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Heman Chong —Residencies |  NTU CCA Singapore
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Committed to supporting artists, curators, and researchers by offering them time and space to pursue their research without the pressure of deadlines and production commitments, the Residencies Programme values the open-ended nature of artistic research and embraces multiform expressions of creative enquiry. Aiming to facilitate the production of knowledge, this studio-based programme is dedicated to established and emerging artists and serves as platform for critical exchange in Southeast Asia. The Residencies Programme offers a wide spectrum of programmes aimed at sharing the process of artistic research with the public - Residencies OPEN / Studio Sessions / Insights, which range from open studios, artists’ talks, conversations, performances, and screenings. The Residencies Programme unfolds through annual cycles and runs by nomination only. Every year, a rotating pool of curators and arts professionals from all over the world is invited to nominate two artists for the residency. The nominated artists are subsequently invited to submit a research proposal along with their portfolio and CV. Ultimately, the Residencies Committee, an international panel of experts, reviews the submitted materials and designates the artists who are awarded the residency.


Heman Chong

Residency period

19 September 2016 – 24 February 2017


Heman Chong (b. 1977, Singapore) is an artist whose work is located at the intersection between image, performance, situations and writing. His work continuously interrogates the many functions of the production of narratives in our everyday lives. Chong has presented numerous solo exhibitions at Rockbund Art Museum, China (2016); South London Gallery, United Kingdom (2015); Art Sonje Center, Korea (2015); The Reading Room, Thailand (2013); National University of Singapore Museum (2012); and Vitamin Creative Space, China (2007). He has also participated in numerous international biennales including the 20th Sydney Biennale, Australia (2016); 10th Gwangju Biennale, Korea (2014); Asia Pacific Triennale 7, Australia (2012); Performa 11, United States (2011); Momentum 6, Norway (2011); Manifesta 8, Spain (2010); and represented Singapore at the 50th Venice Biennale, Italy (2003).


Heman Chong will launch his new long-term project entitled The Library of Unread Books, a members-only reference library made up of donated books that are unread by their previous owners. The price for a lifetime membership to the library is the donation of a single unread book. Each member will be issued a membership card which will grant access to the library. For the duration of his residency the Library will also be open to the public every Friday, from 12.00pm to 12.00am.

Public programmes

Residencies OPEN: Gillman Barracks 4th Anniversary Celebrations
23 Sep 2016, Fri 7:00pm - 11:00pm
24 Sep 2016, Sat 2:00pm - 7:00pm

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Residencies: OPEN offers a rare insight into the often introverted sphere of the artists’ studio. Through showcasing discussions, performances, research and works-in-progress, Residencies: OPEN profiles the diversity of contemporary art practice and the divergent ways artists conceive artwork with the studio as a constant space for experimentation and contemplation.

Antariksa, Block 38, Malan Road, Studio #01-05

As part of his residency at the NTU CCA Singapore, Antariksa researches the history of the Japanese Occupation (1942-1945) in Singapore. He is especially interested in collecting historical evidence of the propaganda strategies pursued by the occupiers and compare them with the forms of resistance and alternative visual strategies developed by the artists at the time. This project is part of a wider study on the history of art collectivism in Asia under the Japanese Occupation.

The presentation of archival material and images in his studio has been made possible thanks to the National Archives of Singapore.

Heman Chong, Block 38, Malan Road, Studio #01-07

The Library of Unread Books
Ongoing project

The Library of Unread Books is Heman Chong’s long-term project: a members-only reference library made up of donated books that are unread by their previous owners. The cost of a lifetime membership to the library is the donation of a single unread book. In keeping with the artist’s intimate longing for a space to go to in the dead of the night to encounter books he has never thought of reading, “night passes” will also be issued for visitors and the Library will be open for 24 hours every Friday night from 7.00pm to 7.00pm the next day.

Chong is a Singaporean artist, writer, and curator whose practice develops across a variety of media. He often works as a facilitator of situations in which new narratives and modes of intellectual exchange are enacted to rethink conventional modes of sharing and transmitting knowledge. Since 2003, he has been interested in negotiating public space as a site of speech. For his six-month research at the NTU CCA Residencies Programme, he intends to turn his studio into an artist-run space where other artists can present their works, gather for discussion, and find a quiet space for contemplation.

Ho Rui An, Block 37, Malan Road, Studio #01-03

HD video
17 min 30 sec

Produced during a residency on-board a transatlantic vessel, the video interweaves two layers of time experienced by the artist during the month-long journey: that of being “in-residence” and that of being “on expedition”. Two literary characters serve as points of reference for the film’s invisible protagonist: the colonial officer Percival from Virginia Woolf’s The Waves (1931) and from Italo Calvino’s novel Mr Palomar (1983). Exploring the dissonance between the sense of nausea experienced by the artist during the residency and the scientific scope of the expedition, the film muses upon representational technologies that turn the natural world into an image.

