Matthew Mazzotta’s work evolves from an interest in exploring the relationship between people and their environments, as well as between each other. His practice manifests as participatory public interventions that aim at bringing criticality and a sense of openness to notions of public space and sculpture. Mazzotta recreated his community-specific Public Art project in the form of Outdoor Living Room at a hawker centre in Tiong Bahru, Singapore.
His research also involves looking at the different possibilities and limits of public space and public artwork in Singapore.
Iranian-born artist Siah Armajani merges architecture and conceptual art in his sculptures, drawings, and public installations. Informed by democratic ideologies and inspired by American vernacular architecture, his works include gathering spaces for communality, emphasizing the “nobility of usefulness.” His highly acclaimed public art and architectural projects have included bridges, gardens, and outdoor structures, that have been commissioned and presented worldwide. A retrospective featuring his artistic career spanning over more than five decades was recently on view at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and inaugurates in March at The MET Breuer, New York.
CITIES FOR PEOPLE is the pilot edition of the annual NTU CCA Ideas Fest, a platform to catalyse critical exchange of ideas and encourage thinking “out of the box”. It is a bottom-up approach linking the artistic and academic community with grassroots initiatives. This pilot edition expands artistic interventions and engages contemporary issues such as air, water, food, environment, and social interaction in connection to artistic and cultural fields, academic research, and design applications.
The 10-day programme, coinciding with Singapore Art Week 2017 and Art After Dark at Gillman Barracks, comprises a conglomerate of performances, public installations, participatory projects and social experiment, urban farming initiatives, public dialogues, and a variety of workshops. It cumulates in a three-day summit that brings together a prominent group of architects, theorists, researchers, curators, and community groups to discuss and exchange ideas about urbanism, modes of exchange, critical spatial practice, and to envision a future city. CITIES FOR PEOPLE offers a platform to contemplate the possibilities for our shared space, reformulate our demands accordingly, and project solutions and desires for the future.
CITIES FOR PEOPLE, borrowing the title from a book by eminent Singapore architect William S. W. Lim published in 1990, expands on some of the ideas Lim developed, particularly in relation to tropical environments and recycling, as well as his call for a humanistic architecture. Organised on the occasion of the exhibition Incomplete Urbanism: Attempts at Critical Spatial Practice, this event is an invitation to share and engage in cooperative projects and collective experiences that critically reflect on current challenges in urban and social development.
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.
In partnership with Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd., Culture City. Culture Scape. is a public art education programme launched in 2017. A first of its kind in Singapore, the programme features a series of newly commissioned public art works by Dan Graham, Zulkifle Mahmod, Tomás Saraceno and Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA), nestled at Mapletree Business City II, and aims to bring the arts closer to the communities.
Conceived as a research presentation at NTU CCA Singapore’s The Lab, Art, Urban Change, and the Public Sphere engages with the making of the Public Art Trail at Mapletree Business City II in the context of Privately-Owned Public Spaces (POPS) together with other artistic and urban developments in Singapore. The works of the Public Art Trail by international renowned artists Dan Graham, Zulkifle Mahmod, Tomás Saraceno and Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA)are animated through augmented reality in a unique spatial setting. The presentation reflects on emerging discourses such as Future Asian Spaces or Art in the Public Sphere and situates the interconnectedness of cultural politics, urban developments and economic conditions in today’s Singapore. A same-titled Public Art Education Summit in October will reflect on the socio-poltical changes and challenges of Art in the Public Sphere with a focus on community engagement, social (corporate) responsibility, and new artistic approaches in an ever-expanding urban setting.
