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[i carry

Lifts as literal and metaphorical carriages
(2017)




"I came to understand place as verb rather than noun, which exists in our doings: walking, talking, living." - Simryn Gill

[i carry is a performance-installation that reacts to the movements of lifts in an urban compound over a 24-hour cycle. In Singapore, given the verticality of our buildings, lifts become a part of our everyday. The work identifies lift movements as a metaphor for daily activity, gesturing towards the interplays between routine and interdependence.

Physical spaces and infrastructures breathe as her occupants do, and the work’s durational element traces the shifting psyche of inhabited locales. In a web of interconnectedness, what is unobserved or forgotten still exists and bears weight: [i carry, then, is an appeal to consider the ordinary actors, the people and processes which routine (through repetition, mechanisation, and constancy) has rendered invisible, that keep us afloat.

For the work, an exhibition space is divided by a string curtain, on which visual stimuli – an abstraction of lift data – is projected. Throughout, a generative soundscape is also present. Beyond the curtain is a performer who fulfils some  duties and requirements, maintaining the work for 24 hours. Other items, such as a bed and some food, also exist. Visitors may engage with the work as desired; for the work has been shaped by others going about their activities, shuttling about in lifts, as well.

Lastly, I'd note that the work's title bears a direct reference to e.e. cumming’s poem [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]. It is an account of several things: of care and companionship; of the stubborn dependencies we impose on each other; of some conceit within our assumptions/presumptions on the very idea of caring; of the idiosyncrasies of being around and being with. Surely, there are baggages and obligations that we carry for – and of – each other, all part of our routines, enacted cyclically.

In sum, by presenting lifts as literal and metaphorical carriages, I wanted to ask: who or what carries us, and who or what do we carry in return?

Last update: 5 January 2018