take care of Ms Wee, an elderly resident obsessed with cats with no belief in Tiong Bahru Social Club's mission. He is matched up with a fellow happiness agent, Geok, and promoted to helm the Community Complaint Centre.

The film takes a satirical look at Singapore's preoccupation with results-driven practicalities, it imagines a society where everything—including happiness—is quantified and managed.

Platforms, Accidentally
Co-organised with so-far
Platforms, Accidentally

Co-organised with so-far

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Moderated by Jing Yi Teo, Lead, Incubator Programme, so-far

In view and preparation for so-far's upcoming Issue 4: Platforms, the panel discussion intends to probe how everything from online marketplaces to art exhibitions has become a "platform". Social media platforms have been at the centre of extensive criticism, but the wider "platformization" of processes, products and services accelerated by the pandemic has also created shifts within the technical infrastructure in which we live and work. The result is a flurry of accidental platforms — the indeliberate uptake by a completely new industry such as live-stream gaming platforms being used by musicians, or age-old formats like global fashion weeks reinvented as digital platforms. With a multi-disciplinary panel of speakers representing the bridge-building between industries that so-far attain to, we will deep-dive into the language, circulation and trajectories of platforms that shape our futures.

This talk will broadcast on AFA's Facebook page.

Imaging and Imaginations
Exhibiting artists
Imaging and Imaginations

Exhibiting artists

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Session 1:
30 January 2021, Saturday
2.00pm SGT

Session 2:
31 January 2021, Sunday
2.00pm SGT

This talk will broadcast on AFA’s Facebook pages.

Featuring the exhibiting artists from State of Motion 2021: [Alternate/Opt] Realities, these two sessions will discuss the sensory mechanics relating to their works for the exhibition and the role of science-fiction as integrated into their art-making practices. In thinking about the potentiality of harnessing audio-visual technology as a magical tool, what new questions engender their roles in the world(s) we build? How can we think about these technologies beyond linear narratives and visual-dependent tendencies?

Siapa Nama Kamu: 2095
nor
Siapa Nama Kamu: 2095

nor

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Performance duration: 15 minutes

This performance will be at Marina One. COVID-19 safety protocols and precautions will be administered. Please register your attendance below.

Siapa Nama Kamu: 2095 is a performance staged in a speculative future of a fictional state named Singhasana. After the announcement of migration plans to a new habitable planet called BHUM-II, a group of ilmu practitioners gather in the state's Garden Heart. The gathering invokes the semangat – the spirit of the tanahair of the land and sea – through long-forgotten songs and gestures.

The performance is a continuing trajectory of previous performances titled, Siapa Nama Kamu? (2019) and Sekali Lagi? (2020). This time, the performance begins with visions of the future and ends with a vision of the sea. The looming question on whose voices are included in the future will bring forth the speculative cast asking, "What is your name?".

Biography

nor's artistic practice is rooted in self-portraiture. Their works span the disciplines of photography, film, video, performance, text and spoken word poetry to engage with ideas of belonging and identity through the frameworks of gender performance, ethnographic portraits and transnational histories. They have presented a solo exhibition In Love at Coda Culture (2018, Singapore), and has shown at group exhibitions including An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season, National Gallery Singapore (2020); MAT, the Objectifs – Centre for Photography & Film (2019); Minor Infelicities, Post Territory Ujeongguk, South Korea (2020) and My Body, Your Body, Their Body, Kawanishi Gallery, Japan (2019).

Marina One
20 Jan – 21 Feb 2021

Exhibition open 12pm — 8pm daily (Except Public Holidays)

7 Straits View, Singapore 018936

Front-of-House located at L1 Concourse, entrance facing Straits View.
Auditorium located at L3 West Tower.
By MRT
Nearest MRT: Marina Bay (NSL)(CCL), Downtown (DTL)

Via Downtown line
Alight at Downtown station
Take Exit E

Via Circle line or the North-South line
Alight at Marina Bay station
Take Exit B
By Bus
Available Buses: 97, 97e, 106, 133, 400, 402, 502A, 502, 513, 982E

Alight at the Downtown Station stop (B03529) along Central Boulevard.
By Car or Taxi
Via Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) and East Coast Parkway (ECP) in the direction towards the city
Continue onto Sheares Avenue
Use any lane to turn right onto Central Boulevard
Turn left onto Straits View

Via Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) in the direction towards city
Take the Central Boulevard exit from MCE
Turn left onto Straits View

Via Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) in the direction towards city
Take the Central Boulevard/Marina Gardens Drive exit
Turn left onto Straits View

Drop-off point available on Straits View. Paid parking is available at Marina One.