In some religious traditions, techniques of spiritual mapping and warfare are employed to identify ‘territorial spirits’ (demons) in specific locations and to fight their malignant influences. In visualising the historical manifestations of these spiritual beliefs within the social and physical fabric of the city, the artist aims to adopt an autoethnographic angle and to create a layered, subjective framework wherein multimedia expressions, such as performance, installation, moving image, and sound, interrogate practices of demonisation and the dichotomy between the demon/the demonised.
This episode features a conversation between two multidisciplinary creatives who are also previous collaborators: Artist-in-Residence Zachary Chan and Singaporean playwright Joel Tan. The two come together for a fascinating exchange revolving around Zachary’s research into the religion he grew up with, Pentecostal Christianity, as well as the practice of spiritual mapping and strategic-level spiritual warfare. This research thread unraveled out of Restless Topographies, a project they developed together during a residency at the Goethe Institute Singapore last year. Throughout the conversation, they weave together personal experiences, insights, and revelations, with discussions of the historical anecdotes and religious texts that Zachary has been poring over during his time in residence at NTU CCA Singapore. They also contemplate upon Zachary’s proclivity for collaborations and how the residency has afforded him time to focus on his solo artistic practice.
Spanning several mediums, the work of Zachary Chan reflects his composite background in visual communications, graphic design, and sonic arts. His practice often unfolds through collaborations with other artists and he has written music and designed sound for experimental films, theatre plays, video games, storytelling, and art installations.
Joel Tan is a writer and performer based between London and Singapore. His interdisciplinary practice examines the ways in which politics distort the personal and spiritual, exploring subjects ranging from colonial history, nature, queer experience, and contemporary Singapore life.
Contributors: Zachary Chan, Joel Tan
Editor: Anna Lovecchio
Programme Manager: Nadia Amalina
Sound Engineer: Ashwin Menon
Intro & Outro Music: Yuen Chee Wai
Cover Image & Design: Arabelle Zhuang, Kristine Tan