From its first iteration in 2013, Free Jazz has pushed boundaries and expanded upon pressing concerns of our times. Free Jazz IV. Geomancers continues this approach, featuring artworks ranging from virtual reality to video, performance, and sound as an exercise in planetary awareness. The exhibition presents significant artistic practices from across the globe that are deeply invested in creating an environmental consciousness and that share an understanding of the world as a vulnerable, yet resilient, mesh of coexistences, correlations, and co-creations. As with geomancy, these artworks can help us to read the signs that our planet is trying to send us and that they can inspire a stronger commitment to create a sustainable future for life on Earth.

Alongside scientists, environmental activists, enlightened policy makers and civil society members, contemporary artists are increasingly concerned with future prospects of ecological collapse and planetary survival. They address these issues through the language of art, creating images, sounds, narratives, and experiences that allow us to establish affective and cognitive connections with the environment and partake in the planetary intelligence of the Earth. Stemming from NTU CCA Singapore’s ongoing engagement with the overarching subject of Climates.Habitats. Environments., Free Jazz IV. Geomancers brings together a selection of creative practitioners who are distinctly alert to these urgencies.

Conceived for Singapore Art Week 2022, this programme consists of a film screening series, a virtual reality installation, a performance and a sound installation. Some of the featured artworks zero in on signs of earthly demise, others indicate pathways of resilience and strategies for regeneration. All the works result from long-term research and extensive fieldwork and, when presented together, they engender a kaleidoscopic overview of the multitudinous forms of ecological entanglements.

Artists: Martha Atienza (Philippines), Ursula Biemann (Switzerland), Carolina Caycedo & David de Rozas (United Kingdom; Spain/United States), Chu Hao Pei (Singapore), Liu Chuang (China), Pedro Neves Marques (Portugal), Katie Paterson (Scotland), Rice Brewing Sisters Club (South Korea), Daniel Steegmann Mangrané (Spain/Brazil), Jana Winderen (Norway), Zarina Muhammad & Zachary Chan (Singapore), and Robert Zhao Renhui (Singapore).

Exhibition Information

Katie Paterson
To Burn, Forest, Fire, 2021, performance
Performance schedule: 14, 15, 18, 22, and 23 January, 6.30 – 7.00pm
Block 37 Malan Road, #01-04, Gillman Barracks
Entrance is on a first-come first-served basis up to the capacity allowed by the
prevailing social distancing measures. Audience to arrive at least 15 minutes
before the performance starts. Please note that the performance entails the
burning of incense inside an indoor space.
Please see our Facebook event for the latest updates.

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané
Phantom (kingdom of all the animals and all the beasts is my name)
2014–2015, VR installation
Tuesday to Sunday, 12.00 – 7.00pm
Fridays, 12.00 – 9.00pm
Block 38 Malan Road, #01-07, Gillman Barracks
Please see our Facebook event for the latest updates.

Jana Winderen
Listening through the Dead Zones, 2021, sound installation, 20 min, on loop.
Monday to Thursday: 8.00am to 9.00pm (last entry 8.00pm)
Fridays to Sundays: 8.00am to 10.00pm (last entry 9.00pm)
Please see our Facebook event for the latest updates.

Green Roof, Marina Barrage, 8 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018951
The sound installation is located on the Green Roof at Marina Barrage, above the
Sustainable Singapore Gallery, accessible either via the walking ramp or the elevator.
Once on the rooftop, visitors will find the work in the proximity of the glass house, on
the southern edge of the rooftop. Visitors are encouraged to take the time to pause and
experience Listening to the Dead Zones while facing the open sea.

Screening Programme

Friday, 14 and 21 January 2022, 12.00 – 9.00pm
Session I: 12.00 – 2.50pm
Session II: 3.00 – 5.50pm
Session III: 6.00 – 8.50pm

Tuesday to Sunday, 15 – 23 January 2022, 12.00 – 7.00pm
Session I: 12.00 – 3.20pm (intermission: 1.30 – 2.00pm)
Session II: 3.30 – 6.50pm (intermission: 5.00 – 5.30pm)

Block 38 Malan Road, #01-06, Gillman Barracks
Films will be screened in the order as below during each session.
Please see our Facebook event for the latest updates.

Martha Atienza
Panangatan 11°09’53.3”N 123°42’40.5”E
2019-10-24, 9min

Zarina Muhammad & Zachary Chan
earth, land, sky and sea as palimpsest, 17 min 37 sec

Rice Brewing Sisters Club
Mountain Storytellers, Storytelling Mountains: A Tale Theatre, 15 min 37 sec

Carolina Caycedo & David de Rozas
The Teaching of the Hands, 47 min

Pedro Neves Marques
Semente Exterminadora [Exterminator Seed], 28 min

Ursula Biemann
Acoustic Ocean, 18 min

Liu Chuang
Can Sound be Currency?, 19 min 43 sec

Chu Hao Pei
Inventing Miracle: The Rice to Power, 9 min 59 sec

Robert Zhao Renhui
And A Great Sign Appeared, 4 min 52 sec

Free Jazz IV. Geomancers is supported by National Arts Council Singapore and Nicoletta Fiorucci Russo De Li Galli. NTU CCA Singapore also wishes to thank our collaborators IHME Helsinki, and PUB Singapore’s National Water Agency at Marina Barrage.

