Working towards the production of a solo album, he will gather and sample physical elements present at Gillman Barracks, using forest foliage as sound conductors and collecting field recordings to expand the vocabularies featured in his music. Along the process, the studio will be treated as a site-specific musical instrument which—through a series of recording and interfacing sessions, either individual or collaborative—will be turned into an environment for feedback and interface.

Wrapping up the first season of AiRCAST, in the sixth and final episode former Artist-in-Residence Yuen Chee Wai speaks to Dr Anna Lovecchio, Assistant Director, Programmes.

Get acquainted with Chee Wai as he meditates on his long and expansive journey in experimental music, collaborative networks, and multimedia crossovers. Grown out of an interest in independent music, his creative practice has evolved into a vortex of acts of resistance, melancholic drifts, and world-making gestures that reverberate with critical perspectives on the status quo. Through the course of this exchange, you will also discover how the unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic triggered an outburst of creative energy and pushed him even further into the exploration of new alliances and forms of expression.

Musician, artist, designer, and curator Yuen Chee Wai (b. 1975, Singapore) is known for his commitment to improvised music and experimental projects that explore memory and loss, indeterminacy and invisibility. Ranging from the obsolescent and the newfangled, his eclectic toolbox comprises noise, field recordings, found sounds as well as guitars and various electronic instruments which reverberate with critical perspectives inspired by philosophy, literature, film, and politics. Together with FEN (Far East Network), an improvised music quartet he co-formed in 2008, Yuen is active in triggering multifaceted collaborations across Asia. Since 2014, he is Project Director of Asian Music Network for which he co-curates Asian Meeting Festival. Yuen is also a member of the experimental band The Observatory with whom he plays guitar, efx and objects, and organises a range of projects such Playfreely and BlackKaji.

Contributors: Yuen Chee Wai
Conducted by: Anna Lovecchio
Programme Manager: Nadia Amalina
Sound Engineer: Ashwin Menon (The Music Parlour)
Intro & Outro Music: Tini Aliman
Cover Image & Design: Arabelle Zhuang, Kristine Tan

Credits
02’15”: Audio excerpt from installation recordings of REFUSE. Courtesy The Observatory.
12’26”: Audio excerpt of George Chua and Yuen Chee Wai live session at Strategies v.02, The Substation, 2003. Courtesy the artist.
27’38”: Audio excerpt from unreleased studio recordings of Ishikawa Ko, Iman Jimbot, and Yuen Chee Wai, for Asian Meeting Festival. Courtesy the artist.
30’36”: Audio excerpt of The Observatory and Haino Keiji, Authority is Alive, Playfreely, 2019. Courtesy the artist.
48’40”: Audio excerpt of Imprisoned Mind from the upcoming album Demon State by The Observatory and Koichi Shimizu, 2022. Courtesy the artist.
56’59”: Audio excerpt from installation recordings of REFUSE. Courtesy The Observatory.
1h00’52”: Audio excerpt from Yuen Chee Wai’s recording of packing up the studio in the last hours of his residency at NTU CCA Singapore, 30 March 2022. Courtesy the artist. 

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Apolonija Šušteršič, an architect and visual artist, is a former Visiting Researher at NTU CCA Singapore. Her work is related to a critical analysis of space, usually focused at the processes and relationships between institutions, cultural politics, urban planning, and architecture. Šušteršič broad-ranging interest starts at a phenomenological study of space and continutes its investigation into the social and political nature of our living environment. Together with architect and researcher Meike Schalk, she formed an operative unit, which occasionally produces research, projects, actions, and discussions. Šušteršič is currently Professor of Art & Public Space, Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Norway and has her own art / architecture studio practice in Lund, Sweden and in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Reseach Focus

Contemporary art/ activist practices and current urban struggles over the provision of green spaces in large cities

In line with Julian ‘Togar’ Abraham’s multidisciplinary practice, Togar will develop DIABETHANOL, a hybrid of the word “diabetes” (a metabolic disease in which the body’s inability to produce any or enough insulin causes elevated levels of glucose in the blood) and “ethanol” (a colourless volatile flammable liquid C2H5OH that is the intoxicating agent in liquors and is also used as a solvent and in fuel. The artist project begins with a curiosity in the possibility of converting diabetic urine into a renewable energy source—bioethanol and increase in the prevalence of diabetes in Singapore and Asia. While in residence, Togar will conduct field research with diabetes related organisations in Singapore, from conducting laboratory experiments to analytics and interview.

