Han Nefkens Foundation – Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Grant 2022
Noor Abed
A Night We Held Between

16mm film, 4k digital transfer, with sound, approx. 30 mins

16 January 2024, Tue – 28 January 2024, Sun
Block 6 Lock Road, #01-09

Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Friday
12 pm – 7pm
Saturdays, 1 pm – 9pm
Sundays, 1 pm – 7pm

In conversation with the artist
Saturday, 20 January, 11:00am – 12:30pm

Artist Noor Abed will be in conversation with Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director of NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore and Professor at the School of Art, Design, and Media, NTU, to delve into Abed’s vision and motivation in light of winning the Han Nefkens Foundation – Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Grant 2022, in collaboration with NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore; WIELS, Brussels; Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), Manila and Jameel Art Centre, Dubai, engaging in transcontinental institutional collaboration and the impact it had on her work.

The conversation opens with a welcome address by Han Nefkens, Founder of the Han Nefkens Foundation.

A NIGHT WE HELD BETWEEN begins with the notion of the labyrinth, which serves as a metaphorical reference that connects a historical mythology to the socio-political reality in Palestine. Filmed in spring and summer 2023, Abed focused on ancient sites in Palestine – caves, carved holes, underground passages, and wild valleys. The chosen locales became the main protagonist, traversing beyond the first layers of visibility and revealing a hidden world underneath that was not seen but familiar to the places one knew.

noor abed, a night between, 2023. 16mm film, 4k digital transfer, with sound, 30 mins. video still. video still. Commissioned by Han Nefkens Foundation – Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Award. Image courtesy the Artist.

Images become signifiers of what is lost, untold, and hence forgotten. These appear in a ghostly texture, as eerie reminders of their uncanny existence. Expanding upon this  historical loss through a cinematic space allows the past to recur through a projection of imaginary gaps. The filmic score emphasizes the role of collective rhythmic movements and its potential impact in evoking shared feelings that may contribute to reconnect and sustain a community that is dislocated. 

Abed weaves into her narration mythology and Palestinian folklore, creating a fusion of natural and composed sequences of movement, blending documentary and fictional elements. Through a poetic choreography of bodies, sites, narratives, and temporalities, her work prompts contemplation on the manifestations of social action and resistance in everyday life.

The featured video work A NIGHT WE HELD BETWEEN, has been created with the support of the Han Nefkens Foundation—Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Grant 2022 with its inaugural screening taking place at the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore.

Images become signifiers of what is lost, untold, and hence forgotten. These appear in a ghostly texture, as eerie reminders of their uncanny existence.

The Han Nefkens Foundation—Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Grant appraises the work of emerging artists aged 50 and under, who live in West or Central Asia and have established a solid trajectory but have not had the opportunity to exhibit extensively: this production grant should serve as an important source of support and boost in their career.

A NIGHT WE HELD BETWEEN will be exhibited by a transcontinental consortium consisting of five institutions: Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila (The Philippines); Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona (Spain); WIELS, Brussels (Belgium); NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (Singapore); Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai (UAE).


BIOGRAPHY

Noor Abed (Palestine/Netherlands) works at the intersection of performance and film. Abed attended the Whitney Independent Study Program in Νew York in 2015-16, and the Home Workspace Program (HWP) at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut 2016-17. She received her BA from the International Academy of Arts in Palestine and a MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles. Abed’s work has been screened and exhibited internationally at Anthology Film Archives, New York, Gabes Cinema Fen Film Festival, Tunisia, Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, Leonard & Bina Gallery, Montréal, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Ujazdowski Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, The Mosaic Rooms, London, and MAXXI – National Museum of 21st Century Art, Rome, among others. In 2021-22 she was a curatorial assistant for the artistic team of documenta fifteen in Kassel, Germany. Abed is currently a resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam 2022-24.

About Han Nefkens Foundation
The Han Nefkens Foundation was established in 2009 with the aim of connecting people through art. In 2016, Han Nefkens decided to focus exclusively on supporting emerging and mid-career international video artists through Awards, Production Grants, and Mentorship Grants. The Foundation is not only involved in producing new works with the artists, but also finding international residencies, producing publications, purchasing working tools, finding technical support, and bringing artists into contact with art institutions and peers. With an extensive network in countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Ecuador, Peru, Spain, and the Netherlands, the Foundation is able to present artists to a diverse and global audience.

Judging Panel
Noor Abed was selected in 2022 by an international judging panel chaired by Han Nefkens and composed of Joselina Cruz, Director/curator at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila (The Philippines); Nuria Homs, curator at Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona (Spain); Helena Kritis, curator, WIELS, Brussels (Belgium); Anna Lovecchio, Assistant Director, Programmes, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (Singapore); Nora Razian, Head of Exhibitions, Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai (UAE); Dirk Snauwaert, Director, WIELS; Linda Valdez, Exhibitions Manager, Fundació Antoni Tàpies; in the presence of Hilde Teerlinck, CEO and Director and Alessandra Biscaro, Coordinator, both Han Nefkens Foundation.

Image Credits
Noor Abed
A Night Between, 2023
16mm film, 4k digital transfer, with sound, approx. 30 mins
video still
Commissioned by Han Nefkens Foundation – Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Award
Courtesy the Artist

Drawing from oral histories and unwritten memories, the works of Saroot Supasuthivech unearth the multiplicity of narratives embedded in specific locations. His installations often combine moving image and sound to conjure the affective aura of a site and bring forth its intangible socio-historical stratifications. Using photogrammetry techniques, he turns 2D images into 3D models as a way of to blur the lines between the real and the mythical. His latest video installation, River Kwai: This Memorial Service Was Held in the Memory of the Deceased (2022), was featured in the Discoveries Section at Art Basel Hong Kong 2022.

