Wednesday, 25 February 2015

March 2015 | Malaya Black & White film screenings

This March, the Malaya Black & White film series returns with a brand new season, Beyond Saint Jack, guest-curated by author and critic Ben Slater. The season will kick off with the screening of Saint Jack (1979) on 11 March followed by Pretty Polly (1967) on 18 March at the NUS Museum. 

NOTE:
Both events are SOLD OUT. In the case of cancellations, these spaces will be made available on the Peatix event page.

Check for updates here: http://saintjackprettypolly.peatix.com/


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Date: Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Time: 7pm
Venue: NUS Museum 
Register: SOLD OUT

saintjackprettypolly.peatix.com

 Rated M18.
*Please bring some form of identification for entry.

Banned for nearly 30 years in Singapore, Peter Bogdanovich’s adaptation of Paul Theroux’s novel is the most notorious film (entirely) shot in the Lion City. Ben Gazzara is unforgettable as Jack Flowers, a moral pimp, scheming and dreaming across the slippery landscape of a rapidly changing 1970s Singapore. Jack’s the archetypal ‘old hand’ in exotic climes, and yet he’s a melancholy and generous figure – straddling local and expatriate milieu, authentically captured by Bogdanovich, a brilliant European crew, and a cast of mainly non-professionals discovered in Singapore. This screening is accompanied by a segment from the BBC TV series ‘Moving Pictures’, depicting the film being shot on location in 1978.

Date: Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Time: 7pm

Venue: NUS Museum
Register:  SOLD OUT
saintjackprettypolly.peatix.com



 

Rarely seen today (it’s not on DVD!), this big-budget adaptation of Noel Coward’s acidic Singapore-set short story was shot almost entirely in Singapore in early 1967. Despite a great deal of local excitement about teen megastar Hayley Mills and Bollywood king Shashi Kapoor making a film here, Pretty Polly was not successful, but it remains a fascinating depiction of Singapore as a hedonistic playground for swinging grown-ups, where Mills experiences romantic liberation. Trevor Howard is the long-term expat uncle (who works at a rubber plantation) with his younger Chinese lover, a cynical remnant of the end of empire.  

About ‘Beyond Saint Jack’ - The strange cinematic visitors of Singapore and Malaya
Singapore/Malaya’s heyday of foreign production from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s led to a motley filmography of B-movies, commercial disasters, miscellaneous TV episodes, lost films and bizarre curios. While they resist canonisation, these films are a fascinating portal into how the region was perceived by the rest of the world both before and after the end of the colonial era; and the eagerness for Singapore and Malaysia to be represented and acknowledged by the West. A recurring motif of their narratives is the Western visitor in Singapore. This season of 10 films showcases the predecessors and descendants of Saint Jack (1979): old hands, good men, legal aliens, rugged individualists, ex-soldiers, detectives, has-beens and rock stars. Characters who have found themselves ensnared in traps beyond their control, stumbled across exotic, bewildering cultures, or entered zones of erotic possibility.  

Beyond Saint Jack is guest-curated by author and critic Ben Slater, who will be present to introduce and discuss each film. 

About Ben Slater
Ben Slater is the author of Kinda Hot: The Making of Saint Jack in Singapore (2006), a major contributor to World Film Locations: Singapore (2014) and the editor of 25: Histories and Memories of the Singapore International Film Festival (2014). He’s also the co-screenwriter of the feature film Camera (2014) and a Lecturer at the School of Art, Media and Design, Nanyang Technological University. 

Find out more about the Malaya Black & White project:
malayablackandwhite.wordpress.com/

Monday, 23 February 2015

Diary of an NUS Museum Intern: Dana Gan

Note: Diary of an NUS Museum Intern is a series of blog posts written by our interns about their experiences during the course of their internships. Working alongside their mentors, our interns have waded through tons of historical research, assisted in curatorial work, pitched in during exhibition installations and organised outreach events! If you would like to become our next intern, visit our internship page for more information! 

In January 2015, three JC 1 students, Dana Gan,  Kim Soh Won and Liang Siyi, interned with us for a month as part of Temasek Junior College's Wonder. Observe. Weave! (WOW!) Attachment Programme. Across their four-week attachment, they were tasked to do research and craft educational activities for the primary level based on our new Sherd Library.

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The internship in NUS Museum for the past one month has been filled with many new enriching experiences. We focused on is the archaeology section in the museum. This section consists of sherds from Singapore historical sites (eg: Fort Canning), shipwrecks (eg: Pinggang shipwreck) as well as other Southeast Asian countries. 


