Ho Rui An
5 September – 31 January 2017
Ho Rui An (Singapore) is an artist and writer working in the intersections of contemporary art, cinema, performance and theory. His work investigates the emergence, transmission and disappearance of images within contexts of globalism and governance. Working primarily across the mediums of lecture, essay and film, his recent research considers questions surrounding liberal hospitality, participatory democracy and speculative futures.He has presented projects both locally and internationally, gaining attention for his discursively compelling performances that sift through historical archives and contemporary visual culture to probe into the shifting relations between image and power. Ho has presented work at Queensland University of Technology Art Museum, Australia (2016); Hessel Museum of Art and CCS Bard Galleries, United States (2015); LUMA/Westbau, Switzerland (2015); Para Site, Hong Kong (2015); Witte de With, The Netherlands (2014); Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2014); and Serpentine Galleries, United Kingdom (2013), among others.
24 Sep 2016, Sat 2:00pm - 7:00pm
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
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
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
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
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.
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
A combined presentation by Artist-in-Residence Ho Rui An and artist Tan Biyun, Future Trees and the Pulp of History explores the artists’ shared interests in participatory democracies, historical archives, and speculative futures. Their works engage various strategies to rearrange existing narrative structures and activate new forms of political imagination.
For the first time in Singapore, Ho exhibits the documentation of Screen Green (2015-16), a lecture performance that examines the politics of screening and greening in the city-state. Screen Green has been produced for the exhibition Public Spirits, currently running at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland. Beginning with an observation of the lush greenery often seen as backdrop of political discourse in Singapore, the lecture addresses this botanical green in relation to the “green screen” normally used in cinema, using this uncanny connection to examine the politics of screening and greening in the city-state. Central to the work is the contention that the numerous green spaces in Singapore act as giant green screen studios designed to solicit the participation and imagination of the masses in order to limit and modulate their articulations.
Against the “horticultural futurism” discussed in Ho’s lecture, Tan posits a speculative near-future where the history of Singapore faces the fate of being pulped. Tan conjures a scenario where students, sick of the propaganda purveyed in their textbooks, have abandoned the study of History altogether, prompting the Ministry to recall and destroy all textbooks in circulation. Conceived as a “protest against forgetting” (Eric Hobsbawn), Tan’s The Unforgetting Space seeks a more inclusive understanding of the past and triggers the process of reclaiming the writing of history from the authorities. This participatory project features several textbooks dating from the 1970s and two old typewriters on which audiences are invited to retype historical episodes selected from the books. They are also encouraged to contribute a text based on their own sources should a historical episode be found to be missing or misrepresented.
Launched on occasion of Gillman Barracks’ Art Day Out!, Future Trees and the Pulp of History is open to the public from 12 November 2016 to January 2017, every Saturday and Sunday, 12.00 to 7.00pm.
14 Jan 2017, Sat - 15 Jan 2017, Sun 12:00 PM - 07:00 PM
21 Jan 2017, Sat - 22 Jan 2017, Sun 12:00 PM - 07:00 PM
Residencies Studio #01-03, Block 37 Malan Road
Future Trees and the Pulp of History (2) is a combined presentation by Artist-in-Residence Ho Rui An and artist Tan Biyun that explores the artists’ shared interests in participatory democracies, historical archives and speculative futures. Their works engage various strategies to rearrange existing narrative structures and activate new forms of political imagination.
As a consolidation of the research undertaken during his residency with NTU CCA, Ho presents a selection of material relating to the history of foresight, both globally and within the Singapore public sector. This includes a set of images extracted from a CD-ROM produced on the occasion of an exhibition organised in celebration of Public Service 21 (PS21), an initiative that can be regarded as a precursor to the current Smart Nation programme. Together, these materials variously project forms of millennial optimism or anxiety—the former exemplified by Peter Schwartz and Peter Leyden’s seminal essay “The Long Boom”, the latter by two national scenarios created by the Scenario Planning Office in Singapore describing the city-state in states of crisis.
Against this history of the future presented in Ho’s collection, Tan posits a speculative near-future where the history of Singapore faces the fate of being pulped. Tan conjures a scenario where students, sick of the propaganda purveyed in their textbooks, have abandoned the study of History altogether, prompting the Ministry to recall and destroy all textbooks in circulation. Conceived as a “protest against forgetting” (Eric Hobsbawn), Tan’s The Unforgetting Space seeks a more inclusive understanding of the past and triggers the process of reclaiming the writing of history from the authorities. This participatory project features several textbooks dating from the 1970s and two old typewriters on which audiences are invited to retype historical episodes selected from the books. They are also encouraged to contribute a text based on their own sources should a historical episode be found to be missing or misrepresented.
Moving beyond the idea of a “Smart City”, the Singapore government has recently spearheaded the “Smart Nation” initiative that aims to create a data-driven network that can enhance citizens’ lives and foster stronger communities. However, in invoking the “nation”, the Smart Nation risks forsaking the unstable and heterogeneous demographics of the global city with a sizeable transient population. This includes the almost one million low-wage workers whose lives are made vulnerable by the excesses of transnational capitalism and whose data are often missing, falsified or withheld. If among the vaunted merits of the Smart Nation is its ability to enable the people to “speak”, what are the conditions that govern the legibility of speech as such? How does one decide what counts as data and what counts as noise?
Aaron Maniam and Stephanie Chok will address these questions from their respective points of view in a conversation organized and moderated by Artist-in-Residence Ho Rui An.
This Lecture Performance is part of the public programme of Incomplete Urbanism: Attempts of Critical Spatial Practice.