Parking Plants and the Invisible Gardeners by WLi Leow

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Graduating from Lasalle College of the Arts with a Bachelor in Fine Arts (First Class Honors) in 2016, WLi Leow mostly works with paint and pencil, creating delicate pieces you can spend a long time gazing at. WLi describes her interest as lying in architectural features and urban plants. “I explore my living experience through spatial forms and create spaces in my paintings that are in the state of becoming, at times fading into view and out of view.”

Parking Plants and the Invisible Gardeners is a series of paintings inspired by the livelihood of plants in the urban environment, particularly in Singapore, the Garden City. “I was intrigued by Stefano Mancuso’s theory of Plant Blindness, a condition of the “inability to see or notice plants in the environment” and therefore directed my attention to urban plants and their relationship with the space they inhabit. I have observed that they are very similar to us, as urban dwellers, navigating through urban structures day in and out. I began to document them through photography and at times referencing the formats of our infrastructures, such as floor plans and architectural elements like pillars and staircases, to create my paintings. My works are also very much influenced by my living experience and growth and I express the ambiguities of emotions through perspective and colours.”

Exhib! The Bizarre Honour

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Video: OH! Open House
Music: March of the Mind by Kevin MacLeod

Photos: Johann Yamin

(from the press release)

OH! Open House, in collaboration with a group of Singapore artists, is transforming a two-storey terraced house in Chip Bee Gardens into a maze-like museum of curiosities.

The Bizarre Honour – presented as a fictional institution showcasing their eclectic collection in a newfound space – will unveil over 300 natural objects and artefacts dating from the colonial period to the contemporary times. Collected by the artists over a period of 15 years, the exhibits survey Singapore’s contentious relationship with its nature.

In a unique and highly private experience, only two visitors are allowed in the museum at any one point of time. From rare colonial photos, taxidermy and animal traps to tropical field equipment, visitors can expect a sensory treat while they immerse themselves in a living, breathing museum.
Visitors should prepare themselves for spending 30 minutes in the museum where there are no guides, labels or explanations, and no distinction between art and artefacts. Visitors can only rely on a personal dossier – comprising memos, photographs and other classified information pertaining to exhibits and experiments – to unlock the mysteries of the museum and its exhibits.

Mr. Alan Oei, 40, co-founder and Artistic Director of OH! Open House, explains the concept of the museum: “The cultural airspace is dominated by the few blockbuster museums like Tate, MOMA, and now we’ve added the National Gallery of Singapore. So we want to ask if there is a space for a different kind of museum.”

We looked back at the Wunderkammer, Cabinet of Curiosities, and you see it was very artistic. It wasn’t about national representation or state narratives. They expressed something more human, more personal – curiosity and collecting.

There’s a wondrous relationship between art and Natural History – it’s about discovering uncharted worlds, and finding new relations between things, even things that may seem very mundane. Animal traps, for instance, reflect the local culture and myths. So a sparrow trap reflects the Singapore vernacular; it’s unique to us. Also, we have an entire collection of photographs taken by a British tourist in Singapore over a few decades. Each photograph by itself is very ordinary, but put together is an obsessive, fractured portrait of Singapore you’d never find in the history books,” he adds.

We’re working with a few artists to make our own version of a museum. We’re not revealing the names because we want the focus to be on the experience, not the ‘brand’ or the oeuvre. It’s just you and the exhibits, the live experiments – how do you make sense of things?”

You can purchase tickets to The Bizarre Honour at S$45 which includes a hand- assembled 80-page dossier.

《Wake Me Up At HappyLand》by Josef Lee

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“《Wake Me Up At HappyLand》is a story about a man traveling the world in search of the HappyLand. Afraid of missing it, he carried a sign with him, reminding others to wake him up at the Happy Land. But no one did, and he continued his wanderings until …”

Josef Lee is a hero at creating freely available adult bedtime stories. This month he is back with a crowdfunding campaign, featuring a new story that varies massively from his last two projects.