Our main task was to come up with a proposal consisting of different worksheets for students from lower primary, upper primary and secondary schools so that they can have a better understanding of the museum and the exhibitions going on. The three of us have edited the proposal four times and we have really made great progress every time after discussing with our external mentor, Ms Kuek.

 The following is a map we created showing the locations of historical sites in Singapore:
“What can you infer from the proximity of these sites where the sherds were found?”
We developed this question because we would like the students to infer that the five historical sites all gathered near the Singapore River. It indicates that trading has taken place in the regions near the Singapore River and objects from different countries were once exchanged there and that is why a large number of shards of different origins could be excavated in these regions.This question requires the students to be observant and we believe that the ability to observe and infer is essential for students.

In the process, we learnt how to stand in the shoes of students and hence create activities that are interesting for them. Secondly, we have realized how important teamwork and cooperation are in the process. The task has enabled us to value our working (studying) partners more which I think is essential for our upcoming Project Work course in JC1. Hence, I believe the WOW! Attachment has really prepared me for JC. 

Apart from these tasks, we also went on two field trips to the National Museum of Singapore and the NUS Baba House. Firstly, for the National Museum of Singapore, we went for the archaeology exhibition on the B1 floor, hoping to learn some additional information about Singapore historical sites and archaeology. We also went for the “Singapura: 700 Years” exhibition near the archaeology exhibition, hoping to learn more about the Singapore history (since the three of us are foreigners).


The NUS Baba House trip was the most fun field trip I have had in the two years I have been in Singapore. The NUS Baba House showcases Peranakan history, architecture and heritage. The guide was enthusiastic and humorous and we have really learnt a lot about the Peranakan life in the past. The decor inside the house was truly amazing and it gripped our attention right away. We also gained understanding of the female discrimination during the time. I think we should not take the relative gender equality we have nowadays for granted. We should look more to history and continue to make efforts to make this world a more equal, harmonious place.

Lastly, I also attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition Curating Lab: Phase 03 at NUS Museum. That night was unforgettable. After the ceremony, we had a better understanding of contemporary art and the debates over its importance and position in society.

This month’s experience has been really great and exciting, and I am thankful for the chance to be an intern at NUS Museum.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Diary of an NUS Museum Intern: Natalie Soh

Note: Diary of an NUS Museum Intern is a series of blog posts written by our interns about their experiences during the course of their internships. Working alongside their mentors, our interns have waded through tons of historical research, assisted in curatorial work, pitched in during exhibition installations and organised outreach events! If you would like to become our next intern, visit our internship page for more information! 

In December 2014, 8 interns joined us to work with the curatorial and outreach teams, conducting research for upcoming exhibitions and programmes in 2015 at the museum and the NUS Baba House. Besides those involving our collections and recent acquisitions, the interns prepared for upcoming exhibitions surrounding the work of alumni artists, the T.K. Sabapathy Collection, as well as SEABOOK. They also assisted with ongoing happenings at the museum, including exhibition installation and programme facilitation. 
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Natalie Soh is a 4th year USP Scholar and Sociology student at NUS FASS. In December 2014, she joined us as a Baba House outreach and research intern, contributing to walking tour research which delved into housing schemes undertaken by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), challenges faced by the housing commission, Everton Road and Tiong Bahru estates and the development of the Housing Development Board (HDB). She also assisted with Museum and Baba House Outreach activities.


During my one-month internship with the NUS Baba House, I was assigned to research on the Housing Development Board (HDB), as well as its predecessor Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT). Specifically, I was tasked to examine the histories of various early HDB and SIT flats that are still around today, such as the Tiong Bahru estate and Everton Park. Having had no prior background in this, it was indeed eye-opening to be learning about the evolution of HDB from SIT, as well as the various challenges faced along the way. Furthermore, as SIT was formed during the British colonial era, I was able to learn about the struggles and successes of the colonial government at that time, especially with regards to their efforts at clearing the slums and introducing public housing.

Tiong Bahru was an especially interesting estate to look at, not least because of its recent popularity among young entrepreneurs, new residents, and tourists. Through researching on its development from when it was first built until today, I was able to process the changes that have taken place, as well as the implications resulting from such changes. In particular, the entry of various new competitive businesses have generated some friction among the long-time residents who see these as spoiling the original ambience of the area. In some ways, this is also a reflection of the broader tension that can be found throughout Singapore between what should be conserved and what constitutes progress.

