Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Artist Statement: Mike HJ Chang

Black Pebble (2011)

Bench (2011)
Black Pebble (2011) and Bench (2011), are two separate pieces, but born out of the same vein in which the artist deals with issues of the dream in the context of human ergonomics. In the photography piece a black pebble is inserted under a mattress, depicting an uncomfortable sleeping situation. Black stones or gems have long been associated with magic or the dark arts, though in the work the sense of ritual is ambiguous, only the very mundane is presented.  The state of sleeping has the potential of being disrupted by the physical intrusion of a pebble, not unlike having a tiny rock in one’s shoe.

In the sculptural work, Bench, a slight physical change has occurred to a typical piece of furniture. The (un)combination of the slanted form and the rigid square-ness of the ceramic titles results in a disharmonious state. Similar to Black Pebble, the slightly out-of-ordinariness makes it hard to rule out that one is already in a dream.

Artist Statement: Chun Kai Qun

I Think I Can Keep My Faith In Man

I Think I Can Keep My Faith in Man relates to how dreamscapes are constructed as a physical reality in architecture, painting and film. With the advancement in technology, the world can be freely built from our wildest imagination, we can easily find a nostalgically themed café in a shopping mall, revisit the Jurassic age at an amusement park and be immersed in an epic magical world in true high-definition 3D. Our experience of the material world has become phantasmagoric like a dream (or perhaps a nightmare) in which disconnected scenes morph seamlessly from one to another. Unconsciously, we have adopted a stance of unquestioning indifference towards this confusion created by the constant blurring of reality with fiction in our environment. In this work, I have created a dioramic collage of disparate scenes and landscapes which merge into one another, and through the employment of different scales and proportions to induce alternating perceptions about the composition. There is an emphasis on faux painting techniques which are often used to fabricate the aged furniture in period interiors of now popular coffee-shop franchises (for examples, Toast Box and Killiney Kopitiam) in Singapore. There is also a reference to a pre-CGI cinematic technique used in Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon in which black sumi ink was used to intensify the rainstorm in the film. The work leads to the scrutiny of its manufacture and bring forth an inquisitive attention to the constructedness of our physical environment.

Artist Statement: Debbie Ding


MAPS WITH/OUT BUILDINGS is a hand-illustrated study of place, the map-making process and natural features as they are commonly represented in topographic maps.

During the years 2008-2010 I collected my dreams in the form of maps and layout plans. As dreams are highly visual, I felt that the only way to adequately document my dreams would be to draw maps of the spaces. At the time when I began this project I was inspired by Bill Hillier's theories on "space syntax", which suggested that the navigability of a space and its isovists (the field of view from any one point) had direct affect over social behaviour within those spaces. Since we spend about a third of our lives sleeping and presumably dreaming (whether or not we remember our dreams), I believe that the dream spaces we experience may also play a significant role in shaping our behaviour in waking life.

One day a friend noted that I hadn't drawn any maps without buildings in them. I realised this was because the only two places I had spent significant time living in (Singapore and London) were both modern, highly dense urban cities, and throughout my entire life I had only the most minimal contact with countrysides.

This is a work that will be produced as I travel through both the city and the countryside (London/Cornwall in UK, Berlin/North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany) - an exploration of the portrayal of place, through a study of maps which do not have any buildings in them. Perhaps by studying maps without buildings, and by envisioning or attempting to visualise landscapes devoid of buildings, one day I will have dreams without buildings in them.

For more information, see: MAPS WITH/OUT BUILDINGS

Artist Statement: Joo Choon Lin


I SAW You SING is a new revolution in structural crack repair. It is a dream saw able to repair any concrete cracks and fractures in walls. When the cracks are stabilized and cured, it leaves behind a permanent colourful mark. This saw will also sing you a song during the repair process. 

It is ironic that a saw has become more significant as a tool being returned to its initial purpose of aiding construction, because in contemporary culture we often see the saw as a tool of violence, mutilation and destruction in horror-gore films such as SAW and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Instead, the saw has become a tool for creating peace and harmony. 

