Interested in the “semiotic thickness” of Geylang, an area located on the east-central side of Singapore where bustling street life, covert activities, information technologies, and data mining protocols are increasingly intertwined, Luca Lum has been observing the diffuse entanglements of bodies and surfaces, behaviours and networks that define contemporary urban life. impasse to verbal comes out from her continued engagement with the neighbourhood and from her speculations on the slippage between what things are, how they look, and what they do—which the artist defines as the play between description and disposition.
The work is a visual assemblage that merges wall notices, official zoning maps, personal routes, and various extracts sampled from the urban landscape. Through an intricate interplay of stratifications and transparencies, it creates an imploded visual environment where information is simultaneously displayed and withdrawn, revealed and cloaked. Steeped in a pervasive blue glow reminiscent of the light of electronic devices, the signs are left to float and clash into leaky configurations that shatter conventional patterns of readability.
Luca Lum (b. 1991, Singapore) works at the intersection of art, performance, poetry, and fiction exploring ideas of language, (anti)literature, vulnerability, vampirism, genre, intimacy, double-agency, mourning and metaphor. She is a co-founder of the artist-run space soft/WALL/studs and co-editor of the reader CONCRETE ISLAND. Her projects have been presented at Cemeti Institute of Art and Society, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (with soft/WALL/studs, 2018); Yeo Workshop, Ikkan Art Gallery, NUS Museum, Singapore (2016), and LUMA Westbau, Zurich, Switzerland (2015). Lum was Artist-in-Residence at NTU CCA Singapore from April to September 2018.
Image credit: Luca Lum, impasse to verbal (detail), 2018. Courtesy the artist.