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The Institute of Critical Zoologists
Final Report of the Christmas Island Expert Working Group
3 Mar 2018, Sat - 29 Apr 2018, Sun

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Since the establishment of the first human settlements in the late 19th century, the ecosystem of Christmas Island—a small volcanic outcrop in the Indian Ocean which was transferred from Singapore to Australia in 1958—underwent dramatic changes. Along with human settlers, several non-indigenous species alighted on the island disrupting the endemic biodiversity that had thrived undisturbed thanks to geographical remoteness and almost nil human interference. The accidental introduction of invasive species severely impacted a fragile ecosystem, imperilling the island’s wildlife and causing the extinction of a number of native species. As a result, extreme biocontrol strategies are currently being undertaken in an attempt to restore the island’s biodiversity.

In the past two years, The Institute of Critical Zoologists has been researching the escalating chain of events brought about by the human presence on Christmas Island gathering a varied collection of research materials that merge factual and fictional elements. By surveying the impact of human beings on an endemic habitat, Final Report of the Christmas Island Expert Working Group maps out lines of invasion and retreat, it investigates dynamics of connectedness and isolation triggering reflections on states of vulnerability and conditions of survival in the age of globalisation.

Curated by Anna Lovecchio, Curator, Residencies

Launch and Artist Talk by Robert Zhao Renhui (Singapore)
Friday, 2 March, 7.30 – 9.00pm
The Single Screen, Block 43 Malan Road

Residencies Insights: The Ouroboros Effect talk by Krist Gruijthuijsen (Netherlands/Germany), Curator-in-Residence
4 Apr 2018, Wed 07:30 PM - 09:00 PM

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Influenced by his background in theatre and previous experience as an artist, Krist Gruijthuijsen’s curatorial projects play an integral part in his artistic practice. Giving pride of place to the artist’s voice, he employs different models of representation to address the social and political role of the artist and to unearth urgencies, complexities, and pragmatics involved in the production, presentation, and reception of art within complex networks and systems of exchange. Expanding upon these lines of inquiry, Gruijthuijsen will present a selection of projects initiated over the past decade—ranging from exhibitions, lectures, and public programmes—that reflect upon the material conditions of art production and artists’ sustenance, considering how the ways in which artists socialise, dress, speak, think, and behave influence the making of an artwork as well as its relationship to the market.

Residencies Studio Sessions: Artist talk by Martha Atienza (Philippines/Netherlands), Artist-in-Residence
10 Apr 2018, Tue 07:30 PM - 09:00 PM

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Can art trigger empowerment? Can collective action efficiently tackle social, economic, and environmental issues? Is it possible to constitute a shared platform across different communities to address common challenges? How to position community-based practices within the context of the art world? These and other questions have been lingering in the mind of Martha Atienza during her long-time engagement with the local communities of Bantayan Island, her hometown in the Philippines. Many of her projects since 2010 aim to raise awareness, create connections, and trigger collective actions to identify the needs of the islanders and work towards sustainable solutions to social, economic, and environmental issues. Held at the end of her residency, this talk allows Atienza to discuss her artistic process and working methodologies as well as to share her thoughts on recent experiences and preoccupations.

Performance: In Resonance With… by drummer and electro-acoustic composer Uriel Barthélémi (France)
17 Apr 2018, Tue 07:30 PM - 09:00 PM

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Part of the Voilah! French Festival Singapore by Institut Français Singapore

Invited to create a music performance with Atoui’s instrument collection, Barthélémi will use the acoustic possibilities of the room to explore different resonating frequencies. Taking the shape of a deambulation, the performance will have a particular breathing rhythm, which will be defined in the days preceding the concert. Space and soundscapes will be intimately linked to the performer’s gestures and intentions, developing as a haunted percussion solo, but not exclusively with percussion instruments. This process engages in a discussion between the instruments, the venue, and the audience, creating a situation that questions the performer’s choices as well as the exhibition itself.

Residencies Insights: Ecologies on the Edge lecture by Marco Scotini (Italy), Curator-in-Residence
18 Apr 2018, Wed 07:30 PM - 09:00 PM

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Expanding upon the research undertaken in preparation for the upcoming Yinchuan Biennale, opening from June to September 2018, Biennale artistic director Marco Scotini will discuss a new concept of the environment and the role contemporary art may play when it engages the extra-disciplinary. In its thematic constellation, the presentation will address the relationship between nomadic space and rural space (as semiotics of subjectification), labour-in-nature and nature-in-labour (as forms of production), voice and book (as forms of expression), minorities and multiplicities (as forms of social assemblage). Scotini will argue how, in this project, the new paradigms that inform our understanding of living systems are not reduced to the subject matter of the Biennale but are rather employed to question the limits of the exhibition format as such in order to eventually produce a new ecological model for exhibitions.

Ever since sound entered the space of art, it has been plotting its escape talk by Joel Stern (Australia), Artistic Director of Liquid Architecture
25 Apr 2018, Wed 07:30 PM - 09:00 PM

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Ever since sound entered the space of art, it has been plotting its escape. Materially, sound is difficult to contain. It leaks through walls, resounds in unruly ways, is audible where it should be not. This excessiveness, or “noisiness,” is a fundamental quality of sound. Conceptually, sound is equally slippery. Attempts to define it always seem delimited and constraining, insufficient when set against the infinite horizon of the sonic imaginary. Sound is materially and conceptually resistant—it always contains too much. So, against this sense of “too much sound,” what specialist modes of listening could be deployed? In response to sonic abundance, how can we learn to hear “more,” to “over-hear?” This talk departs from these questions, addressing recent works by artists and theorists working with sound to propose a series of strategies for listening experimentally—to sound in itself, but also, and more importantly, to the complex and profuse relations it engenders.

Michael Lee (Singapore)
Creatif Compleks
17 Mar 2018, Sat 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM
17 Mar 2018, Sat - 17 Jun 2018, Sun 12:00 PM - 07:00 PM

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Developed during his residency at NTU CCA Singapore, Creatif Compleks (2018) is the culmination of Michael Lee’s reflection on the function of the artist’s studio within the arts ecology of a city. The work takes the form of a diagram about a hypothetical property development consisting of various configurations of the artist’s home/studio. The use of LED light strips, a popular fixture in advertising and interior design, alludes to latent apprehensions about the development and promotion of the arts in Singapore which today are, arguably, at a feverish pitch. Informed by myths and fantasies of artists in their studios, the work takes a speculative leap into the utopian and the absurd.

Launch and Artist Talk
Saturday, 17 March 2018
2.00 – 3.00pm
The Single Screen, Block 43 Malan Road
Part of Gillman Barracks’ Art Day Out! x Singapore Design Week 2018.

Creatif Compleks is on view in The Vitrine until 17 June 2018.