Ho Rui An is an artist and writer who works at the intersection of contemporary art, cinema, performance, and theory. He writes, talks, and thinks around images investigating their sites of emergence, transmission, and disappearance within the contexts of cultural production. Recently he has focused on the aesthetic form of the “lecture performance” to explore the relationship between art, research, and the circulation of knowledge. During his residency at NTU CCA Singapore, Ho intends to study the aesthetics of “futurecraft” and of “horizon scanning” programmes run both by the state and private entities.

Ato Malinda, Block 37, Malan Road, Studio #01-04

Mixed media
Dimensions variable

Since 2012, Ato Malinda has been working on a series of drawings that relate to her innermost feelings and fantasies about gender-related issues. Often inspired by events in her life and in the life of her friends, the drawings outline half-human, half-animal creatures caught up in intimate situations and pensive poses.

On fait ensemble
HD video
10 min

Mami Wata was a water spirit worshipped in Africa long before the arrival of the Europeans. In the 1880s a German hunter married a Southeast Asian woman and brought her to Hamburg where she performed in Völkerschau (human zoo) as a snake charmer. A lithograph of hers was reprinted in Bombay in 1955 and eventually came to West Africa where it was recognised as a portrait of Mami Wata. Re-enacting the arrival of the image in Africa, the artist reflects on the complex patterns of exchange and contamination that determine cultural identities.

The work of Malinda encompasses performance, drawing, painting, installation, video, and ceramic sculpture and investigates the nature of African identity, contesting notions of authenticity as well as fixed assumptions about gender and sexuality. During her residency at the NTU CCA Singapore, she is conducting archival research on the Tang shipwreck — occurred 380 miles off the Singapore Strait around 830 CE — to explore concepts of hybridity and globalisation in relation to Singapore’s history of sea trading and porcelain manufacturing.

Bo Wang, Block 37, Malan Road, Studio #01-02

Spectrum, or the Singapore Dan Flavin
Seven fluorescent tubes

With a formalistic reference to Dan Flavin, seven fluorescent tubes are arranged in a grid structure that propagates different shades of white in the space. The spectrum of white lights are in different colour temperatures, which were sampled from various social spaces in Singapore, from polished restaurant, luxury hotel, to industrial buildings and dormitory of migrant workers.

As a visual artist and a film maker, Bo Wang observes contemporary urban landscapes that are undergoing intensified processes of transformation and excavates the power structures and cultural anxieties related to these accelerated forms of transitions. His work depicts provocative portraits of China examining the ways in which the State retains its authoritarian way of rule while pursuing capitalism. For his residency at NTU CCA Singapore, Wang is researching the politics of space, issues of territorial expansion, and the social implications surrounding the pursuit of sand in Singapore where 22% of her land mass has been reclaimed from the sea through sand acquired from neighbouring countries.

The Library of Unread Books by Heman Chong (Singapore), Artist-in-Residence, and Réene Staal (Netherlands), chief librarian
23 Sep 2016, Fri - 27 Jan 2017, Fri 12:00 PM - 12:00 AM

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The first iteration of a ten-year-long project, Heman Chong‘s The Library of Unread Books develops from the artist’s deep-seated longing for books. It is a members-only reference library made up of donated books that are unread by their previous owners. The cost of a lifetime membership to the library is the donation of one unread book. By receiving and revealing that which people choose not to read, the Library is the result of a collective gesture and traces the perimeters of unwanted knowledge. Managed in collaboration with chief librarian Renée Staal, the library is open every Friday from 12.00pm to 12.00am until the end of February.

Residencies Studio Sessions: Words, They, Wrote, performance by Heman Chong (Singapore), Artist-in-Residence
14 Oct 2016, Fri 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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Utilising the words written or spoken by artists, Words, They, Wrote is a performance embedded within a symposium, a lecture, a panel discussion, or an exhibition space. Allowing a retrospective moment where the audience can listen in on what artists write about their lives, their work, and negotiate objects and situations out of texts. This performance points to an approach taken by artists that is located at the intersection of visual art and literature, further complicating the entanglements between text and image. Accompanied by a slide show title of artworks and artist names, it can be seen as a proposal for an imaginary exhibition.

Residencies OPEN: Art Day Out!
12 Nov 2016, Sat 02:00 PM - 07:00 PM

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Residencies OPEN offers a rare insight into the often introverted sphere of the artists’ studio. Through showcasing discussions, performances, research and works-in-progress, Residencies:OPEN profiles the diversity of contemporary art practice and the divergent ways artists conceive artwork with the studio as a constant space for experimentation and research.

This edition of Residencies OPEN features video installations and several book-related projects. Participants include Artists-in-Residence Heman Chong (Singapore), Ho Rui An (Singapore), Arin Rungjang (Thailand), SHIMURAbros (Japan/Germany), and Tamara Weber (United States).

Heman Chong Block 38 Malan Road, Studio #01-07
Ho Rui An Block 37 Malan Road, Studio#01-03
Arin Rungjang Block 38 Malan Road, Studio #01-05
SHIMURAbros Block 37 Malan Road, Studio #01-04
Tamara Weber Block 38 Malan Road, Studio #01-06