Thinking in terms of borders and boundaries, either physical and symbolic, the artist intends to map out the lived experience of forced mobility and dispossession as well as its underlying power struggles and emotional trails. His research will revolve specifically on migrant songs, a cultural expression often characterized by melancholic melodies and sombre lyrics that speaks of longing, hard work, and perseverance. Conveying the experience of otherness and stirring emotions of communality, migrant songs haunts our times of unprecedented global mass migration and the contemporary debates surrounding exclusionary nationalist politics. Through participatory workshops aimed at lyric writing, music composition, and vocalisation, migrant songs will be created and disseminated in an effort to redraw boundaries of belonging.
In our third episode, we open up this platform for the first time to a guest interviewer. We invited artist and filmmaker Kent Chan to pick the brain of our Artist-in-Residence Yeo Siew Hua. Beyond being both filmmakers and artists, Siew Hua and Kent have been occasional collaborators in the past and, most importantly, they are also long-time friends. Hear them speak candidly about the intertwined cycles of art-making and fund-raising, the blurred line between cinema and visual arts, as well as the philosophical underpinnings and the importance of collaboration in Siew Hua’s practice.
The practice of Yeo Siew Hua (b. 1985, Singapore) spans film directing and screenwriting. His films probe the darkest side of contemporary society through narratives layered with mysterious atmospheres, inscrutable characters, and mythological references, all steeped in arresting visuals and sounds. His last feature film A Land Imagined (2018) harnessed recognition around the world receiving the Golden Leopard at the 71st Locarno Film Festival and the Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Music Score Awards at the 56th Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival.
After A Land Imagined, Siew Hua has created a number of short films, one of which, An Invocation to the Earth (2020), commissioned by the Singapore International Film Festival and TBA21, was co-produced with NTU CCA Singapore. An Invocation to the Earth can be viewed online at www.stage.tba21.org. During the residency, Siew Hua has been completing his next major production titled The Once and Future, an expanded cinema project which will premiere at the Singapore International Festival of Arts 2022. In 2021, he received the Young Artist Award, Singapore’s highest award for young arts practitioners.
Kent Chan (b. 1984, Singapore) is an artist, curator, and filmmaker currently based in Amsterdam. His practice weaves encounters between art, fiction, and cinema with a particular interest in the tropical imagination, colonialism, and the relation between heat and art. He has held solo presentations at Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, Netherlands (2020-21), National University Singapore Museum (2019-21) and SCCA-Ljubljana, Centre for Contemporary Arts, Slovenia (2017). He was Artist-in-Residence at Jan van Eyck Academie (2019-20) and at NTU CCA Singapore (2017-2018).
Contributors: Yeo Siew Hua, Kent Chan
Conducted by: Anna Lovecchio
Programme Manager: Kristine Tan
Sound Engineer: Ashwin Menon (The Music Parlour)
Intro & Outro Music: Tini Aliman
Cover Image & Design: Arabelle Zhuang, Kristine Tan
06’42”: Audio excerpt from Yeo Siew Hua, A Land Imagined, 2018. Courtesy the artist.
11’46”: Audio excerpt from Yeo Siew Hua, The Obs: A Singapore Story, 2014. Courtesy the artist.
22’55”: Audio excerpt from Yeo Siew Hua, The Once and Future, 2022. Courtesy the artist.
40’49”: Audio excerpt from Yeo Siew Hua, The Lover, The Excess, The Ascetic and the Fool, 2021. Courtesy the artist.