With an investment in creative research that combines art, science, and technology, Irene Agrivina’s research project, A Perfect Marriage, investigates the symbiotic relationship between Azolla, an aquatic water fern, and Anabaena, a microscopic blue-green cyanobacterium. The two organisms have never been apart for 70 million years, co-evolving in complementary ways that allow them to be increasingly efficient. Besides ensuring their survival, other outcomes of this remarkably sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship involve the production of biofuel and textile dyes, the purification of water, and the reduction of global warming. During her residency, Agrivina aims to expand on her research and conduct experiments inspired by this unique symbiotic process using eco-friendly materials. A Perfect Marriage intends to emphasise the global importance of patterns of co-dependency and the potential of the photosynthesis process in connection with environmental issues.

Diana Lelonek examines the complex interdependency between growing trends of overproduction and natural ecosystems. Her research Interests include Landfill ecologies, Post-consumer waste, Ecological engagement Interspecies encounters, Post-human and eco-feminist studies. Since 2016, she has been gathering waste-derived specimens under the aegis of The Center for Living Things, a long-term artistic project shaped as an independent grassroots research institute. Classified in collaboration with botanists and other natural scientists, The Center for Living Things’ collection includes discarded commodities and objects that, upon disposal, become part of the natural environment for a number of living organisms. Extending this fascination for how the ecosystems of landfills turn into fertile habitats and are reclaimed by non-human organisms, for her research in Singapore, Lelonek will focus on the offshore landfill Pulau Semakau and its own specific ecosystem. Together with the Liaison (Artistic Research), the artist will explore post-waste environments and the waste-derived specimens that come to life within those contexts. The Liaison should preferably have a strong interest in environmental issues, anthropocene studies, and/or botany. Research Liaison: Denise Lim Through photography, painting and three-dimensional explorations influenced by her background in architecture, Denise Lim examines narratives inherent to the human condition. Central to her research interests are circular design and co-creation with nature in the age of the Anthropocene.

The residency of Diana Lelonek was scheduled for October – December 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.

Denise yap (b.1998) is a re-packager, an inbetween of pre-writer and post-reader; They draws from different sources of information to build a world that is plausible. Their artworks explore the potentiality of sincere investments such as alternative kinships and entanglements (and all the embarrassments!) of the human condition.

Their recent group exhibitions include Immaterial Bodies at Objectifs, at NTU CCA Singapore, and The Open Workshop at Supernormal as part of Singapore Art Week.

Dan Susman is a writer, director and editor. Dan Susman with producer Jess Gormley at the Lovie Awards.

Misso Russell Keith (Singapore) is Head Chef of Open Farm Community, where he works closely with urban farmers and talented chefs to create locally sourced, seasonal, and innovative dishes. He has more than a decade of experience working in Singapore’s top luxury hotels and most celebrated restaurants, including three Michelin-starred Joël Robuchon Restaurant, Pollen, and Tippling Club.

Dan Susman is a writer, director and editor. Dan Susman with producer Jess Gormley at the Lovie Awards.

Victoria Marshall is the founder of Till Design (tilldesign.com). She is currently a President’s Fellow at the National University of Singapore, where she is pursuing a PhD in Geography. Marshall is also an Urban-Rural Systems researcher at the ETH Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore.

Foodscape Collective (Singapore) is a community centred on growing food well, cooking well, eating well and living well. Some are growing food, some choose to cook and eat better meals, others bring food to where it is needed, tackle surplus food or food waste issues, or simply want to tell the stories of our foodscape better. The community at Foodscape Collective envisions to grow and foster compassionate and resilient networks integral to our local food ecosystem, and explore better approaches to food and sustainability. They believe that the future needs better agro-ecological systems; better use, selection, and dissemination of information; and a more inquisitive, adventurous spirit in everyone to ask better questions on our foodscape(s).