An intriguing discovery I made during the research had to do with how Everton Park seemed to be in a similar situation to Tiong Bahru, but has reaped vastly different effects. Like the latter, Everton Park has seen a surge of popularity among new and independent shops, cafes, and bakeries. Thus, walking through the estate today, one is able to observe a good mix of old and new businesses juxtaposed against one another, operating side by side. However, unlike Tiong Bahru, this entry of young entrepreneurs has not resulted in a backlash among long-time residents and business owners. Instead, they are welcome as new blood, and seen to contribute to the vibrancy and liveliness of the estate. Thus begets the question, ‘Why is there such a disparity in reaction in Tiong Bahru and Everton Park?’

My conjecture is that there are both historical and economic reasons which may explain this difference. Firstly, Tiong Bahru is a rare pre-war site that is officially under conservation status. This unique feature means that the area is relatively well-known throughout the country, and possibly contributes to the perception of quaintness that it is commonly associated with today. Unsurprisingly, the demand for commercial spaces among independent businesses is high, and as a result, rental prices shoot up. Long-time business owners who are unable to deal with such high costs inevitably close down, and tension between the new and old is aggravated as the new shops are perceived to be fierce competitors. On the flipside, Everton Park is a considerably newer estate built by HDB in the 1960s. The building’s features are more commonplace, and less unique compared to that of Tiong Bahru. Hence, it might be viewed as a relatively less charming, and demand for rental shop spaces is lower. Without the similar problem of inflated rental costs, existing business owners in the area are less likely to view new businesses as competition, and thus are more welcoming to them.

I came to this conclusion only after uncovering the details and historical facts of the respective estates, and then trying to draw the links between them and the phenomenon seen today. It was most gratifying to have reached this postulation after hours of research.

Apart from research, I also helped out at the Baba House, be it at ad-hoc events, or during the heritage tours. My tasks were usually simple, such as ensuring that the doors and windows are opened before the guests arrive, or helping to lock up and switch off everything after they leave. However, instead of finding them mundane and trivial, I came to notice how much effort it took to upkeep a conserved Peranakan home. As the furniture were mostly genuine antiques, much care had to be given to them at all times. Fahdly and Poonam were extremely meticulous in making sure that things were always arranged in a precise order, and took extra precautions in maintaining the house. From this, I learned that the pristine conditions of conserved artefacts and environments that visitors generally take for granted have undergone great care and restoration before going on display.

During one Saturday of the December break, the Baba House conducted a children’s workshop where parents and children came together to learn about Peranakan tiles, and ultimately design their own tile. It was definitely heart-warming to see each pair work together to produce a work of art they were proud of. Most surprisingly, the children were able to direct their attention to painting their tiles for a good two hours! Their intense focus reflected how seriously they took the workshop, and how determined they were to produce a decent-looking Peranakan tile. Personally, I felt that this was a creative and engaging way to teach not only children, but also people of all ages about the Peranakan culture and way of life.

In all, it has indeed been an enriching time working at the Baba House. Although the bulk of my research was confined to analysing HDB, I have also learned a lot about the Peranakan culture and lifestyle, and have had the privilege of experiencing first-hand the kind of environment they once lived in.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Diary of an NUS Museum Intern: Laura Tan

Note: Diary of an NUS Museum Intern is a series of blog posts written by our interns about their experiences during the course of their internships. Working alongside their mentors, our interns have waded through tons of historical research, assisted in curatorial work, pitched in during exhibition installations and organised outreach events! If you would like to become our next intern, visit our internship page for more information! 

In December 2014, 8 interns joined us to work with the curatorial and outreach teams, conducting research for upcoming exhibitions and programmes in 2015 at the museum and the NUS Baba House. Besides those involving our collections and recent acquisitions, the interns prepared for upcoming exhibitions surrounding the work of alumni artists, the T.K. Sabapathy Collection, as well as SEABOOK. They also assisted with ongoing happenings at the museum, including exhibition installation and programme facilitation. 
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Laura Tan is a Masters student at NUS Architecture. She spent December 2014 as an Open Excess Curatorial Intern, during which she assisted with the research, development and installation of the exhibition.Opened on 23 January 2015, the exhibition, which is conceptualised as a prep-room initiative, is presently showing in the NX2 Gallery (Concourse Level).

“the paratext is … a threshold … an ‘undefined zone’ between the inside and the outside, a zone without any hard and fast boundary … ‘a fringe of the printed text which in reality controls one’s reading of the text’ … a zone not only of transition but also of transaction.”
- Gerard Genette, Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation 

I was introduced to the concepts of intertextuality and paratexts during the course of my internship. Referring to the shaping of a text’s own meaning by another text, intertextuality is a method that charts out connections between different ideas. This act of drawing up relationships between concepts is something that underpins the curatorial intentions of the museum as each exhibition subtly calls back to another exhibit, or is framed by and seen through the lens of yet another exhibition.   This literary technique perhaps became all the more relevant as I was working on the T.K. Sabapathy book collection. Intertextuality and paratexts became a meta-rule of sorts as I was lucky enough to be involved in the conceptualisation of the exhibition. One of the tasks I worked on was to think of new ways to frame or re-arrange the extensive catalogue of books for display. This in itself became an exercise in intertextuality as I attempted to find, posit or speculate upon connections between the books, which spanned across a range of topics and academic disciplines.   

