the (welcomed) weight of keeping on
"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 are relied upon everyday. Therefore, the work identifies lift movements as a metaphor for daily activity, gesturing towards the interplays between routine and its dependencies.
Spaces and infrastructures breathe as her occupants do, and the work’s durational element traces the shifting psyche of physical structures. In a web of interconnectedness, that which are unobserved or forgotten still bear weight – on other people, in other places, in other times. [i carry, then, is an exercise to consider the ordinary actors, the people and processes which routine (through repetition, mechanisation, and constancy) has rendered invisible, that keep us afloat.
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: care and companionship; the stubborn dependencies we impose on each other; some conceit embedded in our presumptions of the very notion of caring; 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?
Photo credits: Teo Xiao Ting
Video credits: Phang Zixin
Special thanks: Janel Ang
This work was a 2nd runner-up in Celeste Prize 2017’s Super Young category, and was exhibited at the Celeste Prize 2017 exhibition in Oxo Tower, London.