Environmental knowledge and the ways it is communicated through visual arts have been at the core of Wang Ruobing’s practice for the past twenty years. With rising water temperatures and the expansion of the Tropical Warm Pool—a large mass of ocean water that features water temperature above 28 degree within which maritime Southeast Asia is situated—the coastal ecosystems in the region have become a crucial field for environmental research and climate change studies. Drawing equal inspiration from scientific knowledge and from Donna J. Haraway’s theories of ‘sympoiesis’ (making-with), the artist hopes to develop new artworks that reconfigure more sustainable relations to the Earth and all its inhabitants.

Committed to exploring new ways of seeing and methods of knowledge production, the artistic practice of Dr Wang Ruobing (b. 1975, China) stretches from drawing to photography, sculpture, kinetic art, and installation. With a diverse range of methodological approaches to present her ideas, her body of work addresses environmental issues and transcultural discourses on identity and hybridity. Her work has been presented in venues such as Yuan Contemporary Art Museum, Chongqing, China (2019), The Esplanade– Theatres on the Bay, Singapore (2021, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2011, 2004), The Substation, Singapore (2019, 2004, 2003, 1999), and EVA International, Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art, Limerick, (2010) among other venues. Ruobing is also an educator, independent curator, and the co-founder of Comma Space (逗号空间), an artist-run experimental platform that ‘creates thinking spaces between commas’. She holds a Ph.D. in Fine Art from Oxford University, United Kingdom.

Against Singapore’s persistent acceleration towards the future through redevelopment and modernisation, the artist is interested in the way certain memories are kept while others are discarded. From her point of view, “the past is more than objects waiting to be discovered; it is a series of perspectives waiting to be unearthed”.​ Investigating the present with the tools of archaeology, she plans to explore the physical sediments of contemporary life through a series of participatory sessions aimed at making, archiving, and combining fragments of the present into new scenarios, perspectives, and meanings.

In this episode, curator Samantha Yap digs deep into the practice of Artist-in-Residence Fazleen Karlan. We are happy to bring the two of them back together, after they first collaborated a couple of year ago on an exhibition titled Time Passes (2020-21), to talk about Fazleen’s evolving artistic sensibility and sources of inspiration.

In this circular conversation that revolves around a shared reading, the novel Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson, Fazleen and Samantha exchange memories, experiences, and thoughts about time, materiality, pop culture, and the vitality of archaeology in Fazleen’s work. And they do so with that special kind of fluid intimacy that interlaces persons of the same age. Just a few words to introduce them.

The practice of Fazleen Karlan weaves together art-making and archaeology to explore matters of time by mapping and reframing physical remains found within the landscape and socio-historical context of Singapore. By engaging the stratifications of a site and by reassessing the chronology of everyday objects through the tools of archaeology, her work generates news records of contemporary life that cast the relation between past, present, and future into a speculative framework.

Shuffling between writing and curation, Samantha Yap nurtures her interests in forms of reciprocity, the ethics of care, love, vulnerability as well as an ongoing exploration of feminist perspectives across literature and visual culture. She has curated a number of exhibitions in Singapore, including Time Passes, National Gallery Singapore (2020) which marked her first collaboration with Fazleen Karlan. Her curatorial texts are featured in several exhibition catalogues and her creative writing is included in My Lot is a Sky (Math Paper Press, 2018), an anthology of poetry by Asian women. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Art History from Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. 

Contributors: Fazleen Karlan, Samantha Yap
Editor: Anna Lovecchio
Programme Manager: Nadia Amalina
Sound Engineer: Ashwin Menon
Intro & Outro Music: Yuen Chee Wai
Cover Image & Design: Arabelle Zhuang, Kristine Tan

[See Full Transcript]

Through the wide-angle lens of her research-based methodology, the artist will traverse the symbolic mapping of this migrant diaspora’s socio-cultural realities emblazoned in official accounts. She will focus on issues of exploitation and gender exclusion and employ computer-generated imagery and postcolonial linguistics to devise new storytelling approaches that subvert the hegemony of colonial epistemologies and bring to the surface silenced narratives, particularly those of Tamizh women.

Starting off the second season of AiRCAST, we hand over the microphone to curator and writer Anca Rujoiu to interview our Artist-in-Residence Priyageetha Dia. Priyageetha and Anca are fresh out of a year-long collaboration that culminated in Forget Me, Forget Me Not (2022), Priyageetha’s solo exhibition curated by Anca which opened last May. In this conversation they share about the background research, interests, and aesthetic strategies behind the new body of work presented in the exhibition. They also expand upon the significance of colonial histories and marginalised communities, agency and empowerment, as well as media and materials in Priyageetha’s practice.

Spanning moving image, sculpture, as well as performance and installation, the practice of Priyageetha Dia (b. 1992, Singapore) addresses identity politics by questioning dominant narratives, material histories, and socio-spatial relations. In the past few years, she has been experimenting with world-making gestures that rehash stories of repression and envision alternative futures. Her works have been included in several group exhibitions including Attention Seeker, La Trobe Art Institute, Bendigo, Australia (2022); An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season, National Gallery Singapore (2020); 2219: Futures Imagined, ArtScience Museum Singapore (2019).

Anca Rujoiu is a Romanian curator and editor who has been living and working in Singapore since 2013. Taking an artist-centred approach, she is committed to artistic practices beyond the West and to what falls through the cracks within its borders. She was a member of the founding team of NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, as Curator of Exhibitions (2013–15) and Head of Publications (2016–18) and she has curated numerous exhibitions, public programs, and publishing projects.  Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate at Monash University with a research focused on institution building, artists-led institutions, and transnational exchanges.

