Building on the unique opportunity to explore wilderness within the urban context, Izat Arif’s research project aims to survey the topography, history, social memory, and natural environment of the patch of jungle located within the compound of Gillman Barracks. Provisionally titled Living Methods in City Jungle, this investigation is a continuation of an earlier project initiated in 2016 by the artist collective Malaysian Artists’ Intention Experiment (MAIX), of which the artist is a member. The group engaged in manifold activities including planting trees, collecting samples, and gathering information from the locals about traditional beliefs and practices in a tract of forest reserve situated in Perak, Northern Malaysia. Employing similar methodologies, he aims to conduct extensive fieldwork during the residency. The findings will materialise as drawings, photocollages, sound and video recordings, a tool cabinet, and they might potentially coalesce into a guidebook which mobilises both the familiar and the unfamiliar aspects of the territory.

During the residency, Monica Ursina Jäger will examine the shifting topography of Singapore and Southern Malaysia and how it changed over the last century by engaging with urban development, and architecture. Of particular interest is the relationship between built environments and natural landscapes in “the vertical shift” incurred in the notion of landscape. Looking at Singapore as a unique case study, her research aims to focus on and excavate histories related to the social, political and sensorial conversations between natural and built elements and to rethink ‘topography’ as a mental landscape, rather than as a form of visual representation.

In recent years, Claudia Losi’s artistic research has journeyed around the perception of places creating erratic configurations of language, memory, and imagination that unfold multiple layers of our subjective relationship to the world. For the artist, “being there” denotes a state of being located in the mind of the subject, in the memories and imagination related to a physical environment. These series of investigations coalesced into the publication How do I imagine being there?, realized in 2016 alongside an eponymous exhibition. Following the same train of thought, the research project for the residency is titled Being There or Life is a State of Mind, after the 1979 film by American director Hal Ashby. Losi intends to conduct a series of interviews with people from diverse disciplines, generations, and socioeconomic backgrounds asking them to describe a certain typology of place. Texts, drawings, and possibly a video will be created on the basis of the gathered materials.

Mapping memories by mobilising narratives, images, and sites has been a recurrent gesture for Boedi Widjaja in the last decade of his practice. Moving beyond cartographic representation, his approach to mapping embraces a multiplicity of angles—from phenomenological responses to archaeological dives into far-off times—through which he retraces our understanding of history and memory. During the residency, he will focus on Medang Kamulan (“Medang the origin” in Javanese), an ancestral site prominently embedded in Javanese collective memory. Believed to be located in Grobogan (Central Java), Medang Kamulan is a place of beginning, the mythical cradle of Javanese civilisation that appears in oral histories, epic literature, and countless legends. In harking back to this site of origin, the artist will speculate on how cultural kinships could be moulded by unhindered flows and unconstrained connections before the rise of colonialism and of the border politics of nation-states. This research is part of Path. (2012 – ongoing), a body of work revolving around migration, movement, and belonging that reframes our existence by recasting our relationship to the past.

Ari Wulu is a solo electronic music performer also known as midiJUNKIE or WVLV. He has been actively creating arrangements and performing since 1998, and his works have been presented at various events and festivals in Indonesia. Apart from his audio works, he is also the Program Director of SoundBoutique (2005–present), and Yogyakarta Gamelan Festival (2009–present), and was a member of the board of directors of Yogyakarta Art Festival (2013–18). Together with his collective, Jogjakarta Video Mapping Project (also known as JVMP, 2013–present), Ari Wulu organises SUMONAR, an annual video projection and interactive art festival in Yogyakarta (since 2018).

Lulu Lutfi Labibi studied textile craft in Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta (ISI Yogyakarta). In 2012, LULU LUTFI LABIBI was launched: a ready-to-wear fashion label that promotes the use of Indonesian traditional textiles such as lurik, tenun, and batik in a more up-to-date look. The technique of drapery became its own identity by forming the fabric directly onto the mannequin or living model, without creating many patterns. Apart from presenting his works at various local and international festivals, Lulu Lutfi Labibi collaborated with artists indieguerillas to present Petruk Jadi Supermodel at Artjog 2015, and with art collective Piramida Gerilya to present Warung Murakabi at Artjog 2019.

Emerging from an exhibition, conference, and festival that explored architect and urban theorist William S. W. Lim’s concept on “Incomplete Urbanism” and his call for “Cities for People,” this publication juxtaposes research essays, visual and textual documentation. Organised into three chapters — “The City as Living Room,” “The City as Multiple,” and “The City as Stage,” the contributions — by architects, scholars, planners, artists, activists, and curators —constitute a diverse set of analyses. Unexpected notions of planning, building, and living in Asian cities suggest multiple paths into critical spatial practice of Asian urban space. The volume positions Lim’s thoughts, concepts, and plans for action as that of a humanist who addresses the complex topography of an ever-changing urban Asia.

Contributors include: Laura Anderson Barbata, Jiat-Hwee Chang, Thanavi Chotpradit, Calvin Chua, Yvonne P. Doderer, Chomchon Fusinpaiboon, indieguerillas, Marc Glöde, Sacha Kagan, Lulu Lutfi Labibi, Magdalena Magiera, Laura Miotto, Marjetica Potrč, Pen Sereypagna, Shirley Surya, Sissel Tolaas, Etienne Turpin and Nashin Mahtani, John Wagner, H. Koon Wee, Woon Tien Wei, and Ari Wulu. Foreword by Nikos Papastergiadis. Afterword by William S. W. Lim.

The Impossibility of Mapping (Urban Asia)
Published by World Scientific Publishing
© 2018
ISBN: 978-981-121-192-8

Purchase here.

Calvin Chua is an architect, urbanist, and educator. He leads Spatial Anatomy, a firm that designs spaces, objects, and strategies for cities. In parallel, he serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, leading seminars and design studios on adaptation and urban regeneration. He is recognised as one of the leading voices on Korean peninsula issues. For the past eight years, Chua has piloted capacity-building programmes and urban advisory work in the DPRK. His works and opinions have been featured in various news media, including Monocle, Reuters, and CNN. Prior to founding his practice, Chua worked for various architecture and urban-planning firms in Europe and Asia. A registered architect in the UK, he graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architecture.

indieguerillas, founded in 1999, is a duet of artists from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. They are the couple Santi Ariestyowanti (b. 1977, Semarang) and Dyatmiko “Miko” Bawono (b. 1975, Kudus). The former has a background in visual communication design and the latter in interior design. Both are alumni of the Faculty of Art of the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta (ISI Yogyakarta). In addition to their being known for their interest in folklore, indieguerillas are also recognised for their proficiency in visual effects and inter-media experimentation in their works.

Jiat-Hwee Chang is Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore. He is the author of A Genealogy of Tropical Architecture: Colonial Networks, Nature and Technoscience (2016), which was awarded an International Planning History Society Book Prize 2018, and shortlisted for the European Association for Southeast Asian Studies Humanities Book Prize 2017. He is also co-editor of Southeast Asia’s Modern Architecture: Questions in Translation, Epistemology and Power (2019) and (with William S. W. Lim) Non West Modernist Past (2011). Chang was recently a Canadian Centre for Architecture-Mellon Foundation Researcher, 2017–19. In 2019–20, he will be Manton Fellow at the Clark Art Institute and Carson Fellow at the Rachel Carson Centre for Environment and Society, Germany, researching the sociocultural histories and techno-politics of air conditioning and climate change in urban Asia. He is also co-writing a book on everyday modernism in Singapore with Justin Zhuang and photographer Darren Soh.