From its first iteration in 2013, Free Jazz has pushed boundaries and expanded upon pressing concerns of our times. Free Jazz IV. Geomancers continues this approach, featuring artworks ranging from virtual reality to video, performance, and sound as an exercise in planetary awareness. The exhibition presents significant artistic practices from across the globe that are deeply invested in creating an environmental consciousness and that share an understanding of the world as a vulnerable, yet resilient, mesh of coexistences, correlations, and co-creations. As with geomancy, these artworks can help us to read the signs that our planet is trying to send us and that they can inspire a stronger commitment to create a sustainable future for life on Earth.

Alongside scientists, environmental activists, enlightened policy makers and civil society members, contemporary artists are increasingly concerned with future prospects of ecological collapse and planetary survival. They address these issues through the language of art, creating images, sounds, narratives, and experiences that allow us to establish affective and cognitive connections with the environment and partake in the planetary intelligence of the Earth. Stemming from NTU CCA Singapore’s ongoing engagement with the overarching subject of Climates.Habitats. Environments., Free Jazz IV. Geomancers brings together a selection of creative practitioners who are distinctly alert to these urgencies.

Conceived for Singapore Art Week 2022, this programme consists of a film screening series, a virtual reality installation, a performance and a sound installation. Some of the featured artworks zero in on signs of earthly demise, others indicate pathways of resilience and strategies for regeneration. All the works result from long-term research and extensive fieldwork and, when presented together, they engender a kaleidoscopic overview of the multitudinous forms of ecological entanglements.

Artists: Martha Atienza (Philippines), Ursula Biemann (Switzerland), Carolina Caycedo & David de Rozas (United Kingdom; Spain/United States), Chu Hao Pei (Singapore), Liu Chuang (China), Pedro Neves Marques (Portugal), Katie Paterson (Scotland), Rice Brewing Sisters Club (South Korea), Daniel Steegmann Mangrané (Spain/Brazil), Jana Winderen (Norway), Zarina Muhammad & Zachary Chan (Singapore), and Robert Zhao Renhui (Singapore).

Exhibition Information

Katie Paterson
To Burn, Forest, Fire, 2021, performance
Performance schedule: 14, 15, 18, 22, and 23 January, 6.30 – 7.00pm
Block 37 Malan Road, #01-04, Gillman Barracks
Entrance is on a first-come first-served basis up to the capacity allowed by the
prevailing social distancing measures. Audience to arrive at least 15 minutes
before the performance starts. Please note that the performance entails the
burning of incense inside an indoor space.
Please see our Facebook event for the latest updates.

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané
Phantom (kingdom of all the animals and all the beasts is my name)
2014–2015, VR installation
Tuesday to Sunday, 12.00 – 7.00pm
Fridays, 12.00 – 9.00pm
Block 38 Malan Road, #01-07, Gillman Barracks
Please see our Facebook event for the latest updates.

Jana Winderen
Listening through the Dead Zones, 2021, sound installation, 20 min, on loop.
Monday to Thursday: 8.00am to 9.00pm (last entry 8.00pm)
Fridays to Sundays: 8.00am to 10.00pm (last entry 9.00pm)
Please see our Facebook event for the latest updates.

Green Roof, Marina Barrage, 8 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018951
The sound installation is located on the Green Roof at Marina Barrage, above the
Sustainable Singapore Gallery, accessible either via the walking ramp or the elevator.
Once on the rooftop, visitors will find the work in the proximity of the glass house, on
the southern edge of the rooftop. Visitors are encouraged to take the time to pause and
experience Listening to the Dead Zones while facing the open sea.

Screening Programme

Friday, 14 and 21 January 2022, 12.00 – 9.00pm
Session I: 12.00 – 2.50pm
Session II: 3.00 – 5.50pm
Session III: 6.00 – 8.50pm

Tuesday to Sunday, 15 – 23 January 2022, 12.00 – 7.00pm
Session I: 12.00 – 3.20pm (intermission: 1.30 – 2.00pm)
Session II: 3.30 – 6.50pm (intermission: 5.00 – 5.30pm)

Block 38 Malan Road, #01-06, Gillman Barracks
Films will be screened in the order as below during each session.
Please see our Facebook event for the latest updates.

Martha Atienza
Panangatan 11°09’53.3”N 123°42’40.5”E
2019-10-24, 9min

Zarina Muhammad & Zachary Chan
earth, land, sky and sea as palimpsest, 17 min 37 sec

Rice Brewing Sisters Club
Mountain Storytellers, Storytelling Mountains: A Tale Theatre, 15 min 37 sec

Carolina Caycedo & David de Rozas
The Teaching of the Hands, 47 min

Pedro Neves Marques
Semente Exterminadora [Exterminator Seed], 28 min

Ursula Biemann
Acoustic Ocean, 18 min

Liu Chuang
Can Sound be Currency?, 19 min 43 sec

Chu Hao Pei
Inventing Miracle: The Rice to Power, 9 min 59 sec

Robert Zhao Renhui
And A Great Sign Appeared, 4 min 52 sec

Free Jazz IV. Geomancers is supported by National Arts Council Singapore and Nicoletta Fiorucci Russo De Li Galli. NTU CCA Singapore also wishes to thank our collaborators IHME Helsinki, and PUB Singapore’s National Water Agency at Marina Barrage.

