Luke Willis Thompson’s (b. 1988, New Zealand) objects are typically both curios drawn from historical blind-spots and markers of, or stand-ins for, very particular personal lived experience. Thompson’s recent projects have focused on politics around the circulation and repatriation of artefacts, and the class-bound art world’s mode of distribution.

Thompson holds an MFA (2010) and a BFA (2009) from the ELAM School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. Selected exhibitions include: Surround Audience, the New Museum Triennial (2015); Foreign Exchange (or the stories you wouldn’t tell a stranger), Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt, Germany (2014); The 5th Auckland Triennial, Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand (2013). Thompson won the acclaimed Auckland Art Gallery’s Walters Prize in 2014.

Corinne Diserens (b. 1960, France) is guest curator for the Taipei Biennial 2016. She currently serves as director of the ERG, higher art and research academy in Brussels, Belgium. Some of her notable previous positions include director and chief curator at the Museion in Bolzano, Italy (2007-2008), Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes, France (2003-2006), Les Musées de Marseille in Marseille, France (1996-1999), curator at IVAM in Valencia, Spain (1989-1993), and art director at the 1993 Tyne International Biennial sponsored by the Arts Council of Great Britain.

Arjuna Neuman (b.1984, United Kingdom) was born on an airplane, that’s why he has two passports. He shows his work internationally with recent exhibitions and screenings at: Sunshinism, State of the Art, Berlin, Germany (2014); Les Recontres Internationales, Haus Der Kunst der Welt, Berlin, Germany (2014); The Museum of Immortality, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, Lebanon (2014); Exposure, Beirut Art Centre (2014); Les Rencontres Internationales, Le Gaite Lyric, Paris, France (2014); Transpositions, Verge Gallery Sydney University, Australia (2014); Young Artist Moscow Biennale, Moscow Museum (2014); ABC : MTL, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal, Canada (2012); In Our Sights, Machine Projects, Los Angeles , United States (2012) amongst others. As a writer he has published articles in Relief Press, Into the Pines Press, The Journal for New Writing, VIA Press, Concord Press, Art Voices and e-flux.

Between January and April 2015, Neuman was Artist-in-Residence at NTU CCA Singapore, where he researched on Singapore as a “City in a Garden” through the concept of “borrowed scenery.” In addition, Neuman produced Multicultural Dread, a collaborative event addressing the topic of identity in Singapore that included a conversation co-organised by Brack and a text intervention by one of its members, Nazry Bahrawi.

The interdisciplinary practice of Nolan Oswald Dennis (b. 1988, Zambia/South Africa) looks at histories and futures of solidarity in the global south as strategic responses to capital and colonial power, and as trajectories of collective world-making. Engaging with “a black consciousness of space”, his practiceunsettles dominant ways of knowing. His work has been shown internationally at Young Congo Biennial, Kinshasa, Congo (2019); Goethe Institute, Beijing, China (2018); Kalmar Konstmuseum, Sweden (2017), amongst others. In 2016, he was awarded the FNB Art Prize. He is a Research Associate in the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre, University of Johannesburg, and a 2020/21 Digital Earth Fellow.

Hamra Abbas is an artist. Her practice crosses a wide range of media, appropriating and transforming culturally loaded imagery, iconography, and traditional motifs and styles to raise questions of conflict within society. Between May and June 2015, Abbas was Artist-in-Residence at NTU CCA Singapore. During her residency, Abbas explored the complex intertwining of histories, class, race, and culture that defines Singapore, working with the courtly Chinese painting style of Gongbi to address the story of Indian migration in Singapore.

Trinh T. Minh-ha is Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley, and an award-winning artist and filmmaker. She grew up in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War and pursued her education at the National Conservatory of Music and Theater in Ho Chi Minh City. In 1970, she migrated to the United States where she continued her studies in music composition, ethnomusicology, and French literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She embarked on a career as an educator and has taught in diverse disciplines which brought her to the National Conservatory of Music in Dakar, Senegal, where she shot her first film, Reassemblage. Trinh’s cinematic oeuvre has been featured in numerous exhibitions and film festivals. She has participated in biennales across the globe including Documenta11, Kassel (2002), and most recently at Manifesta 13, Marseille (2020). A prolific writer, she has authored nine books. She is the author of several books including Lovecidal: Walking with the Disappeared (2016), D-Passage: The Digital Way (2013), and Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigration, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event (2011). Her film Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989) was presented as an installation within NTU CCA Singapore’s inaugural exhibition Paradise Lost (2014).

Integrated within NTU CCA Singapore’s overarching research framework PLACE.LABOUR.CAPITAL, The Lab will present Darcy Lange: Hard, however, and useful is the small, day-to-day work, taking the video work of New Zealand artist, Darcy Lange (1946 – 2005) as the starting point for a complex discussion concerning the representation of labour. During the 1970s, Lange developed a socially engaged video practice with remarkable studies of people at work that draw from documentary traditions as well as conceptual and structuralist video making. With his seminal style of real-time, unedited, without commentary, lengthy observations of workers that came to characterise his Work Studies series (1972 – 77), Lange aimed to “convey the image of work as work, as an occupation, as an activity, as creativity and as a time consumer”.

