Kärsämäki’s Secret II by Trivia Goh

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A graduate from the School of Art, Design and Media at the Nanyang Technological University,  Trivia Goh creates works that are primarily produced in charcoal. “It brings out a formal tone in my portraiture of the imaginary. I use watercolour and ink as well for quick thumb-nailing and drafts.”

Trivia’s works tend towards “the whimsical, often portraying otherworldly characters and beings as if to document them having had a place in my casual daydreaming world,” she tells Culturepush. Her work certainly taps into the world of imaginary creatures and bizarre stories within Kärsämäki’s Secret II, a series that began in a little Finnish town in March 2016.

“Following my return to Singapore, I expanded the collection to include watercolour works of these oddities in their otherworlds. The idea was to contrast the works created in a foreign land against the ones created back home to show how the environment and the experience of it affects the outcome. Each piece offers the audience a little slice of narrative that paints the trivialities in my life.”

Kärsämäki’s Secret II opens on April 6 and runs through 23 April at Utterly Art Gallery.

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Exhib! Stored Value by L*L

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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.

Backstory

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.

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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.

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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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Noise Art Mentorship Showcase: Proposals for Waterloo

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 © Cally Tan

Weave carpets designed for residents.
Cally Tan was drawn to the stairwells shared by just two homes on the same floor. With a flower pot here, a shoe rack there and leftover CNY decorations, these publicly accessible spaces feel private. By weaving residents’ stories into carpets for these spaces, it’ll be as if their personalities are overflowing from their homes.

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© Kayleigh Goh

Explore the textures of an aging building through a painting installation.
How can you tell if a building is old? Peeling paint. Repair jobs that leave behind a patchwork of scars. These markers of age are built into the environment of Waterloo Centre. Using clay and concrete as her paint, Kayleigh will explore the delicate side of these urban textures.

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© Lee Wan Xiang

Construct a cave of illustrations inspired by objects collected from residents.
Lee Wan Xiang asked residents for objects they no longer wanted. She thought they would give her items they wanted to throw away. But along with old baby clothes, Genting hotel shower caps and huge blankets, she also received old photo albums filled with photos of loved ones, giving her a little glimpse into the lives of residents at Waterloo.

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© Nhawfal Juma’at

Wrap an existing structure in industrial black shrink wrap.
“I want to create a void, a space with nothing in it.” Nhawfal Juma’at’s proposed work is mysterious and monolithic. It’ll use a common industrial material to transform a familiar space into an otherworldly experience.

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© Tan Luo Yi

Transform a dead space with white netting.
Think of an enclosed space. Maybe that space is your home. Do you feel safe? Or do you feel confined? Tan Luo Yi uses ethereal white netting to explore this tension, creating an immersive space for us to reconsider the idea of home.

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© Rifqi Amirul

Outline a transitional space within a transitional space.
We spend a lot of time in transit. We might be moving between borders, or just across a corridor to get to the lift. We occupy these in-between spaces for small pockets of time. Rifqi Amirul will intervene in one such space – the void deck of Blk 262 Waterloo Street. Perhaps it will give us pause, even for a short while.

This year’s Noise Art Mentorship Showcase kicks off on January 19, and follows the theme “Proposals for Waterloo”. 12 artists have been partnered with a mentor to create a proposal for a special environment.

A structure stretching across the plaza, wrapped in black, a cave constructed using objects discarded by residents, a painter playing with the aging textures of the building’s architecture. These are just a few of the installations to keep an eye out for at the Waterloo Centre.

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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