Since 2013, Zhao has been collecting old photographs of Singapore, focusing specifically on images that capture the city’s landscape and elements related to her natural history. The project for his residency, provisionally titled The Museum of Disappearance, sets out to unravel the dormant narratives embedded in the photographs in order to shed a different light onto the complex history of our relationship with nature. Further expanding on his interest in the interaction between humans and the natural environment, he plans to conduct extensive fieldwork in the backwoods behind his studio, a patch of secondary forest stretching from Malan Road to Henderson Road, documenting its trees and natural habitat.

Marianna Simnett (b.1986, United Kingdom) lives and works in London. Her interdisciplinary practice includes video, installation, performance, sculpture and watercolour. Simnett uses vivid and visceral means to explore the body as a site of transformation. Working with animals, children, organs, and often performing herself, she imagines radical new worlds filled with untamed thoughts, strange tales, and desires. Simnett has shown in major museums internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include LAB RATS, Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland (2019), My Broken Animal, Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands (2019), CREATURE, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia (2019), Blood In My Milk, New Museum, New York, United States (2018) among others. She is a joint winner of the Paul Hamlyn Award 2020, received the Jerwood / FVU Award in 2015, and was shortlisted for the Jarman Award in 2017.

The artist was scheduled to be in-residence from July ‚ Sept 2020. Due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak and international travel restrictions, the artist was unable to participate in the residency programme physically.

During the residency Chong will develop The Economy of Birds (and Maximum Standard of Living), a research-based project that looks at how contemporary societies in Southeast Asia determine the minimum standard of living. The artist investigates the notion of “human dwelling” through a comparison between the human and the animal world by drawing a parallel between the practice of farming swiftlet birdhouses for sale and consumption and the typology of the metropolitan apartment block. In the artist’s vision, a comparative analysis of airflows, relative humidity, air temperature distribution, and light intensity that characterize the farming of edible bird’s nests and the technical requirements that make a human dwelling comfortable and efficient, is instrumental to rethink the guidelines for socially acceptable living environments as well as their implications in terms of economics and human rights.

This audio publishing project is conceived as a continuation and circulation of Tomás Saraceno’s eponymous exhibition at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore in 2015. Exploring the arachnids’s sophisticated mode of communication through vibrations, Saraceno developed several instruments that were able to amplify the vibrations of spiders, rendering them audible to other species. Various instruments, ranging from strings to percussion, were incorporated into the artist’s exhibition at NTU CCA Singapore, and used within a series of Jam Sessions between arachnids and musicians including Brian O’Reilly, Bani Haykal, and Joyce Koh who collaborated with philosopher Etienne Turpin. Multiple recordings, also took place, often impromptu, in Saraceno’s studio in Berlin throughout the preparations of the exhibition in Singapore. These Studio Rehearsals, Spiders Salons—improvisations between the arachnids and multidisciplinary musicians David Rothenberg and Evan Zyporin—together with the Jam Sessions came together as an album. Accessible on the online audio distribution platform, SoundCloud, the album is included in this publication. An essay by Elizabeth A. Povinelli and a manifesto authored by Brian Massumi foregrounds Saraceno’s experiment in current attempts to decentralise the human subject and address the perceptual world of non-human species. Spiders don’t speak in the way humans conceive language, yet they are neither silent nor mute. By making audible what we can not hear and fully comprehend—the spider’s vibrations—Saraceno draws attention to various modalities of expression and inter-relationality whose potentiality is yet to be valued.

Tomás Saraceno: Arachnid Orchestra. Jam Sessions
Published by NTU CCA Singapore
© 2017
ISBN: 978-981-11-3047-2

To purchase your copy, please contact

Brian O’Reilly works within the fields of electroacoustic composition, sound installations, moving images, and noise music. He is also a contrabassist focusing on uncovering the inaudible textures and hidden acoustic micro-sounds of his instrument through the integration of electronic treatments and extended playing techniques. He performs with moving images and modular analog synthesizer under Black Zenith and contrabass as well as electronics with the group Game of Patience. O’Reilly is Lecturer at the School of Contemporary Music, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore.

Dr Elizabeth A. Povinelli is an anthropologist, writer, and filmmaker. In her writing and film work, she developed a critical theory of late liberalism that supports an anthropology of the otherwise. She was previously the editor of Public Culture and has published widely, including Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism (2016), Economies of Abandonment (2011), and The Empire of Love (2006). She is a founding member of the Karrabing Film Collective. Povinelli is the Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University, New York.

Robert Zhao Renhui (b. 1982, Singapore) is a multi-disciplinary artist and the founder of the Institute of Critical Zoologists. Persistently twisting reality and fiction, his artistic practice addresses the human relationship with nature challenging accepted parameters of objectivity and scientific modes of classifications. Over the years, Zhao has appropriated codes and convention of documentary photography and museum display to compose compelling narratives that subtly destabilize our notion of truth.

Zhao received his Bachelor‚ and Master‚ degree in Photography from Camberwell College of Arts and London College of Communication respectively. His work has been exhibited in international group show such as Jiwa: Jakarta Biennale, Indonesia, 2017; 7th Moscow Biennale, Russia, 2017; 20th Sydney Biennale, Australia 2016; Les Recontres d‚Arles, France, 2015. Amongst his more recent solo exhibitions in Singapore are The Nature Museum, commissioned by Singapore International Festival of Art (SIFA) and The Bizarre Honour, realized for OH! Open House, both in 2017. Zhao has undertaken residencies at the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, France, and Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, United States, and the Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan. He was awarded Young Artist Award by National Arts Council in 2010 and is currently a finalist of Hugo Boss Asia Art Award.

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