Margarida Mendes is a writer, curator, and educator. In 2009 she founded the project space The Barber Shop in Lisbon, where she hosts a programme of seminars and residencies dedicated to artistic and philosophical research. Exploring the overlap between cybernetics, philosophy, sciences, and experimental film, her personal research investigates the dynamic transformations of materialism and their impact on societal structures and cultural production. She is interested in exploring alternative modes of education and political resilience through her collaborative practice, programming and activism. Margarida Mendes has curated projects in various institutions, among them Flat Time House, London; KIM? Contemporary Art Centre, Liga; Berardo Museum, Lisbon; Spike Island Centre of Contemporary Art & Design, Bristol; 98 Weeks, Beirut; and Serralves Museum, Porto.

Margarida holds an MA in Aural and Visual Culture from Goldsmiths College of London, and in 2013 she was part of the Synapse Curatorial Research Group included in the Anthropocene Project at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, with writing in the volume Textures of the Anthropocene: Grain Vapor Ray, published by MIT Press (2004). From 2017 on she will be based in Madrid where she will co-run Escuelita, an informal school at Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo.

In the early 20th century, the South American rubber industry entered a phase of decline as a result of the successful implantation in Southeast Asia of a batch of hevea brasiliensis (rubber plant) seeds, brought to the region from London’s Kew Gardens in 1877. Expanding the lines of inquiry of a previous project—The Skin Labour (2016)—that examined rubber plantations in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Adrián Balseca follows the “trajectory of latex” in the Global South by investigating power relations, labour processes, and patterns of bodily movements devised for rubber harvesting in Singapore and Malaysia at a crucial moment of transition from manual to mechanical techniques. In particular, furthering his investigation of social-environmental issues and the “extractivist” dynamics that underscore capitalistic development, the artist will research designs and graphic patterns of incision employed for tapping rubber trees and the manifold implications entailed by the relocation of labour practices in different political, cultural, and environmental contexts.

By inhabitants in collaboration with Margarida Mendes

Deep sea mining is a new frontier of resource extraction located on the ocean seabed. It is set to begin in the next few years, as the technology is currently under development. Mining companies are, at present, leasing areas for exploitation in national and international waters in order to assess the potential to extract minerals and metals such as manganese, cobalt, gold, copper, iron, and other rare earth elements. The main geological sites targeted are areas rich in polymetallic nodules, seamounts, and hydrothermal vents; areas typically found where tectonic plates meet. The areas to be mined could cover parts of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Clarion Clipperton Zone in the Pacific Ocean in international waters, and national waters off the islands of Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Japan, and the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores. Assessment of the impact on deep sea ecosystems is underway, though their cumulative effects remain difficult to comprehend given the unprecedented variety and expanse of the mining sites targeted. At the same time, local and indigenous communities living in these regions are not being adequately consulted.

The prospects of this form of mining re-actualise a colonial, frontier mentality and are redefining extractivist economies for the twenty-first century. What is Deep Sea Mining? addresses both knowledge of the deep sea and ocean governance, but also efforts to defend a sustained ocean literacy beyond the United Nations’ “blue economy” at a time when the deep ocean, its species, and its resources remain largely unmapped and understudied.

Episode 1, Tools for Ocean Literacy, is historical and geographical introduction to deep sea mining, playing with Charles and Ray Eames’ 1977 film Powers of Ten.

Episode 2, Deep Frontiers, tells a story about knowledge of the seabed and its alien life, written by anthropologist Stefan Helmreich.

Episode 3, The Azore Case, focuses on the Portuguese Azores nine island archipelago, following European Union plans to mine in the region, based on a series of interviews with marine biologists and politicians conducted in the islands.

Episode 4, A Glossary on Mining, offers a brief glossary of terms that can be used to better tackle the issue of mining reserves and monopolies on land, which in turn may lead to the potential threat of deep sea mining.

Episode 5, The Papua New Guinea Case, addresses the plans to mine off the coast of Papua New Guinea as well as the long activist struggle by local communities across the Pacific against deep sea mining. Episode 5 will be premiered at NTU CCA Singapore, simultaneously in the Lab space and online on social media and the websites of NTU CCA Singapore’s website, the funding and partner institution TBA21 – Academy’s website, and inhabitants-tv.