Against the developmental emphasis on order, cleanliness, and control, weeds are often singled out as plants that grow in the wrong place where they can flourish in spite of being unwanted. In their resistance against human impulses to control and manicure nature, weeds are regarded by the artist as a manifestation of the beauty and resilience of wilderness and chaos. By observing both the physiology and formal qualities of weeds, Chua plans to experiment with a variety of light-sensitive and other photographic techniques to capture their intricate beauty and frame their value for nature and society.

The evocative and subtly layered works of Chua Chye Teck (b. 1974, Singapore) result from prolonged visual and experiential quests. His body of work draws attention to the discarded and the overlooked articulating a reflection on the multiple processes of disappearing that result from the impact of progress and development on the natural environment. His works have been exhibited in venues such as at Singapore Art Museum (2021), Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong (2020), Jendela Esplanade, Singapore (2018, 2015), Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore (2017), Chiang Mai University Art Centre, Thailand (2015), and Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany (2010).

Come by the studios of our Artists-in-Residence: Tini Aliman and Russell Morton (both Singapore) for a special insight into their artistic process. This session of Residencies OPEN will allow you to encounter works-in-progress, watch a film screening, browse archival materials, and talk to the artists in person!

Tini Aliman, detail of work in progress, 2021. Courtesy of NTU CCA Singapore

TINI ALIMAN
Open Studio

Saturday, 18 September, 1:00 ­– 7:00 pm
Block 37 Malan Road, #01-03
no registration required

As a new development of her long-term research on plant consciousness and biodata sonification, Tini Aliman has come to regard ‘dead’ trees as potential archives of environmental soundscapes, witnesses of urban development and extractive capitalism, ecological events and climate change. Breathing new life into tree stumps, fragments of felled trees, and repurposed wood from previous artworks, the artist is reconfiguring these materials into kinetic and sound sculpture prototypes and she is experimenting with a range of sensory and mechanical modes of activation. Conjunctly, inspired by the structural and functional similarities between Printed Circuit Board (PCB) etching designs and forest underground network ecosystems, Tini is also speculatively imagining a functioning network of closed electronic circuits that mimics how these trees would have communicated while they were still alive. This project is realised in collaboration with Trying.sg.

Working at the intersection of film, sound, theatre, and installation, often through collaborative projects, the sonic and spatial experiments of Tini Aliman (b. 1980, Singapore) focus on forest networks, plant consciousness, bioacoustics, and data translations via biodata sonification. Her recent projects and collaborations have been presented at Free Jazz III: Sound. Walks. NTU CCA Singapore (2021); An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season, National Gallery Singapore (2020); Sound Kite Orchestra, Biennale Urbana, Venice, Italy and Stories We Tell to Scare Ourselves With, Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Taiwan (both 2019).

Studio of Russell Morton (detail), 2021. Courtesy of NTU CCA Singapore

RUSSELL MORTON
Open Studio

Saturday, 18 September, 1:00 ­– 7:00 pm
Block 37 Malan Road, #01­-02 & Block 38 Malan Road, #01-06
no registration required

For the past six months, Russell Morton has dived deep into gathering research materials and audiovisual references for the script of his first feature film. Inspired by a not well-known historical event—a prison riot which took place in Pulau Senang before Singapore’s independence—, the film interweaves the horrific events of the bloody riot with regional folklore. This open studio session presents a generous selection of archival materials, oral histories, and sound recordings relevant to the development of the script as well as the documentation (shot on Super 8mm film) of the artist’ site visits to a kelong, a type of vernacular architecture on the verge of disappearing that will feature prominently in the film.
Furthermore, there will be the opportunity to watch Morton’s most recent short film Mystic and Momok (2021), see below for more details.  