L: The donated books, wrapped up before the set-up
R. ‘Getting a feel’ of the space during set-up
Another text that underpinned my internship experience was probably Gary Radford’s “Positivism, Foucault, and the Library,” which touched on the systems of classifications a library uses, and the “presence of an infinite number of spaces ‘in the interval between books. In such spaces reside the possibility of ‘impossible worlds’” – worlds for readers and researchers to discover. But drawing up these new worlds requires the reader to undertake a curious process of triangulation. The reader must work within a rational grid of library shelves, immersed in (or constrained by) a coordinate system that is arranged by topics, disciplines, and call numbers. Yet he or she must also challenge and circumvent the logic of the library, mapping out connections across this grid in order to determine the location and shape of these hidden worlds.

Working on the Sabapathy exhibition got me thinking about what it means to be cross-disciplinary. Coming from an architectural background (which is in itself an interdisciplinary effort), curatorship had always lain on the periphery of ‘related fields’ but was something I had very limited understanding of, and subsequently, had much to learn about. 
 
Experimenting with furniture layouts
Coming in “with fresh eyes” also meant “getting one’s eye in” – and perhaps this was the most memorable aspect of my internship, where I was formulating ideas in response to the material set before me, (naively) unfettered by my own newness to curatorial concerns.  Perhaps this is the essence of interdisciplinary work – working with uncertainty of the parameters, testing and reshaping the limits as one goes along.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Diary of an NUS Museum Intern: Phoon Gui Shuen

Note: Diary of an NUS Museum Intern is a series of blog posts written by our interns about their experiences during the course of their internships. Working alongside their mentors, our interns have waded through tons of historical research, assisted in curatorial work, pitched in during exhibition installations and organised outreach events! If you would like to become our next intern, visit our internship page for more information! 

In December 2014, 8 interns joined us to work with the curatorial and outreach teams, conducting research for upcoming exhibitions and programmes in 2015 at the museum and the NUS Baba House. Besides those involving our collections and recent acquisitions, the interns prepared for upcoming exhibitions surrounding the work of alumni artists, the T.K. Sabapathy Collection, as well as SEABOOK. They also assisted with ongoing happenings at the museum, including exhibition installation and programme facilitation. 

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Phoon Gui Shuen is a final-year Engineering undergraduate at NUS. Gui Shuen joined the Outreach team as a creative design intern for the month of December 2014, contributing to and assisting in the conceptualisation and design of publicity materials for both upcoming and ongoing exhibitions and programmes.

During the December break, I decided to challenge myself to broaden my horizons and venture into the field of collateral design. I am grateful for this opportunity that the NUS Museum has given me. Having admired the work done by great designers, I hope to be able to learn and do it better with my personal touch. Hoping sets me direction while doing gives me the courage to learn and surpass my skills & knowledge. The past one month was definitely a fruitful period for me to exercise my creative muscles as I handled the projects from the Outreach team.

My projects were namely roadside banner, tri-fold brochure, concourse banners, lift stickers and film e-flyers. After receiving the briefs, I went through the creative process of brainstorming and testing before conceptualising and finalising the artwork. All the artworks were created using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Along the way, there were rounds of discussions with my superiors to explore and streamline our approaches towards the projects. Getting to know the strategies behind the purposes for the various artworks definitely helped and offered a good start to designing. Also, it was beneficial that I had experience with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop as these projects were great opportunities to understand more about the design software. I am now more confident in my software skills in terms of familiarity with applications and shortcuts as well as transforming a paper design into a digital design.

An internship can be as empowering as you want it to be; it is a good time to explore and try out different things if you have not yet figured out what your calling is. If design rings a bell in your head, I encourage you to go for it and you can be the next one writing your own story. Everyone has the gift to be creative in their own ways; don’t waste it!

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Exhibition | Open Excess | Prep-room

[Gallery impression, Open Excess, 2015]
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Exhibition period: 23 January 2015-ongoing
Venue: NX2, Concourse Level, NUS Museum

Beginning from a collection of books and publications donated to the NUS Museum by art historian TK Sabapathy, Open Excess is a prep-room initiative dealing with the question of the library, the role of publications, accessibility, and visibility/transparency in relation to the region of Southeast Asia and its discourse. 