Contributors: Priyageetha Dia, Anca Rujoiu
Editor: Anna Lovecchio
Programme Manager: Nadia Amalina
Sound Engineer: Ashwin Menon
Intro & Outro Music: Yuen Chee Wai
Cover Image & Design: Arabelle Zhuang, Kristine Tan

CREDITS
03’03”: Audio excerpt from WE.REMAIN.IN.MULTIPLE.MOTIONS_MALAYA, 2022. Courtesy the artist.
17’17”: Audio excerpt from WE.REMAIN.IN.MULTIPLE.MOTIONS_MALAYA, 2022. Courtesy the artist.
19’10”: Audio excerpt from WE.REMAIN.IN.MULTIPLE.MOTIONS_MALAYA, 2022. Courtesy the artist.
32’07”: Audio excerpt from WE.REMAIN.IN.MULTIPLE.MOTIONS_MALAYA, 2022. Courtesy the artist.

[See Full Transcript]

Incorporating elements of performance in the most advanced capacities of VR technology, The Insensible Cities results from the artists’ shared interest in addressing and challenging the ideological and historical frameworks that govern one’s origins and identities. Through the sensory documentation of the multiple layers of time, memory, perception, and ideas, The Insensible Cities is a unique VR experience that reintroduces, reinterprets, and restructures the changing dimensions of everyday life in Asia beyond the conventions of cinema and performing arts.

The Insensible Cities is supported by Arts Council Korea (ARKO) and International Arts Joint Fund Korea-Singapore International Exchange Program.

Dr Ella Raidel (Austria/Singapore), is a filmmaker, artist, and researcher. She is an Assistant Professor at  the School of Art, Design and Media and at the WKWSCI School of Communication and Information (both Nanyang Technological University). Her interdisciplinary practice—encompassing films, videos, and research—creates a discursive space for filmmaking, art, and research focused on the socio-cultural aspects of globalisation, urbanisation and the representation of images.

In his writings, films, and performance pieces, Dr Hyun-Suk Seo (South Korea) investigates places and senses. He is Professor at the Graduate School of Communication and Arts at Yonsei University (South Korea). His performance projects unfold in actual places as site-specific work. He often uses virtual reality technologies to construct layers of memories and experiences that question our senses and the boundaries of artworks.

Location
NTU CCA Singapore Residencies Studios
Blocks 38 Malan Road, #01-07
Singapore 109441

Date 
Saturday 26 March, 2:00 – 6:00pm

In encountering Balinese cultural artifacts brought to European museums during the colonial period and examining the cultural diplomacy politics enacted by the colonizers, she aims to excavate pre-colonial Balinese culture and understand how the perspectives and aesthetic criteria formed under colonial rule persist until today. The artist is interested in developing a critical reading of the journey of colonial legacies into the present and in understanding how they still inform contemporary cultural consciousness.

By providing her with direct access to historical archives and museum collections, the residency will allow Citra to deepen her understanding of the influence of Dutch colonial power onto the development of visual arts and culture in Bali.

Find out more about SEA AiR.

During the residency, Lyno will explore the entangled histories of colonialism, modernisation, and urbanisation focusing on the Garden of Tropical Agronomy, located in the Bois de Vincennes, one of the largest public parks in Paris which hosted the International Colonial Exposition in 1931. The exposition featured several architectural representations of the colonies, including Cambodia and Indochina, the remnants of which are still extant today surrounded by modern facilities. The artist is interested in excavating the politics of the built environment to understand the historical role architecture has played in the construction of imperialist agendas and the lingering implications of colonial symbolism and power structures in the present.

Find out more about SEA AiR.

Vuth Lyno is an artist, curator, and educator who is interested in space, cultural history, and the production of knowledge through social relations. Drawing on a wide range of materials such as interviews, artifacts, and newly made objects, he creates spatial configurations that weave together personal stories and collective bodies of knowledge. Participatory and experimental in nature, his artistic and curatorial approach is rooted in communal learning and aims to engage a multiplicity of voices in the production of meaning. He is a member of Stiev Selapak, a collective which founded and co-runs Sa Sa Art Projects in Phnom Penh, a long-term initiative committed to the development of the contemporary visual arts landscape in Cambodia. His work has been presented at several group exhibitions and institutions such as the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Thailand (2020) and the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial, Brisbane, Australia (2019), amongst others.

Hoo Fan Chon is a visual artist whose practice explores taste and foodscapes as cultural and social constructs. His research-driven projects examine how value systems fluctuate as people move from one culture to another. Reframing mundane aspects of everyday life with irony and wry humour, his multimedia works address notion of cultural authenticity and they set in motion the frictions and the overlaps produced by the migration of cultural symbols between different sociocultural contexts. Hoo recently received a solo exhibition at The Back Room, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2021) and he has participated in a number of group shows in Asia. Also active as a curator and a grassroot cultural producer, he is involved with Run Amok Gallery, an art gallery and alternative space in George Town he co-founded in 2013.

Committed to socially engaged practices, multi-disciplinary theatre practitioner Han Xuemei (b. 1987, Singapore) employs art as a tool for bringing communities together and engaging the audience in visceral and personal ways. In her practice, she creates spaces and experiences that incite participants to think outside the box of existing paradigms and articulate forms of hope and resistance. Since 2012, she is Resident Artist at the Singapore-based theatre company Drama Box. Her recent projects include the experiential installation FLOWERS (2019), the community project The Gift (2018), and the participatory experience Missing: The City of Lost Things (2018).