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Monthly Archives: September 2008

After the resounding success of the Singapore Biennale 2006, the sophomore effort of the contemporary visual arts event looks to engage viewers with the inquisitive theme of “Wonder”. Besides providing awe and amazement, Singapore Biennale 2008 (SB2008) features 95 artists and art collectives at 19 venues. With hopes to pique curiosity and of course, wonderment, SB2008 is set to blur the boundaries of art and life.

Z and myself did our pilgrimage to SB2008 over the last two weekends, covering the three main venues – City Hall, South Beach Development and Central Promontory Site.

Recent weather has been terribly unforgiving and most of SB2008 venues lacked air-conditioning. I started to wonder (ah, what coherence to the theme) if art was meant to be experienced with beads of perspiration forming on my forehead.

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Hans Op de Beeck’s Location (6) was an igloo shaped installation, his attempt to bring winter to the sunny Singapore shores. Though the interior looks pristinely white and snowy, it was on the contrary, sweltering hot. What a strange sensation to be staring into such gorgeous snow landscapes only to be sweating profusely.

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Between You and I, Anthony McCall – a light installation that was so soothingly hypnotic, it felt like I was in a different realm. Pity my iPhone camera does no justice to the piece.

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Jane Lee’s Raw Canvas. Not sure why had I the urge to pluck the stringy bits of paint out.

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Singapore, an installation by Wit Pimkanchanapong, is a massive Google Earth image-map of Singapore. Visitors were given stickers to write notes about specific areas on the map. Suddenly this red dot of an island seemed so vast, I immediately started a frantic hunt for my street. With no road names but sticker clues left by previous visitors for reference, I finally found home after five minutes. Only because someone marked the piece of land opposite my place as “This used to be a cemetary!”. Bingo!

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This was too cute – a sculptural installation of woollen yarn has inspired me to pick up knitting. The vibrant colours spell HAPPY (in caps, no less).

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Operation Supermarket was very witty – the commodity of products we use everyday has never been more symbolic.

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Erlich’s Hair Salon was extremely clever, can you see what’s curious about this picture?
(There’s no mirror, items were placed in another room to recreate the reflection!)

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Even the artist statement was a printed reflection!

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Cheo Chai Hiang and his piece Teh Tarik (Courting After School 1950’s Style) reminds us how modern day courtship is anything but cordial.

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A neon tube swing – reminiscent of childhood and innocence.

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Varini’s orange streaks flash past South Beach’s interior.

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Had a bit of a vain moment while marveling Impossibility of the Superstring Theory.

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Z attempts to hop on a helicopter as the overwhelming smell of soap floods the compound.

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September Sweetness seemed simple enough as a temple made of sugar. But this place of worship disintegrates during the course of SB2008, its temporal status is definitely something to think about. And I certainly didn’t expect such a holistic icon to be a mausoleum for giant red ants.

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The End of History. Yes, indeed. Some idiots are spreading this.

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And together, that might make it two hundred years of solitude.

And I wonder, would Z not strangle me if we were left in solitude for two centuries. My bet’s, no.

I recall back in primary school, worksheets were printed on yellowed textured papers (of which my colleague clarified, it’s called jotter book paper). In a strange way, this humble item is one of the fondest memories from my school days.

Before the commodity of pristine white sheets of deligtful A4 paper, these jotter sheets were a staple source of torment for kids in school. It was tedious and near impossible not to cause an unsightly hole everytime one erases an error vigorously on the worksheet.

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Perhaps it trained us to write cautiously and neatly (so much for pencil markings being convenient)?

It was a hierachy of sorts when you graduated to upper primary and you were licensed to use a ballpoint pen. Other than the significance of “I’m a big girl now, I can use a PEN!”, in came another problem – correction tape. It was truthfully pointless to use liquid paper, an error would mean either a big blue scrawly to cover the mistake or an ungainly white splodge (or splodges for that matter) would leave little imprints of boo-boos. The jotter paper also has the innate ability to soak up liquid paper and leave hardened lumps of residue that seeped through the sheets. Our poor teachers would receive sheet after another of dancing white spots and childish blue ink scrawls. What a nightmare for the eyes.

Right now, the luxury of copy paper means less of an opportunity to master the art of the scrub and quite honestly, who writes these days? Today it’s about the clatter of the keyboard and the spontaneous mouse click to ‘Print’. Don’t even get me started on the deterioration of handwriting. As with recapping, one always ponders on lost time and how many things are taken for granted now. And for the sake of feeling like I’m seven again, I want to buy a stack of these jotter papers. And the thing I’ll do first?

