HUTAN

(2023)
Interactive Audio-Visual Installation;
Fabric, metal, lights, microphones, video projections, found objects



HUTAN means “forest” in Bahasa Melayu and Indonesia. Hutan is also an anagram of tahun (”time”), tuhan (”God”) and hantu (”spirits”)! In this way, forests, time, the sacred and the spiritual are all connected!

Forests take centuries to grow. Many cultures believe forests are sacred, and are home to spirits. Malay folklore is full of stories about spirits who care for the forest and those who live in it. In Malay culture, trees are sometimes respected as sacred places. Other cultures speak of the “tree of life,” which connects humans with heaven and earth.

Enter HUTAN’s Tree of Life and forest floor. What lies beyond what we can see? Take your time and wander around the space carefully. Listen to the rhythms of life, and then listen to the sounds that we ourselves make as we move. Like a baby in our mother’s belly, inside the Tree of Life, can you feel the heartbeat of our universe?

Collaborator:
Lynette Quek, LittleCr3atures



Ways of Not Seeing Workshop

(2022-2023)

Thermochromic ink, digital print, glass, mirror, cloth, sound



When asked to think of a person, place or thing, most people are able to conjure some kind of picture in their head. However, aphantasia is a condition where this mind’s eye is blind.

Taking aphantasia as a starting point, the artist (who has this condition) considers what it might mean to ‘see’ and ‘remember’.

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Picturing a Candle combines both a prompt to “picture” (often used in various therapy, empathy-building, and mental-imagery research) and the image of “candle” (often associated with serenity, sacredness, and hope); to wonder — how might someone with aphantasia conceive of objects and past events? In what other instances might we all struggle to visualise, understand, and hope?

This work draws loose scaffolding from the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire  (VVIQ), a test that measures one’s ability to make mental images, typically used as a preliminary test for aphantasia. In the test, participants are tasked to try visualising: a dear person, a familiar shopfront, a rising sun, and a scene in nature. The work also takes Salleh Japar’s Gurisan-Gurisan Maghrib (Lines Between Twilight) from the  Gallery’s collection as a point of inspiration— a work contemplating faith and the setting of the sun: the movement from sight to blindness, light to dark, day to night.

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Tracing this same path of receding vision, the artist also looked at decaying photographs from his childhood in Jakarta that were damaged by the flood waters that often immerse the city, and wonders if this deterioriation can also be a place of creation. Adding gurisan (lines) into the regions of moisture and bacterial decay, the artist makes new images that both responds to the VVIQ’s prompts and approximates old memories, both of which he is otherwise unable to do fully, if at all.

All are then invited to trace their own precipices of sight, memory, hope, faith, articulation. A sonic contribution by artist ila, an inarticulate reverberate of a thought, reflects on these themes, with interlacing responses from members of the public to two questions: what do you see when you close your eyes? And what do you feel when you close your eyes?

For you too: when and how does decay—of material, memory, mood—take place? When have you been unable to “see”?
 


Created for the Calm Room Creative Residency, National Gallery Singapore

Links
National Gallery Singapore Creative Calm Room Residency




Picturing a Candle

(2022-2023)

Thermochromic ink, digital print, glass, mirror, cloth, sound



When asked to think of a person, place or thing, most people are able to conjure some kind of picture in their head. However, aphantasia is a condition where this mind’s eye is blind.

Taking aphantasia as a starting point, the artist (who has this condition) considers what it might mean to ‘see’ and ‘remember’.

︎

Picturing a Candle combines both a prompt to “picture” (often used in various therapy, empathy-building, and mental-imagery research) and the image of “candle” (often associated with serenity, sacredness, and hope); to wonder — how might someone with aphantasia conceive of objects and past events? In what other instances might we all struggle to visualise, understand, and hope?

This work draws loose scaffolding from the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire  (VVIQ), a test that measures one’s ability to make mental images, typically used as a preliminary test for aphantasia. In the test, participants are tasked to try visualising: a dear person, a familiar shopfront, a rising sun, and a scene in nature. The work also takes Salleh Japar’s Gurisan-Gurisan Maghrib (Lines Between Twilight) from the  Gallery’s collection as a point of inspiration— a work contemplating faith and the setting of the sun: the movement from sight to blindness, light to dark, day to night.