Open Excess is also a working project that anticipates the collection’s eventual consolidation into the Museum’s Resource Gallery at large.

More about the project: openexcess.tumblr.com 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Diary of an NUS Museum Intern: Nadira Aslam

Note: Diary of an NUS Museum Intern is a series of blog posts written by our interns about their experiences during the course of their internships. Working alongside their mentors, our interns have waded through tons of historical research, assisted in curatorial work, pitched in during exhibition installations and organised outreach events! If you would like to become our next intern, visit our internship page for more information!

In December 2014, 8 interns joined us to work with the curatorial and outreach teams, conducting research for upcoming exhibitions and programmes in 2015 at the museum and the NUS Baba House. Besides those involving our collections and recent acquisitions, the interns prepared for upcoming exhibitions surrounding the work of alumni artists, the T.K. Sabapathy Collection, as well as SEABOOK. They also assisted with ongoing happenings at the museum, including exhibition installation and programme facilitation.
 


Nadira Aslam is in her third year at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at NUS FASS. From November to December 2014, she was a curatorial intern attached to the SEABOOK project, a collaboration between NUS Museum, curator Shabbir Hussain Mustafa and artist Charles Lim. Over the course of two months, she worked with the curators and artist on the documentation and presentation of research materials that deal with Singapore’s waters as well as assisted with various research visits.

Applying for this internship was a natural result of an enduring eagerness to experience working in the heritage scene. These last eight weeks have gone beyond affirming my enthusiasm and broadening my perspectives on numerous levels.

I was the SEABOOK curatorial intern, tasked with the documentation and presentation of research materials that deals with Singapore’s waters. Part of the SEA STATE project chosen for the Singapore Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, SEABOOK is a collaboration between NUS Museum, curator Shabbir Hussain Mustafa, and artist Charles Lim, with the aim of gathering “an anecdotal history of Singapore’s troubled relationship with its seas.”

I sifted through an extensive amount of materials (books, journals, newspaper articles) discussing a wide range of topics pertaining to the sea. Along the way, I inevitably picked up various tidbits of information pertaining to sailing, shipwrecks, reclamation, fishing, among countless other sea stories – stories about places near and familiar, but which I might have otherwise overlooked. Among my favourite anecdotes were those pertaining to the offshore islands which number over 60, and yet most Singaporeans would probably only ever have visited or known about a handful.

My off-site ‘office’ at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library
Apart from documentation, there were many other aspects of the project that I was lucky enough to assist with. Perhaps an interesting difference about my job scope was that I ended up spending more time off-site than I did in the museum. I was invited to participate in meetings with various parties, such as with the artist and the programmers who were developing the accompanying websites for SEABOOK and SEA STATE. I also got to tag along for interviews with individuals such as Captain Wilson Chua, who shared his vast pool of knowledge and fascinating memories. These meetings offered an insightful blend of creativity, critical thinking, pragmatism, and meticulousness as my supervisor Kenneth, as well as Charles and Mustafa were always encouraging me to contribute ideas and opinions, for which I am infinitely grateful.

Charles Lim interviewing Captain Wilson Chua
The opportunity to be involved in these different components provided a diverse experience and new challenges at every point of the project, which definitely kept things interesting and dynamic. While I did find myself encountering hurdles in unfamiliar territory, guidance was made readily available and I learned a lot from pushing myself to conceptualise new terrains of thought.

Adding to our individually assigned responsibilities, the museum’s internship programme ensures interns receive proper exposure to the inner workings of a museum. We were treated to tours of the current exhibits and of the NUS Baba House. The curators themselves guided us through exhibits, explaining the process of curating collections and finding ways to make the separate exhibits come together in a coherent space.

Baba House tour with fellow interns and the Conservation Workshop
We also had a conservation workshop held by The Conservation Studio, where we got to see before-and-after examples and discussed the ethical debate over the nature of conservation. As I was working outside the museum a lot, these additional programmes provided me ample time to interact with the other interns and to familiarise myself with the exhibits.

At the end of the day, I feel that it was a well-rounded internship that provided both structured learning and leeway for creativity. I would really like to express my sincerest gratitude towards my supervisor Kenneth, and Mustafa and Charles for trusting me and teaching me. I would also like to thank Janice from NLB for all her help, and of course, NUS Museum for giving me this opportunity to take a step towards pursuing a passion of mine. 