Cause a big black hole with my eraser.

This pilot version of Heritage TV is embroiled in the sweat and tears of some poor NHB staffers. Now that we know it’s no joke to go out filming during a humid afternoon, it’s even more of a pain to be dressed in office wear while meddling with tripods and squeezing interesting quotes from museum visitors. Yet, there’s a certain sort of satisfaction now that this video is done. Albeit slightly raw, we’re hoping to go in the way of YouTube videos with the unpolished/non-glossy feel of internet TV.

Many thanks to Wei Chong who had to endure my string of profanities everytime I flubbed my lines and to David who helped piece this episode together. Watch out for HTV in January 2009!

Weekends are never long enough. All in favour of implementing a 3-day weekend, say “Aye!”.

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If you’ve light sticks (like how I did at Baybeats), wave ’em in the air!

Now that I’ve heard a resonating agreement, it’s possible my boss just clobbered me on the head. And he might also wonder how many yesterday.sg namecards I gave out at the Omy Blog Awards last Friday.

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Colour of the night was Pink, spot the good people who dressed to theme?

Not plenty to be honest, but if anything, those bite-sized cards were excellent conversation starters. As my first social media event, I suppose it was only natural to be overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of blogging as a business. It struck me that new media, once taken as a mere tool for immediate communication, now carries the power to influence and guide. Times have changed indeed.

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Lolly for Molly.

Tagged with a strip of paper, each lolly was partnered with a nominated blog address. Pretty nifty, yes? Should have nicked a few more, might need them to keep yours truly awake while I pry my drowsy eyes open at my desk tomorrow morning.

I’m so grossly overcome by hysteria. Ask me. And I mumble “I’m OK.”

No. Ask me again.

I’m not OK!

My frequent outbursts leave me bewildered. Wasn’t I smiling just five minutes back? And now I’m dissolved in a state of tears. My body harbours intense turmoil. I want to know why do men have the emotional capacity of a teaspoon yet women are capable of experiencing a multitude of emotions simultaneously. If this doesn’t explain why we’re mostly irrational, then I concede we’re just wired to be incoherent basketcases.

Surely my state of being can be attributed to (insert favourite PMS euphemism here)? Yet, I recall researching on Female Hysteria during my BA studies:

Hysteria is itself redolent with gendered codification and representation, and with a current dictionary definition stating (general features being) an extreme degree of emotional instability and an intense craving for affection: an outbreak of wild emotionalism all of which can be located on a continuum from present codficiations of feminine.

Or as Wiki would describe:

Female hysteria was a formerly common medical diagnosis, made exclusively in women, which is no longer recognized by modern medical authorities. It was a popular diagnosis in Western nations, during the Victorian era, for women who exhibited a wide array of symptoms including faintness, nervousness, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in abdomen, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and a “tendency to cause trouble”.

The theory which derived from an ancient Greek myth tells of the uterus wandering throughout a woman’s body, strangling the victim as it reaches the chest and causing disease. Hystera is the Greek word for uterus.

The womb stirs, longing for attention. Perhaps she seeks to be assured that she’s not forgotten. Female Hysteria was formerly a medical condition, why isn’t it now?

In the mid-1800’s, a certain Dr Swift would do some tinkling with his magic fingers and induce short-term euphoria.

Patients diagnosed with female hysteria would sometimes undergo “pelvic massage” — manual stimulation of the woman’s genitals by the doctor to “hysterical paroxysm”, which is now recognized as orgasm.

Thus to put it crudely, for all that pent up emotion and stress accumulated, some alone time with you and your chichi will do just fine.

Back then, were women so stifled and unstimulated that they were rendered sexually dissatisfied? Suppose female bodies were ruled by inherent male power and curing such an ailment was so shockingly simple, then what were the husbands doing? How were husbands content letting a doctor stick his hand up their wives’ skirts, triggering sexual climax – a task which was inextricably tied to their wedding vows?

Perhaps with the emergence of third-wave feminism, the modern day female is fiercely empowered and imperative over her body. Even if she is still unknowingly disconnected from her being, it simply isn’t a matter of carnal pleasure anymore. As Julia Kristeva mentions, “The body conquers the invisible territory of the soul.”

We seek self-pleasure for purely selfish reasons. While I’ve successfully digressed and temporarily dispelled moodiness for feminist rants, I will not count out a little alone time for myself later.