Through the process of make-believe and creating dream-like sequences, this video installation responds to the gaps between social classes in Singapore, using the saw as a symbol of expression to bridge social fragmentations.

Artist Statement: Yuzuru Maeda

(Zentai 46) on B

Our subconsciousness occupies ninety percent of our total psyche. Through our dreams, we make contact with this vast yet elusive side of ourselves, allowing us to discover that which is hidden in our daily life. I think that true inspiration evolves out of this close contact with the subconscious, and so this video work is a search to discover the other ninety percent of possibilities, residing deeper within.

Artist Statement: Bruce Quek

Incidental Traces(2b)

Concerning dreams, a tale is often told of the philosopher Zhuangzhi, who once wondered if he had dreamt of being a butterfly, or if a butterfly had dreamt of being Zhuangzhi. It is in this in-between space that Incidental Traces(2b) might be found, at the point of transformation which resembles both an elusive veil and an iron curtain.

The edge of change is a point of confusion; when we wake, our memory slip-slides as it attempts to recall the fading fragments of a dream - chains of events which seemed perfectly sensible are rendered suspect: a memory, hard-won, or confabulation brought upon by the effort of memory itself? Likewise, the path from wakefulness to sleep disappears along the way, unless disrupted by sleep paralysis or other hypnagogic twitches.

Of course, these borders are not addressed only to themselves; dreams do not concern dreams alone. What if these patterns, found in the relationship between dreaming and waking, could be found in other binary relations?

Artist Statement: Zai Tang

Through the Mind’s Eye of a Needle

In recent years, I’ve obsessively documented all my dreams upon waking - through writing, drawing and voice recording. Through the Mind’s Eye of a Needle is a search for an alternative method of exploring the meanings of my dream material, by translating these experiences into a sonorous form. 


I wanted to remain flexible in my approach to dream interpretation, so I have adopted improvisational methods of playing my prepared vinyl records, field recordings and spoken dream recollections. When these elements amalgamate, I am able to plunge myself back into the memory of specific dream experiences and freely re-interpret them within a lucid moment of sound. This instinct driven approach better reflects the dynamic nature of the unconscious, and encourages playful responses to the immersive atmospheres, fragmented narratives and fluid morphologies of space and characters experienced within dreams.

Alongside my improvisation-lead composition, I have presented the prepared vinyl and other tools I used to improvise with. These interconnected sonorous objects are made visible to give a more holistic experience to the listener, acting both as a visual score to the final sound composition and a means of revealing my dream sonification process.

My process itself is more concerned with discovery than expression. Like the unraveling of a dream’s message through word association, one sonic encounter leads me to the next as I seek out something that feels meaningful in relation to the dream, then dig deeper.

Artist Statement: Mark Thia


Artist Statement: Mark Wong Wenwei & Elizabeth Lim

 I was Dreaming in the Past, and My Heart was Beating Fast

We have set up a chamber that revisits 1950s Singapore, a nascent society in pre-statehood, young but vibrant with an uncertain future ahead of it. This was an age of lofty ideals, a generation of dreamers that found themselves meeting head-on with repression, creating historical junctures of trauma at the birth of a nation. Can a dream go too far?

We attempt to access the dreams of a forgotten generation via a light and sound installation, transporting the audience into the physical act of dreaming. The chamber creates an immersive environment of recurrent sound and visual imagery unhinged from rational control. As a window into our unconsciousness, dreams are encodings of latent desires and fears. As the unconscious mind is unable to communicate through a verbal language, it relies on both universal and personal symbols and imagery to signal psychological states.

The title of the work highlights the vast differences between the ideals of the past and our present realities. While the activists of the 1950s were stirred by common purpose and dreamt as a community, the present generation is often said only to indulge in navel gazing and personal gratification. The work implicitly raises questions about the future and what our generation’s dreams are.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Biography: Mike HJ Chang

Mike HJ Chang is a Taiwanese American. He received his B.A. from University of California, Los Angeles, and his MFA from California Institute of the Arts. He is currently an art educator living in Singapore, where he also runs a small art space in called FOXRIVER.  Recently he exhibited his work at Post Museum and TickleArt in Singapore, and Dobaebacsa in Seoul, South Korea. Chang is currently working on multi-disciplinary projects entitled Is What and Night, and a Circular Room.  Both projects deal with the conflict of illustration and text, and the process of letting it become an analogy for the anxiety of art making. 