For his residency at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Saroot Supasuthivech will research the encounters of cultures, faiths and rituals among immigrant communities and local inhabitants. He is especially interested in the spiritual beliefs and ceremonial traditions by which humans ritualise the moment of death. With a focus on the historical impact of immigration on funerary practices across different regional and religious contexts, the artist will survey specific burial sites and rituals in Germany and Thailand looking at how foreign communities enact their funerary traditions abroad.

Major sites of interest for his research are the Protestant Cemetery in Bangkok and the Kurpark (Spa Park) in Bad Homburg, the only town outside of Thailand that features two Sala Thai (open pavilions). The Sala were gifted to the city of Bad Homburg by King Chulalongkorn of Siam (1853 to 1910) as a token of gratitude after the monarch’s illness was healed in the spa town in 1907. From the materials gathered through field trips, interviews and archival research, the artist plans to develop a video installation that will convey the mystical structures of those sites as well as the spiritual intersections engendered by global migrations.

The multimedia practice of Ngoc Nau encompasses photography, holograms, and Augmented Reality (AR) and she is currently working with 3D software and other open source technologies to create new possibilities for video installation. In Nau’s work, different materials and techniques attempt to capture the subtle ways in which new media shape and dictate our views of reality. Blending traditional culture and spiritual beliefs with modern technologies and lifestyles, her work often responds to Vietnam’s accelerated urban development. She has participated in several exhibitions across Asia, including the Thailand Biennale, Korat (2021) and the Singapore Biennale (2019) among others. She also participated in documenta 15, Kassel, Germany (2022) with Sa Sa Art Projects.

During the residency, Ngoc Nau intends to research the impact of urbanisation and modernisation on contemporary living conditions, collective memories, traditional practices, and the natural landscape. Situating herself within the creative community of Rupert will allow her to explore Lithuanian cultural landscape and to access a new trove of materials, including oral traditions, historical archives, and ritual ceremonies. Through encounters will the local community, she intends to unearth the traditional values and ancient practices that have been lost to industrial and technological advancements in order to come to a better understanding of how different communities configure their values and identities within the fast-changing landscape of today. Nau is particularly interested in the gaps created by modern development in the intergenerational transmission of knowledge and she plans to experiment with new media technologies to imagine modes of being that reconcile the past and the future.

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.

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).

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

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.

For the past decade, Zarina Muhammad has embarked on a multidisciplinary research that explores magico-religious belief systems, ritual practices, and sacred sites. The various embodiments of her work, which engage broader contexts of myth-making, ritual magic, gender-based archetypes, and spirits of resistance, frame the cultural biographies of objects and the region’s provisional relationship to mysticism and the immaterial against the dynamics of global modernity. Her research project for the residency takes the trans-local figures of the penunggu (tutelary spirit) and the tuan/puan tanah (Lord of the Land) as points of departure to reconsider notions of territoriality and spectrality against the social production of rationality. During the residency, she will focus on mapping old and new ways to tell stories of unresolved memories, fragmented cosmologies, shapeshifting translations, and haunted histories.

While in residence, anGie seah will investigate this ineffable expression into a series of expressive notions; creating moments in curious site-specific rituals and making instructional tools and activities for uplifting purposes. Her research will focus on reflecting upon existential questions on the meaning of fear, death, loss and being human. Fascinated by the splendour of the everyday and against all the depressing and chaotic evidence to the contrary, Seah will investigate intrinsic values of living.

Intrigued by the fundamental elements of mutual respect and equal status that underlie practices of hospitality, Alecia Neo seeks to experiment with “acts of radical hospitality” to push forward a critical engagement with the culture of our time. Today, hospitality is mostly associated with the tourism industry and private etiquette but it can also be understood as a political practice whereby a community negotiates its identity and its relationship with “the others.” Engaging with diverse rituals of hospitality practiced in the region, the artist aims to understand how communities draw boundaries and connect with outsiders. During the residency, she will reach out to several individuals and groups and she will invite them to perform acts of sharing and exchange as a form of empowerment. Through observing and experimenting with these rituals, Neo aims to gain a better understanding of how hospitality may serve as a resource to establish forms of connectedness across different communities.

Theatrical Fields introduces theatricality as a critical strategy in performance, film and video. This exhibition presents six video installations shown for the first time in Southeast Asia: Voice off by Judith Barry (USA), Suspiria by Stan Douglas (Canada), Lines in the Sand by Joan Jonas (USA), Vagabondia by Isaac Julien (UK), She Might Belong to You by Eva Meyer & Eran Schaerf (Germany / Israel), X Characters Re(hers)AL by Constanze Ruhm (Austria). Situated in juxtaposition, the works generate temporal spaces for experimental action, creating unfamiliar proximities and encounters.

Theatrical Fields was curated by Ute Meta Bauer (Founding Director) with Anca Rujoiu (Curator for Exhibitions), and was first presented and commissioned by the Bildmuseet, Umea in Sweden (2013).

As a collaboration, Bildmuseet Umea and NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore will publish a catalogue including keynotes from the symposium and additional commissioned essays.

Theatrical Fields public programmes

Zarina Muhammad (b. 1982, Singapore) is an artist, educator, and writer whose practice is deeply entwined with a critical re-examination of ethnographic literature and historiographic accounts about Southeast Asia. Recent exhibitions include the President‚ Young Talents 2018, Singapore Art Museum, and Stories We Tell to Scare Ourselves With, MOCA, Taipei, Taiwan (2019). Incarnations of her lecture performances have been presented at Indonesia Contemporary Art Network, Yogyakarta (2018); Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film (2017); and LASALLE‚ Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (2018, 2016).