Grounded Conversations | Lee Weng Choy, Nora A. Taylor & Shubigi Rao in conversation with Lucy Davis

Tang Da Wu, Jantung Pisang: heart of a tree, heart of a people, The Substation, May 1999.
Courtesy of Koh Nguang How.
Date: Saturday, 7 February 2015
Time: 3.30 - 5pm
Venue: NUS Museum

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Free admission with registration at storiesofwood.peatix.com.

In this session, Grounded Conversations brings together artists, critics and scholars for a series of discussions on how various art practitioners located in this region have dealt with the question of materiality in their work. Ranging across various mediums such as writing, rattan and lacquer, this session will function simultaneously as a panel discussion which marks the closing of the exhibition “When you get closer to the heart, you may find cracks” | Stories of Wood by the Migrant Ecologies Project held at the NUS Museum.

About the panellists
Lee Weng Choy is an art critic and was the Artistic Co-Director of The Substation arts centre from 2000 to 2009. He has lectured internationally on art theory, cultural studies and policy. President of the Singapore Section of the International Association of Art Critics, his essays have appeared in After the Event: New Perspectives on Art History, Broadsheet, Forum On Contemporary Art & Society, Over Here: International Perspectives on Art and Culture; Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985, Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art, and Contemporary Art in Asia.

Dr. Nora A. Taylor is the Alsdorf Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently Visiting Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University (NTU ADM) and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Art, NTU, Singapore. She is the author of Painters in Hanoi: An Ethnography of Vietnamese Art (Hawaii and NUS press, 2004-2009) and co-editor of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art: An Anthology. She has published and curated extensively on Vietnamese and Southeast Asian art. She is recently the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship to conduct research on the history of performance art in Vietnam, Singapore and Myanmar.

Shubigi Rao is a visual artist and writer whose interests range from archaeology, neuroscience, 13th century ‘science’, language, libraries, historical acts of cultural genocide, contemporary art theory and natural history. Her work involves complex layered installations comprising handmade books, text, drawings, etchings, pseudo-science machinery and archives, and has been exhibited and collected in Singapore, Indonesia, Iran, Hong Kong, China, the Netherlands and India.

Lucy Davis is an artist, writer and Assistant Professor at NTU ADM. She is founder of the Migrant Ecologies Project. Her practice encircles nature in art and visual culture, materiality and memory in Southeast Asia.

About Grounded Conversations
Presenting a series of distinct projects on how art practitioners have begun to adopt comprehensive paradigms in their fieldwork methods traditionally associated with anthropological and historical research, Grounded Conversations brings together practitioners from the contemporary art world to unravel this ‘anthropological turn’.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Exhibition Programmes | Curating Lab: Phase 03 [31 January]

Curating Lab: Phase 03
Date: Saturday, 31 January 2015
Time: 10am - 6.30pm
Venue: NUS Museum

Free admission with registration at clabnusm.peatix.com

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The following series of programmes are presented in conjunction with Curating Lab: Phase 03, a group of  three exhibitions put together by participants of Curating Lab 2014.

Schedule
10am                Pictureshow: Nodes of Looking
11.15am           Tea reception
11.30am           Pictureshow: Nodes of Looking (continued)
12.45pm
          Break
3pm
                Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book
4pm
                 Notes from the (under)ground

10am - 1pm | Pictureshow: Nodes of Looking
in conjunction with Pictureshow

Speakers
Stefano Harney, Ground Provisions collective
A/P Stuart Derbyshire, Dept of Psychology, NUS
A/P Maurizio Peleggi, Dept of History, NUS
Shubigi Rao, artist
Kannan Chandran, publisher (moderator)

Pictureshow: Nodes of Looking is an attempt to spark cross-disciplinary conversations about perception as a means of knowledge production. This mini-lecture series bring together speakers from various fields of study and aspires to nurture a comfortable and constructive space for ‘looking’ from multiple vantage points. Through an exposure to multitudinous nodes of perception, participants are invited to explore ‘looking’ beyond its literal sensorial quality and inspire meaningful conversations about the diverse manifestations ‘looking’ can take. Expounding on different registers afforded by the neurological, historical and material, the symposium provides an occasion and platform for the unpacking of various perceptual issues beyond the artistic sphere.

3 - 4pm | Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book
in conjunction with Shubigi Rao: Exquisite Corpse
with Shubigi Rao, artist


Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book is a decade-long film, book and visual art project about the history of book destruction. Join Shubigi Rao as she shares her preliminary interviews, observations and vignettes from ‘Pulp’ as she visits public and private collections, libraries and archives around the world to retrace the disappearance of ideas long gone.