Contributors include: Lewis Biggs, Chairman, Institute for Public Art; Lilian Chee, Associate Professor & Deputy Head (academic), Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore; Connie Chester, Head of Research and Communication, Studio Tomás Saraceno; Heman Chong, artist; Speak Cryptic, artist; Priyageetha Dia, artist; Eileen Goh, Assistant Manager, Art-In-Transit; Jeremy Hiah, artist and founder, Your Mother gallery; Ruth Hogan, Studio Manager; Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA); Kevin Hsiu, Assistant Director, Liveable Cities; Eileen Lee, Manager, Corporate Communications, Mapletree Investments; Vincent Lee, Principal Architectural Assistant, Art-In-Transit; Samantha Lo/SKL0, artist; Zulkifle Mahmod, artist; Khim Ong, independent curator; Seelan Palay, artist and founder, Coda Culture; Aurel von Richthofen, Senior Researcher, Singapore-ETH Centre SEC; Regina de Rozario, PhD candidate, NTU ADM; Peter Schoppert, Managing Director, National University of Singapore Press; Mustafa Shabbir, Senior Curator, National Gallery Singapore; Angela Tan, Assistant Director, Sector Development (Visual Arts), National Arts Council; Isaiah Tan, 3D Modeler; Ludovica Tomarchio, Research Assistant, Singapore-ETH Centre SEC; Ian Woo, artist; Robert Zhao, artist; Epigram Books; Lisson Gallery; DCA Architects,; Shma Company Limited,; Shimizu Corporation; and among others.
Interested in the “semiotic thickness” of Geylang, an area located on the east-central side of Singapore where bustling street life, covert activities, information technologies, and data mining protocols are increasingly intertwined, Luca Lum has been observing the diffuse entanglements of bodies and surfaces, behaviours and networks that define contemporary urban life. impasse to verbal comes out from her continued engagement with the neighbourhood and from her speculations on the slippage between what things are, how they look, and what they do—which the artist defines as the play between description and disposition.
The work is a visual assemblage that merges wall notices, official zoning maps, personal routes, and various extracts sampled from the urban landscape. Through an intricate interplay of stratifications and transparencies, it creates an imploded visual environment where information is simultaneously displayed and withdrawn, revealed and cloaked. Steeped in a pervasive blue glow reminiscent of the light of electronic devices, the signs are left to float and clash into leaky configurations that shatter conventional patterns of readability.
Considered a leading figure in public art, Iranian-born artist Siah Armajani merges architecture and conceptual art in his sculptures, drawings, and public installations. Informed by democratic ideologies and inspired by American vernacular architecture, his works include gathering spaces for communality, emphasizing the “nobility of usefulness.” His highly acclaimed public art and architectural projects have included bridges, gardens, and outdoor structures, that have been commissioned and presented worldwide. A retrospective featuring his artistic career spanning over more than five decades was recently on view at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and inaugurates in March at The MET Breuer, New York.
Taking centre stage in the exhibition, the large-scale installation Sacco & Vanzetti Reading Room #3 (1988) will unfold along its several comprising elements, such as two rooms, tables, chairs, and racks with books, magazines, and pencils noticeably arranged like spikes. The Reading Room is designed as a functional and inviting space for the visitors of the exhibition to use. The books populating the space are by or about the poets, philosophers, and political activists Armajani has dedicated different works to, many from his Tomb series. Initiated by Armajani in 1972, the Tomb series include drawings and models, of which seven are also on view in the exhibition.
The list of authors includes: Theodor Adorno, Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, John Berryman, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John Dewey, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Luigi Galleani, Emma Goldman, Hafez, Martin Heidegger, Thomas Jefferson, Frank O’Hara, Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Rimbaud, Richard Rorty, Sacco and Vanzetti, Ahmad Shamlou, Henry David Thoreau, Alfred North Whitehead, Walt Whitman, and Nima Yooshij.
NTU CCA Singapore has selected books by and about the philosophers, poets, and political activists that Siah Armajani has dedicated works to, as part of the installation, which is designed for use by the visiting public as a functional and inviting space. Throughout the exhibition period, the installation will host reading groups or other events that respond to the displayed books.
In addition, NTU CCA Singapore is seeking interested individuals, groups, or organisations to engage with the artist’s works. The Sacco and Vanzetti Reading Room #3 is available to be used for readings, gatherings, discussions, workshops, or other events. Interested parties can appropriate the installation and exhibition space, including the books accompanying the installation, and respond to the exhibition and its title, the artist and the work, or related topics.