︎

Tracing this same path of receding vision, the artist also looked at decaying photographs from his childhood in Jakarta that were damaged by the flood waters that often immerse the city, and wonders if this deterioriation can also be a place of creation. Adding gurisan (lines) into the regions of moisture and bacterial decay, the artist makes new images that both responds to the VVIQ’s prompts and approximates old memories, both of which he is otherwise unable to do fully, if at all.

All are then invited to trace their own precipices of sight, memory, hope, faith, articulation. A sonic contribution by artist ila, an inarticulate reverberate of a thought, reflects on these themes, with interlacing responses from members of the public to two questions: what do you see when you close your eyes? And what do you feel when you close your eyes?

For you too: when and how does decay—of material, memory, mood—take place? When have you been unable to “see”?
 


Created for the Calm Room Creative Residency, National Gallery Singapore

Links
National Gallery Singapore Creative Calm Room Residency




Other Things

(2022)

Installation;
Pencil and cut-outs on silk paper, candle, dimensions variable.



What sits between the silencing and expressing of doubt?

Other Things is an ongoing installation of paper cutouts. In it, personal reflections are written on silk paper and then cut out.

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The series looks to embed the doubt and anxieties present behind any act of proclamation or disclosure, however bold they may sound, in material form. In the work, marks are made – and furthermore cut out – not onto printing paper but onto silk paper, typically used only to clean metal printing plates or protect finished prints, instead of being printed upon.

On silk paper – a humble material typically used to clean and protect finished prints – I wrote personal reflections, and thereafter cut the words out. This series of gesture, both additive and reductive, came from a desire to augment the seemingly-assertive act of printing and speaking, instead making manifest the gaps present in any kind of expression. In part, the work alludes to Martin Luther’s pasting of his printed “Ninety-five Theses” on the door of the Castle Church, an act of theological challenge against the Roman Catholic Church. Canonically remembered as an act of bold revolution that sparked the Protestant Reformation, it was in truth done amidst great societal and personal turmoil: from the Black plague tearing across Europe, to Martin Luther’s own enduring fears of divine judgment.

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In response, the series looks to embed the doubt and anxieties present behind any act of proclamation or disclosure, however bold they may sound.

The aim, then, is to dial the act of bringing words into the world into a gentler, more perishable form – as an expression of still speaking, but more vulnerably, tentatively, and carefully, with room for necessary doubt.



Exhibited at:
Material Memory, Spinnerei, Germany
The Faraway Nearby, Art Agenda S.E.A., Singapore


Reviews
Wong Kar Mun Nicole for Art and Market, "Review of Art and Market Small Rooms"
Jonathan Chan for Art and Market, “so imminent yet so beyond reach”
Miriam Devaprasana for Art and Market, “An Ode to Truth Which Binds Us All”
Amar Shahid for Art and Market, “An afternoon of reconciliation”




in times like these...

(2021)
Two versions: Cinematic and VR experience; 8 minutes 27 seconds


in times like these... is an immersive cinematic and VR presentation. The 8 minute visual landscape experiment is paired with sound designed by Singaporean artist Jevon Chandra, bringing the visuals from a temporal exhibition space into virtual reality.

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in times like these... speaks to the strange times we live in, where the expressions of our senses are locked in deep isolation, where the abstract pulsates vividly in our cognitive presences, where intricate movements of colour, light and sound turn up their volumes, such that we are inundated by their slowly inching wilt towards death. The VR experience is one of slow-motion aesthetic implosions, that a viewer melts into the virtual at the eye of the cascading storm. VR theatrical experience is accessible by Oculus Quest 2 headsets.

(text by Chen Yanyun)

Award
Winner — Beyond The Curve International Film Festival (France)

Exhibited at:
2022 — Beyond the Curve International Film Festival, Paris, France
2022 — Berlin Lift-Off Film Festival Online Selection, Berlin, Germany
2022 — FIVARS Festival of International Virtual and Augmented Reality Stories

In collaboration with: Yanyun Chen and Alex Scollay
Technical Support: Corentin Derbre