Collaborative and experimental by nature, Free Jazz III builds upon its past iterations by activating and challenging common understandings of exhibition-making and the use of space. Sound walks. Machines listen. We are living through unusual times.
As the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore approaches a major transformation away from a permanent exhibition space in early 2021, Free Jazz III continues to explore the possibilities of an international research centre for contemporary art, featuring many artists who have been part of NTU CCA Singapore’s exhibitions, residencies, and programs since 2013, when the Centre presented Free Jazz as its inaugural event. The project began as a form of inquiry and an active tool to generate new possibilities for conceptualizing and programming an art institution. Free Jazz III convenes diverse projects united by themes of adaptation via masterful improvisation, trans-mediatic pivots, and the conscious renegotiation of our relationships to nature, technology, and each other. The disparate components of Free Jazz III explore the elements of dissonance, resistance, and innovation embedded in its musical namesake and the ability for sound and art to transcend physical and social distance. Embracing sound and walking as two powerful ways to overcome distance and bring people together, Free Jazz III comprises projects that can take place in non-gallery spaces, independently, asynchronously, or in purposeful syncopation with the present moment, reflecting on the past and looking forward to the future.
Admission to all programmes and events is free.
January–March 2021 (On-site and online)
Reflecting on the loss of physicality through increased virtual interactions as well as many histories of sound and walking, artists address common life and communality in times of social distancing. In this series of performative explorations of sound, music, and community building, reflections take the form of soundwalks, sonic wayfinding and other physical and aural experiences, offering multiple ways for the public to actively witness, listen and participate, both remotely and on-site. Soundwalks by Tini Aliman (Singapore), Christa Donner and Andrew S Yang (United States), and Diana Lelonek (Poland) and Denim Szram (Poland/Switzerland) are propelled by sonic outputs of nature. Storytelling, correspondence, and the impossibility of direct communication factor into projects by Cheryl Ong (Singapore), Ana Prvački (Romania/Germany) in collaboration with Joyce Bee Tuan Koh (Singapore) and Galina Mihaleva (Bulgaria/Singapore), and Vivian Wang (Singapore/Switzerland). Sound, history, culture, and space overlap and intertwine in works by Arahmaiani (Indonesia) and Jimmy Ong (Singapore), bani haykal (Singapore) and Lee Weng Choy (Malaysia), Reetu Sattar (Bangladesh), and anGie Seah (Singapore).
Free Jazz III. Sound. Walks. is curated by Magdalena Magiera (Germany/Singapore), NTU CCA Singapore Curator, Education and Outreach, and Dr Karin Oen (United States/Singapore), NTU CCA Singapore Deputy Director, Curatorial Programmes
Under the Skin
1 December 2020 – 31 January 2021 (Online)
World premiere and special performance
1 December 2020, 7pm SGT
This trio of performative works by artists George Chua (Singapore), Nina Djekić (Slovenia/Singapore/Netherlands), and Noor Effendy Ibrahim (Singapore) engages with sound, bodily movements, and performance. These new pieces are cinematically translated into the medium of video by filmmaker Russell Morton (Singapore) and viewed online, acknowledging the curatorial premise that, “the pandemic has pushed us into a space of dramatic convergence—where a deep tech, hyper-connected future collides with social political unrest,” in both the work itself and the medium in which it is presented.
Under the Skin is curated for Free Jazz III by artist Cheong Kah Kit (Singapore) as part of Proposals for Novel Ways of Being, a united response to the changes brought about by COVID-19 hosted by twelve Singapore arts institutions, initiated by the National Gallery Singapore and Singapore Art Museum.
Machine Listening, a curriculum
From October 2020 (Online)
Expanded collaborations and explorations of curatorial spaces also took form in support of Machine Listening, a curriculum instigated by Melbourne-based Liquid Architecture. This evolving online resource, comprising existing and newly commissioned writing, interviews, music and artworks is a new investigation and experiment in collective learning around the emergent field of machine listening. It premiered with three online sessions open to all as part of Unsound 2020: Intermission, an experimental sound festival in Krakow, Poland. NTU CCA Singapore and Liquid Architecture will convene another collaborative online session open to the public in early 2021.
Machine Listening, a curriculum is curated by Sean Dockray, Dr James Parker, and Joel Stern (all Australia).
Visit the evolving open source curriculum and the recorded Unsound sessions:
(Against) the coming world of listening machines
Lessons in How (Not) to be Heard
Listening with the Pandemic
26 February 2021, 7.30 – 9.00pm
On-Site at Blk 43 Malan Road
Presented in collaboration with The Arts House’s Poetry with Music series, the 4th edition of Sollum Swaramum, brings together musicians Ramesh Krishnan, Mohamed Noor and Munir Alsagoff in exploration of the synergies between music and text, with devised and improvised texts based on the work of Tamil literary stalwarts P Krishnan, Ma Ilangkannnan and Rama Kannabiran. These newly devised texts are written by Harini V, Ashwinii Selvarai and Bharathi Moorthiappan, performed by Sivakumar Palakrishnan, and art direction by Laura Miotto.
Curated by Magdalena Magiera, Curator, Outreach and Education, and Dr. Karin Oen, Deputy Director, Curatorial Programmes, NTU CCA Singapore.
Free Jazz III. Sound. Walks. presented in partnership with Proposals for Novel Ways of Being, The Arts House, Liquid Architecture, as part of Singapore Art week, supported by National Arts Council.