Environmental knowledge and the ways it is communicated through visual arts have been at the core of Wang Ruobing’s practice for the past twenty years. With rising water temperatures and the expansion of the Tropical Warm Pool—a large mass of ocean water that features water temperature above 28 degree within which maritime Southeast Asia is situated—the coastal ecosystems in the region have become a crucial field for environmental research and climate change studies. Drawing equal inspiration from scientific knowledge and from Donna J. Haraway’s theories of ‘sympoiesis’ (making-with), the artist hopes to develop new artworks that reconfigure more sustainable relations to the Earth and all its inhabitants.
In this episode, we hand over the microphone to curator Tamares Goh to interview our Artist-in-Residence Wang Ruobing. Ruobing and Tamares share a long history of working together throughout their careers, one that goes back to 2004 and will continue on in the years to come. This conversation between peers shines a spotlight on Ruobing’s practice rooted in materiality, the importance of found objects in her art-making process, as well as her ongoing research into the symbiotic relationship between environmental sciences and visual arts. They also touch upon the collaborations Ruobing has activated with deep-sea divers and marine scientists, and how these collaborations continue to shape the trajectory of her artistic practice.
Committed to exploring new ways of seeing and methods of knowledge production, the artistic practice of Dr Wang Ruobing stretches from drawing to photography, sculpture, kinetic art, and installation. With a diverse range of methodological approaches to present her ideas, her body of work addresses environmental issues and transcultural discourses on identity and hybridity.
Tamares Goh is the deputy director of Audience Engagement at National Gallery Singapore, overseeing festivals like Light To Night, Painting With Light and the Gallery’s Childrens Biennale. She was the former head of Visual Arts at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, and co-headed the Programming department overseeing festivals and programmes. In 2017, she was the Producer for the Singapore Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale.
Contributors: Wang Ruobing, Tamares Goh
Editor: Anna Lovecchio
Programme Manager: Nadia Amalina
Sound Engineer: Ashwin Menon
Intro & Outro Music: Yuen Chee Wai
Cover Image & Design: Arabelle Zhuang, Kristine Tan