For Singaplural 2017, L＊L duo Matthew and Zhide have created Stored Value, a piece that discusses Singaporean identity in the everyday sounds that we hear, mediated through an experience familiar to Singaporeans – tapping EZ-Link cards on public transport.
(from the press release)
Stored Value is inspired by the humble EZ-link cards that we use every day. We are intrigued by how the EZ-link card not only stores money, but also our trips around Singapore. The exhibit explores the transience of a Singaporean identity. It is a snapshot of everyday sounds of Singapore that we pay little attention to because of how ordinary it is, but yet evoke specific encounters and memories that tie us to shared experiences. Would these sounds, like artefacts and architecture, eventually change and become unfamiliar to future Singaporeans? Stored Value is also a reminder that from our individual journeys and daily lives adds up to something larger than ourselves – a collective memory and collaborative creation of Singapore.
Stored Value has gone through several iterations before we arrived at the current version of the concept. The theme for this year’s Singaplural is “Stories – A New Perspective”. Upon reading the prompt, we were interested in creating a surprising, delightful experience for viewers. Since the exhibit is part of the Singapore Design Week, we thought that the work should be familiar to Singaporeans. The initial inspiration for the project came from one of our friends. She posted on Facebook saying that she thought that the EZ-Link card readers at Dhoby Ghaut MRT were playing piano sounds instead of the familiar beeps. We realized that the beeps reinforces a sense of place – that we are travelling within Singapore. We thought it would be quite fascinating if we replaced the familiar sounds of EZ-Link card readers with other sounds. At the same time, we were also thinking of participatory, interactive orchestral experiences where viewers can play combinations of different sounds and help co-create the work. At this point, our ideas seemed to be diverging and we were not sure how we would bring everything together.
We decided to dig deeper. We realized that EZ-Link cards store not only money, it also keeps a log of places that people have travelled to. At the same time, another friend of ours reminded us about sounds unique to Singapore, things like the koel bird, mrt announcements, singlish spoken at kopitiams. We began to weave together a larger narrative, of individuals going about their daily lives that accumulate into the larger hustle-and-bustle of Singapore. Everyone hears these sounds in their daily journeys, but few actually stop to listen and appreciate their relation to our collective Singaporean identity. By bringing these familiar sounds into an exhibition context, we hope to raise the everyday into consciousness. Together, these threads combine at the intersection of individual journeys, collective identity and an inquiry into the co-creation of a nation. Stored Value merges all of these ideas into a cacophony of sounds that are at the same time familiar and unfortunately, too easily neglected and forgotten.
Stored Value will be shown at Singaplural 2017 between 7–12th March, F1 Pit Building.