4 - 6.30pm | Notes from the (under)ground
in conjunction with Shubigi Rao: Exquisite Corpse
Speakers 
A/P Farish A Noor, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU
A/P John Miksic, Dept of Southeast Asian Studies, NUS
Koh Nguang How, archivist and artist
Yu-Mei Balasingamchow, writer and independent curator

MACBETH: […] I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
And falls on the other. (1.7.1)
William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Tread through a labyrinth of vault-less ambitions as we trawl through 700 year-old garbage, b-grade adventure stories, tabloid junk, material assemblage and inert email threads. At times a roll-call, a reportage, a reconstruction and restitution, this session examines the outliers of culture — civil waste, popular paraphernalia, itinerant memories.


***

About the exhibitions
Curating Lab: Phase 03 presents three exhibitions put together by participants of Curating Lab 2014 working with a selection of artists: Song-Ming Ang, Chun Kaifeng, Amanda Heng, Kim Lim, Matthew Ngui and Shubigi Rao. Situated in tandem with one another, the exhibitions may be seen as a constellation of divergent views and curatorial interests glimpsed from the works and practices of these six artists. Building upon the potentials of multiple perspectives that these three exhibitions point towards is also the very porousness of exhibitions themselves in facilitating such encounters between one another.
For more information on Curating Lab:
facebook.com/curatinglab2014
curating-lab.blogspot.com 


Shubigi Rao: Exquisite Corpse combines a selection of Shubigi Rao's work with items from her personal library, and material that has never been exhibited publicly. "Waste", in Rao's work — as a material presence, underlying poetic logic, and anxiety — becomes a way of framing her oeuvre and process, and forms the exhibition's curatorial provocation. At once a kind of monologue and dialogue, a coded silence, and a cacophonic game of cadavre exquis, Shubigi Rao: Exquisite Corpse invites the entanglement of old and new voices as audiences engage in the exhibition's premise of intertextuality, spectrality, hidden layers, and remainders.
Curated by: Luca Lum, Raksha Mahtani and Chua Ying Qing.

Pictureshow seeks to spotlight the act of looking as the primal means of perception and knowledge acquisition. Assembling works and materials which have since grown distant from the stability of the canvas, the painting, and the two-dimensional that the word 'picture' is so comfortably associated with, this exhibition asks: How has the relationship between artistic expression and the pictorial mode evolved over time? By unhinging the habitual mode of seeing a picture with works and materials that generate their own definitions about representation, Pictureshow contemplates the image as mediator in the relationship between artistic production and consumption. The exhibition features the works and materials of Chun Kaifeng, Kim Lim, Matthew Ngui and Song-Ming Ang.
Curated by: Selene Yap, Cheng Jia Yun, Euginia Tan and Wong Yeang Cherng.

Exhibition Programmes | Curating Lab: Phase 03 [1 February]

Telok Kurau Studios
Date: Sunday, 1 February 2015
Time: 2 - 6.30pm
Venue: #01-109, Telok Kurau Studios, 91 Lorong J Telok Kurau

LIMITED TO 25 PAX PER SESSION.
Free with registration at clabtks.peatix.com.
 

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The following series of programmes are presented in conjunction with Curating Lab: Phase 03, a group of  three exhibitions put together by participants of Curating Lab 2014.

Schedule
2pm
                
Shifting Representations 
4pm                 Tea reception 
4.30pm            Traversing Spaces

2 - 4pm | Shifting Representations

in conjunction with Conditions of Production
Speakers 
Lina Adam, artist
Wang Ruobing, artist and independent curator
Dr Margaret Tan, Tembusu College, NUS

In
Shifting Representations, three speakers will share about their experiences in the arenas of the personal and public as creative producers, and discuss the shifting roles and representations stemmed from these changing contexts. With an open view towards what constitutes creative production, the conversations will focus on the multiple roles within and outside different commitments that women artists hold - as mothers, daughters, educators, artists - and how these roles determine or affect artistic production. By discussing these multiple roles and going beyond the public view of an artist or performer, we may glean insight into different representations of the ‘artist’.

4.30 - 6.30PM | Traversing Spaces

in conjunction with Conditions of Production 
Speakers  
Tan Liting, theatre practitioner
Chu Chu Yuan, artist
Raksha Mahtani, researcher and
theatre practitioner
 
Traversing Spaces deliberates on the artist as citizen, tapping on the experiences of arts practitioners who seek to innovate and transform perspectives around space. It will reflect and expand on the subject of space beyond the physical, exploring its numerous complexities in the realms of the ideological, socio-political and the experiential. Delving into forms of civic engagement stemmed from their artistic practices or experiences in the creative sphere, the speakers may discuss views within civil society, the interplay between the public and private, and the shaping of communities. 