The filmic and performative practice of Russell Morton (b. 1982, Singapore) explores folkloric myths, esoteric rituals, and the conventions of cinema itself. His film Saudade (2020) was commissioned for State of Motion: Rushes of Time, Asian Film Archives, Singapore, and presented at the 31st Singapore International Film Festival (2020); The Forest of Copper Columns (2015) won the Cinematic Achievement Award at the 57th Thessaloniki Film Festival, Greece (2016) and was selected for several festivals including the Short Shorts Film Festival, Tokyo, Japan (2017), the Thai Short Film and Video Festival, Bangkok, Thailand, and Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival, Indonesia (both 2016).

RESIDENCIES INSIGHTS

Russell Morton, expired Super 8mm footage of life on a kelong in Singapore waters, 2021, film stills. Courtesy of the artist.

RUSSELL MORTON: ARTIST-LED STUDIO TOUR

Saturday, 18 September, 3:00 – 3:45pm
Block 37 Malan Road, #01-02

In this artist-led studio tour, Russell Morton will talk about his references and unpack some of the research materials that will be woven into the structure of his first feature film: a dark narrative of drifting away from crime and floating in punishment inspired by a grim historical episode which happened in Singapore in the early 1960s. 

Due to safe-distancing measures, this event has limited capacity and is by registration only. Please register here.

Tini Aliman, untitled, 2021, photography and digital composition (detail). Courtesy of the artist.

TINI ALIMAN: OF UNDERGROUND SCHEMATICS & THE FALLEN TREE
Artist Talk and Performance

Saturday, 18 September, 4:30 – 5:30pm
Block 37 Malan Road, #01-03

In a two-part event consisting of a talk and a performance, Tini Aliman will share her findings and reflections on plant consciousness and on the parallels between the human and the vegetable sensorium, interweaving them with explorations in acoustic memory and sonic symbolism related to her personal musical journey. In the performance, she will engage with her long-standing collaborator, a ficus microcarpa (Malayan banyan tree) named Ara. 

Due to safe-distancing measures, this event has limited capacity and is by registration only.Please register here.

Mystic & Momok, 2021, HD video (16:9), stereo, 18min 10sec. Courtesy of the artist.

MYSTIC & MOMOK BY RUSSELL MORTON
Film Screening (on loop)
HD video (16:9), stereo, 18min 10sec, 2021
Rating: PG

Saturday, 18 September, 1:00 – 7:00pm
The Screening Room
Block 38 Malan Road, #01-06
No registration required. Please expect waiting time if room capacity is reached.

Completed during the residency, Russell Morton’s latest short film revolves around the eclectic and versatile figure of Mohammad Din Mohammad (1955 – 2007). Artist and mystic, traditional healer and idiosyncratic collector of Southeast Asian cultural items, Mohammad Din Mohammad was also an actor and a silat master. Playfully disclosing the production limitations imposed by the pandemic, the film evokes Mohammad’s multifaceted personality through the faces, voices, and memories of the artist’s family members and an experimental process where affects and sounds are mediated by technology. As it unfolds, the film grows into an upbeat stream of visuals and sounds mixed by Momok, a computer algorithm created by artist bani haykal.

Mystic & Momok was commissioned by National Gallery Singapore for the exhibition Something New Must Turn Up: Six Singaporean Artists After 1965 (7 May – 22 August 2021) which featured Mohammad Din Mohammad’s works.
 
This event marks the opening of The Screening Room, NTU CCA Singapore’s cosy new space dedicated to film screenings and talks.

In a two-part event consisting of a talk and a performance, Tini Aliman will share her findings and reflections on plant consciousness and on the parallels between the human and the vegetable sensoriums, interweaving them with explorations in acoustic memory and sonic symbolism related to her personal musical journey. In the performance, she will engage with her long-standing collaborator, a ficus microcarpa (Malayan banyan tree) named Ara.