Siah Armajani: Spaces for the Public. Spaces for Democracy. is curated by Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director of the NTU CCA Singapore, and Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
The exhibition is made possible by generous loans from the MMK Museum for Modern Art, Frankfurt, and Rossi & Rossi, Hong Kong.
Special thank you to Susanne Pfeffer, Director, and Mario Kramer, Head of Collection, MMK, as well as Fabio Rossi and Josie Browne, project liaison.
With gratitude to Siah Armajani and Barbara Armajani.
Mary Otis Stevens (b.1928) is a pioneering American architect. Her architectural designs, along with the founding of i Press (1968-1978), an important publisher of books on architecture, urbanism, and social space, were linked to her ability to radically re-envision space and relationships. In the context of the Cold War and American political activism in the 1960s, her work, which were often in collaboration with her partner, fellow architect and i Press co-founder Thomas McNulty, revealed her foundational training in philosophy and her commitment to de-centralising hierarchies. Revisiting her work more than fifty years later, the themes of active citizen participation in government, integrated planning, and genuine risk-taking to make substantial change in people’s lives remain relevant and crucial means of incorporating a social context into the practice of architecture. On view is Mary’s sensitivity to variations, large and small, visible in her work as a publisher as well as her drawings and architectural designs. This research presentation also explores The Ideal Communist City, an i Press publication by Alexei Gutnov et al. from 1970 that offers a deep dive into a utopian proposition that “the new city is a world belonging to all and to each.”
In order to help introduce the i Press series on the human environment to a wide audience, NTU CCA Singapore, with series editors Ute Meta Bauer (Founding Director, NTU CCA and Professor, NTU ADM), James Graham (Director of Publications, Columbia University GSAPP), and Pelin Tan (2019-2020 Keith Haring Fellow in Art and Activism, Bard College), is currently working with i Press and Mary Otis Stevens to republish several original i Press books with revisions and commentary by contemporary theorists and practitioners.
Mary Otis Stevens. The i Press Series is curated by Dr Karin Oen, Deputy Director, Curatorial Programmes, NTU CCA Singapore
Stan VanDerBeek was an American experimental filmmaker at the forefront of technology. He began making films in 1955 and working with computers in 1965, when he produced multimedia pieces and computer animation in collaboration with Bell Labs. In the 1970s, he constructed “Movie-Drome,” an immersive audio-visual laboratory for a new kind of cinema-stage. His multimedia experiments in “expanded cinema” included movie murals, projection systems, planetarium events, and explored early computer graphics and image processing systems, merging art with technology and dance with films. He was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT (1969–72 and 1976–77).
Engaging The Vitrine as a site imbricated with complex histories and practices of display, Fyerool Darma complicates our understanding of Telok Blangah, the area where Gillman Barracks is located and where the artist recently moved, through objects found or acquired, deconstructed and reoriented by the artist and his collaborators.
Vivarium (wii fl∞w w/ l4if but t4k£ ø f0rms,♥) is an exercise in four parts. Identified through keywords caches on internet-based community marketplaces and by skimming through nearby shops, the items are representations of the artist’s movements and encounters around Telok Blangah and of the possible future of the area: from its literal meaning of “cooking pot” to the forthcoming “Greater Southern Waterfront” development plan. Three items will be placed in The Vitrine, one at a time, with a monthly cadence and each accession will be captured in the Highlights section of the artist’s Instagram account (@fdarma).
Asking questions such as: What is Telok Blangah? And, more importantly if objects are to be taken as registers of the site: Where exactly is Telok Blangah?, Fyerool’s Vivarium (wii fl∞w w/ l4if but t4k£ ø f0rms,♥) encapsulates an object-based index of the area wherein the items slide like cursors along intricate trajectories and the realms of the physical and digital, the archive and the display, are merged.