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About the speakers
Lina Adam is a multi-disciplinary artist and has used various mediums such as performance, printmaking and art installation. Her work involves the scope of dissecting agents of socialization and habits dealing with but not limited to memories, environment and systems of daily life. She is the co-founder of Fetterfield, Singapore Performance Art Event, a site specific performance art festival (founded in 2006) and Your Mother Gallery, an alternative art space in Little India (founded in 2004). She has also been a committee member of The Artists Village since 1998.

Wang Ruobing was born in Chengdu, China and lives and works in Singapore. Comprising installation, sculpture, photograph and video, Wang’s work has a contingent quality that is underlined by the mindful representation of everyday activities. Her materials and subjects are often simple, everyday objects and things, but wittily resonant of the issues relate to consumption and the growth of knowledge. Solo exhibitions include The Earthly World, The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford (2010); Eat Me, The Dolphin Gallery, Oxford (2009); Seeded I, The Substation Gallery, Singapore (1999).


Margaret Tan is currently a Fellow and Director of Programmes at Tembusu College, National University of Singapore (NUS), and the co-director of the NUS Art/ Science Residency Programme. She holds a PhD from the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore, a BFA from RMIT/LASALLE College of the Arts, and an MA in Interactive Media and Critical Theory from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Her works using a wide range of media had been showcased both locally and internationally. Margaret engages art now as a teacher and administrator but she hopes to return to her art practice some time in the future.


Tan Liting works full time as a theatre practitioner with an interest in devising performance from personal stories. Liting is also a founding member of Theatre Cell. Her past directorial credits include Taking The Subs (The Substation Director’s Lab), The Eulogy Project I: Muah Chee Mei and I (Potluck Productions), (When I’m) Sixty Four (Ageless Theatre), Re: Almost Left Behind (Singapore Arts Festival 2011), Almost Left Behind (NUS Thespis). Liting likes conversation, hearing and telling a good story. Liting also likes guitars, sneakers and referring to herself in third person.

Chu Chu Yuan is a visual artist and researcher, born in Malaysia and currently based in Singapore. With Jay Koh on the iFIMA (International Forum for Intermedia Art) platform, she has been developing a form of relational art practice that is based on dialogue, exchange and negotiation. She maintains an individual practice, using soft sculptures, drawing, installation, performance, painting and photography to explore the performing body as a cultural subject and cultural practices as ‘scripts’ and ‘scores’. She is now with the Singapore Art Museum as Senior Manager of Archive, Library & Research.

Raksha Mahtani functions occasionally as a writer, researcher, spoken word poet and theatre practitioner. She performed, co-wrote and co-directed a spoken word show about queer experiences in convent schools called Mass Hysteria both at the Substation in January 2014 and at Indignation 2014. She teaches poetry and literature in schools and with various groups, including AWARE and Word Forward and performs as part of Sekaliwags. Her writing, both in poetry and plays, explores themes of social justice, gender politics, decoloniality. She recently ran a series of writing workshops focused on gender-based violence, and volunteers with Sayoni. Currently, Raksha is working on a documentation project on violence and discrimination against LBTQ people in Singapore.


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About the exhibitions
Curating Lab: Phase 03 presents three exhibitions put together by participants of Curating Lab 2014 working with a selection of artists: Song-Ming Ang, Chun Kaifeng, Amanda Heng, Kim Lim, Matthew Ngui and Shubigi Rao. Situated in tandem with one another, the exhibitions may be seen as a constellation of divergent views and curatorial interests glimpsed from the works and practices of these six artists. Building upon the potentials of multiple perspectives that these three exhibitions point towards is also the very porousness of exhibitions themselves in facilitating such encounters between one another.
For more information on Curating Lab:
facebook.com/curatinglab2014
curating-lab.blogspot.com

 
Conditions of Production is an ongoing project that seeks to pursue a field of enquiry situating objects and process within the complexities of artistic production and reception. To emulate the plurality of situations where artistic discourse may arise, this project calls attention to less tangible structures immanent in the creation of an artwork by adopting the multiple platforms of an exhibition, dialogue sessions, and an online repository of interviews and essays. The exhibition, as one part of a greater whole, examines these conditions by looking at the practice of three artists – Amanda Heng, Chun Kaifeng and Matthew Ngui. http://conditionsofproduction.com/
Curated by: Bernice Ong, Samantha Yap, Kenneth Loe and Melvin Tan.

More:
http://conditionsofproduction.tumblr.com/dialogues
http://conditionsofproduction.com/
conditionsofproduction@gmail.com