Working at the intersection of film, sound, theatre, and installation, often through collaborative projects, the sonic and spatial experiments of Tini Aliman (b.1980, Singapore) focus on forest networks, plant consciousness, bioacoustics, and data translations via biodata sonification. Her recent projects and collaborations have been presented at Free Jazz III: Sound. Walks. NTU CCA Singapore (2021); An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season, National Gallery Singapore (2020); Sound Kite Orchestra, Biennale Urbana, Venice, Italy and Stories We Tell to Scare Ourselves With, Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Taiwan (both 2019).

Admission is free but registration is required. Please register here.

This event is part of Residencies OPEN, 18 September 2021 (1.00 – 7.00pm), for more info click here.

Image: Tini Aliman, untitled, 2021 photography and digital composition (detail). Courtesy of the artist.

Within the framework of this project, tree stumps are regarded as witnesses to the ecological and anthropogenic changes resulting from land development, extractive capitalism, and climate change. Despite being seemingly devoid of life, felled trees and their stumps are in fact connected to underground forest ecologies and are part of sprawling fungal and bacterial networks through which plants communicate and send out signals that are not immediately graspable by the human ear. Shifting the acoustic experience of listening to one that is attuned to the sonic manifestation of non-human organisms, the artist will attempt to translate these signals into audible frequencies that merge deep listening and site-specificity. Furthermore, drawing parallels between the organic plant networks and the structure of printed circuit board (PCB), she will also map various sonic and spatial trajectories of plant sensing, survival, and communication. 

In the first episode of AiRCAST, NTU CCA Singapore curator Dr Anna Lovecchio speaks to Artist-in-Residence Tini Aliman about how her sonic practice revolves around a close listening of the natural environment. Tini shares about the experience of growing up in a fast-developing city, her encounters with nature, the human and other-than-human sources of inspiration for her work, and the sonification of tree stumps she is experimenting with during the residency. As a special treat to our ears, the conversation is punctuated with excerpts from her recordings.

Working at the intersection of film, sound, theatre, and installation and often through collaborative projects, the sonic and spatial experiments of Tini Aliman (b. 1980, Singapore) focus on forest networks and plant consciousness, bioacoustics and biodata sonification. Her recent projects and collaborations have been presented at Free Jazz III: Sound. Walks., NTU CCA Singapore (2021); An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season, National Gallery Singapore (2020); Sound Kite Orchestra, Biennale Urbana, Venice, Italy and Stories We Tell to Scare Ourselves With, Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Taiwan (both 2019). 

Contributor: Tini Aliman
Conducted by: Anna Lovecchio
Programme Manager: Kristine Tan
Sound Engineer: Rudi Osman
Intro & Outro Music: Tini Aliman
Cover Image & Design: Arabelle Zhuang, Kristine Tan

Credits:
9:11: Recording of plants in Fort Canning Park, Aug 2018. Courtesy the artist.
17: 20: Audio excerpt from Plants emit sound when stressed, ILTV Israel News, Dec 11, 2018, https://youtu.be/5YHnVdA2ZG8
24:01: Audio excerpt from Zarina Muhammad, Flowers of our Bloodlines, lecture performance, NTU CCA Singapore, 2017. Courtesy the artist.
26:35: Audio excerpt from Tini Aliman, Pokoknya, performance, 17 January 2020, NTU CCA Singapore. Courtesy the artist.
30:37: Audio excerpt from Tini Aliman, Pokoknya: Organic Cancellation, 2020, mixed media installation. Courtesy the artist.
36:08: Sounds from Tini Aliman’s studio. Courtesy the artist.
44:54: Underground sounds from the forest at Gillman Barracks captured by Tini Aliman with a geophone, August 2021. Courtesy the artist.
49:06: Field recordings of a walk through the forest at Gillman Barracks, December 2020. Courtesy the artist.