Curated by guest curator, Mercedes Vicente.

This ongoing research project is inspired by Amar Kanwar’s The Sovereign Forest. Referencing Kanwar’s artistic approach, The Haze: An Inquiry brought together people from different disciplines in a focus group that takes the haze situation in Southeast Asia as the main topic for investigation.

How do we bridge the gap from the banal to the sensual, the tactical and visceral? What steps of inquiry leads us from the scientific to the notion of immediacy? How do we define abstract terms such as “crime” – Is the haze a crime? What is a crime against society? Different perspectives are offered in this process by participants from diverse backgrounds, including a research scientist, theatre director, community leader, writer, tech consultant, co-founder of a hackerspace, activist, designer and curator, geographer, architect, and postgraduate student.

A core group of specialists from varied fields of law, natural and social sciences, literature, art and architecture, media and theatre, is brought together in a series of workshops and discussions to explore the haze situation as an environmental, human, and legal challenge, given its transnational impact. The aim is to create a collection of “evidence” and to investigate the potential of the haze to be considered a “crime”. This collecting which include factual information and data, compilation of ancestral knowledge, media clippings, commentaries, unrecorded oral knowledge, as well as writings, photographs, and films will be gathered in the space amidst working notes of the core group. Using these “evidences”, participants will uncover social and environmental impacts beyond the haze, and deliberate on questions of social justice, corporate environmental responsibilities, agronomy cultures in industrial developments, amongst others. Each participant brings to the discussion individual responses that stem from their respective interests and disciplines. This research platform aims to assemble a diversity of viewpoints to provoke alternative ways of looking at and talking with a wider public about contemporary situations of urgency.

In addition to the series of closed and public workshops, discussions, and presentations participants in the core group is engaged in, they are also encouraged to invite guests who will make further inquiries into the “evidences” in The Lab and to look into collaborative working methods of shared agency.

Bring it to LIFE is a curatorial project that engages with NTU CCA Singapore’s Artist Resource Platform which aims to overcome the mediated experience and create direct encounters with artistic production. Structured in four different episodes, Bring it to LIFE brings to the fore artworks by Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor, Kray Chen, Sufian Samsiyar, and Geraldine Kang that directly engage with the subject matter of PLACE.LABOUR.CAPITAL. through themes of migration and capital transactions. In addition, it uses spatial interventions as a tool to highlight that the production of meaning is also a spatial process and our movement into a confined place impacts upon the way we relate to it and make meaning out of it.

The work of Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor produced during their residency at NTU CCA Singapore is conceived as a visual poem focused on the migrant workers whose individual destinies are influenced by the wider movements of capital flow. Kray Chen’s contribution is a playful installation highlighting how transactional activities such as cutting queues, getting out of a train or simply shopping are punctuating our everyday life. Sufian Samsiyar’s collaborative project tests the thin boundaries between work and life space. Geraldine Kang’s intervention into the spatial arrangement of the Platform is a proposition for another reading and way of engagement with an archive that eschews linearity and prescribed movement into the space.

Conceived by a constellation of voices from NTU CCA Singapore, Bring it to LIFE is curated by Shona Findlay, Curatorial Assistant, Residencies, Syaheedah Iskandar, Curatorial Assistant, Exhibitions, Samantha Leong, Executive, Conference, Workshops & Archive, and Kimberly Shen, Manager, Communications.

“To live and die well together in a thick present,” quotes the seminal text Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Cthulhucene by Donna Haraway. In this text, Haraway responds to the rising sense of alarm surrounding ecological discourses on the Anthropocene and the Capitalocene. The book is a proposal to move instead towards the discursive framework of the Cthulhucene—an ecological epoch that, for Haraway, “eschews futurism” and remains resolutely with the present and all its problems; one that stays with the trouble and finds kin within it.

To consider the global ecosystem as a network of entangled and interconnected life-forces, the ecological imminence is also an imminence of existence. It begins with disappearance—of water, of trees, of entire habitats and species—all turned to vapour and thin air. And yet thin air in a thick present takes vapour as a beginning, too: vapour cycles through time, becoming cloud, becoming rainfall, becoming water-body again. Taking the Earth’s hydrologic cycle—that is, the sequence of processes detailing the cyclical movement of water on and off the Earth’s surface—as its entry-point, Vapour Islands: to live and die well together in a thick present* is an archipelago of thematic “islands,” in which each island corresponds to one of the four main stages of the hydrologic cycle: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and percolation. Interacting with books and research materials from the Centre’s Public Resource Platform while thinking through the cycle of water, this presentation moves through and between loss and regain, release and redistribution, to consider the ways in which thin air can be transformed into a present thick with possibility.