“The last two stories that I wrote were both dark and sad, and it was also a period where I constantly saw a lot of negative news in the media. Around the same time, I switched to taking the subway to work. That’s when I came across an online video of an experiment whereby a person pretends to fall sleep on the train. He is holding a piece of paper indicating his destination, and wonders if anyone will wake him up. The idea stuck in my mind and soon evolved into the core idea of this story – a person on a journey to HappyLand, but sleeping throughout the journey with no one waking him up.

Initially, I wanted to keep my previous style of storytelling-incorporating the use of words and rhymes- so I did many writing drafts in various approaches, but none of them seemed right. I was stuck in the scripts for quite some time until I attended a presentation by a publisher of Children’s Picture-Books. That stimulated my interest in this area, so I did some further research and reading related to Children’s Picture-Books. Eventually, I tried to make a wordless picture-story with this idea. I found that the minute I threw away the words, all the ideas became more easily conveyed through a visual way.”

The project has reached 32% of it’s US$ 20000 target still with 47 days to go.

MV: Conspiracy by Charlie Lim

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Fashion photographer Lenne Chai spent the last nine months producing and directing a sci-fi music video for musician Charlie Lim. It is Lenne’s third ever music video, and also the most ambitious so far …

“The video is a collaborative pro-bono project featuring the work from Lim Qi Xuan (alien designer), Tina Fung (set designer) and whitehorsegrey (illustrations). The video is inspired by moon landing conspiracies and celebrity culture, where Charlie plays a hapless “astronaut” directed by aliens.”

Noise Art Mentorship Showcase: Proposals for Waterloo

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© Fajrina Razak

Create a walkway of batik paintings.
Most of us know what batik looks like, but hardly any of us gets to see and appreciate it up close. Using imagery inspired by her ancestral roots in Central Java, Fajrina Razak will hang rows upon rows of batik paintings in the windy concrete plaza of Waterloo Centre.

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© Shahila Baharom

Build a space to consider loneliness.
What is loneliness? Is it the Singaporean condition? Do you have to be alone to experience it? Shahila Baharom will create a multisensory experience within a confined space for us to ponder these thoughts in solitude.

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© Winnie Yip

Represent both the change and the domesticity observed around Waterloo.
When you get out of bed in the morning, the folds of your bed sheets become the evidence of the movements of your body throughout the night. Winnie Yip’s immersive installation uses this domestic object as a metaphor for the tensions between old and new in the vicinity of Waterloo, which is the site of both traditional religious buildings and constant redevelopment.

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© Lee Chuan

Project the outside onto the inside.
How can we experience both inside and outside at the same time? In a way, scrolling through Instagram is one method – we see the world through our phone screens. Lee Chuan’s work combines the recent form of the digital screen with the camera obscura, a natural optical phenomenon that allows an outside scene to be projected on an interior.

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© Chan Jia Yu

Take over an everyday space with an everyday material.
We use plastic bags every single day. Is it still possible to see this material differently? Chan Jia Yu has been exploring the materiality of this common material – how it can be both light and dense, translucent and opaque. Her experiments have led to some magical moments, all using the humble plastic bag.

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© Cynthia Delaney Suwito

Observe the strangers that share the spaces in this building.
You’re waiting in the line at the chicken rice stall. You notice that the person ahead of you is wearing a purple shirt. The person ahead is dressed in blue. What else could you learn about strangers if you paid attention? Cynthia Delaney Suwito’s exercises will show us the small and absurd ways we can observe the people around us.

Opening on 19 January is the Noise Art Mentorship Showcase. This year’s edition takes place at the Waterloo Centre, where 12 artists will present 12 proposals, reframing the everyday environment between the residential and commercial areas.

“In between the shops, offices and HDB flats of Waterloo Centre, we encounter public spaces both underused and overlooked. There are wide-open concrete plazas and locked-up dead spaces. Architectural decisions made in the 1970s, then a series of modifications and repairs over the past four decades. ”

The exhibition runs through 31 January, 12–7pm at the Waterloo Centre. There will be an opening Block Party on Wednesday, 18 January from 7–9 pm at Level 5, Open Plaza, 262 Waterloo Street. RSVP to Su Pei by 11 January 2017.

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