[See Full Transcript]

Continuing to expand The Migrant Ecologies Project , Lucy Davis will focus on Railtrack Songmaps, the first iteration of which was launched as a multimedia installation at Gillman Barracks in 2016. A three-year research project conducted in conjunction with Nature Society of Singapore and National University of Singapore, Railtrack Songmaps features recordings of birds along the Tanglin Halt rail tracks, collecting the fleeting voices of nature to explore interspecies communication and the entanglements of animal life and urban development. Due to its wide-ranging interdisciplinary approach, the project unfolds through collaborations with several artists, scientists, designers, and photographers based in Singapore.

Shooshie Sulaiman is researching and creating a symbolic gesture of a rubber plantation through nine rubber trees. The trees are from Malaysia and the amount represents the number of the first nine seedlings that made their way from Singapore to Malaysia in 1870s. Today Malaysia is one of the leading countries that supplies rubber to the world, and hence contributing to the the boom in local economic growth.

The ephemeral element of the whole idea and process of the project is to investigate Southeast Asia’s ancestors and technologies in a cultural pattern that can bring hope and understanding to a new legacy. This project also attempts to pursue questions of property, public space and ecology and to understand more about the authority that claim the land and the sky.

In Hawaiian, the native word “au” combines notions of space, time, and flow into a single term suggesting the existence of an ecologically fluid worldview. Challenging the supremacy of Western science as well as the entrenched perceptions of the Pacific Islands and their people as fatefully remote and “scattered,” Sean Connelly has embarked on a long-term project titled Hydraulic Islands, comprising a multi-part anthology and a new-media atlas, that revolves around the pivotal role Hawa’i plays in the history and future of human settlements across Oceania and beyond. During the residency, the artist will work on the graphic atlas which results from a combination of geographic information system (GIS) technologies, counter-mapping techniques, and extensive fieldwork across Hawai’i. By delving deep into aboriginal ecologies, planetary systems, and network economies, he aims to recover indigenous knowledge and practices that can advance more sustainable oceanic systems of urbanism, energy, economy, and time as they relate to cities and natural resources.

Sean Connelly (b.1984, United States) is an artist, urban ecologist, and architect. His research addresses the role of innovative design in recovering ahupua’a, a traditional Hawaiian spatial configuration. Connelly operates both independently and collaboratively out of his studio practice After Oceanic which pursues projects in the realms of architecture, landscape, and infrastructure. He is also the author and producer of Hawai‚Äòi Futures, a virtual intervention and educational tool for island urbanism. His work has been shown across the United States at the Honolulu Biennale (2017); Honolulu Museum of Art (2015) and Santa Fe Art Institute (2016).

Research interests:

– Techno-environmental models for decolonisation
– Intimate strategies for interspecies communication
– Soil culture, ecological systems, and indoor gardening
– Open-source interaction systems and cryptic dispersal networks
– Global logistics and remote collaborations

Inspired by terra preta (black soil) — the anthropogenic production of a type of dark, fertile soil by Amazonian farming communities in ancient and contemporary times — Nolan Oswald Dennis’ research project Black Earth Study Club braids “Black Earth” and “Black Studies” in a speculative disciplinary twist. This project pursues the cultivation of mutual knowledge through practices of solidarity and soil-making with an interest in the potentialities of telepresence, redistribution, and remote collaboration. The project involves developing “black earth readers”: digital micro/mesocosmic systems for producing anthropogenic soils; collaborative reading (strategies for reading with soil microbes); and hacking global logistics networks for material redistribution. Adopting the form of a “study club” as social assemblage and research method, the project will involve exchanges among practitioners from South America, Europe, South Africa and Singapore to cultivate an ‘other’ possibility of solidarity on a planetary scale.

The residency of Nolan Oswald Dennis was scheduled for April – June 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak rendered international travel impossible. In order to continue to support artistic research and foster collaborations beyond borders, the NTU CCA Residencies Programme initiated Residencies Rewired, a project that trailblazes new pathways to collaboration.


Research Liaison: Kin Chui

Engaged with modes of resistance and emancipatory struggles, the artistic practice of Kin Chui scrutinises the imprints of colonial past on the present through a socially-oriented and collaborative approach.