Biography: Chun Kai Qun

Chun Kai Qun is concerned with the anxieties and desires of individuals living in contemporary society. He brings into play the art of miniature making, creating cataclysmic explosions, reminiscent of sensationalist blockbuster action flicks or video games. The perverse violence and gory carnality of the spectacle is trivialized and detached by means of miniaturization in his work, highlighting the anesthesia that decadent society has unconsciously induced in us.

He received his art education from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore, majoring in printmaking. Chun has actively participated in various art exhibitions and projects including Art Stage Singapore (2011), Utopia Highway at the Esplanade Concourse (2010), TransportAsian at the Singapore Art Museum (2009), Lost in the City at the National Museum of Singapore (2009) and the 4th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale (Art Exchange Program) (2009).

Biography: Debbie Ding

Debbie Ding (b. 1984, Singapore) is an artist and cartographer who likes mapping and visualising spaces whether they be real or imaginary. She graduated with a B.A (Hons) in English Literature from National University of Singapore in 2007, but currently works as an independent illustrator and interactive designer/programmer. Through her work Ding investigates how the built environment in cities such as Singapore and London affects patterns of human interaction with urban space.
Ding held her first solo exhibition "\\ : The Singapore River as a Psychogeographical Faultline" at The Substation Gallery (Singapore) in September 2010 as part of The Substation Open Call 2010.

Biography: Joo Choon Lin

Joo Choon Lin (b. 1984) makes experimental stop-motion animation across various disciplines, including drawing, sculpture and printmaking. Her work incorporates live action and localised contexts to create narratives that blur fact and fiction. For her, the sketches also take the form of sculptural maquette. Joo’s drawings are spontaneous, as she nurtures her story each day with make-belief and with surreal consequences. In flux, every ‘new’ drawing (new frame in this case) contains a residual memory of the previous drawing—haunting and scar-like. Every subsequent frame escapes, and dissipates from the previous: One event leads to the next without a script. While not deliberate, there is a concurrent mood of escapism and introspection in Joo’s work, reflecting the artist’s nonchalant attitude to the hype of new media, preferring something more material and craft-like. Joo has exhibited work locally and internationally, participating in shows such as 4th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Japan (2009), 1st Aichi Triennale, Japan (2010) and Roving Eye at Sorlandets Kunstmuseum, Norway (2011).

Biography: Elizabeth Lim

Elizabeth Lim (b. 1992, Singapore) has grown up being exposed to the eclectic society of Singapore. She has been traveling since the age of 1, which may contribute to her strong interest in the interactions between culture and people from different walks of life. Elizabeth enjoys creating works that are simple, straightforward, and depict an honest reflection of the Artist and her ideas. She enjoys traveling, several different sports, humour and honesty in Art, and being a Singaporean flâneur, which is also reflected in her works. Her upcoming projects are concerned with trying to expand the definitions of "Singaporean Art". More importantly, she is investigating the endless potential and possibilities Art and its mediums have to offer her. She further develops herself, first as a human being then as an Artist, to uncover what she has to offer Art.

Biography: Yuzuru Maeda

Yuzuru Maeda was born in Ogaki, Japan and currently lives in Singapore. She received her BA from the LaSalle Collage of Arts (2009), and has been involved with producing soundtracks, jingles and music compositions for independent films and video works. Yuzuru's music is influenced by Jazz, Hindustani classical, Carnatic, Hindi film songs, Japanese and experimental music, citing La Monte Young, Arlo Guthrie and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan as her main inspirations. She performs with Sanshin (Japanese) and Sarod (Indian), and has played at various local and international events: Choppa (Singapore, 2007), Black Market (Singapore, 2009), Rights, Osage Gallary (Singapore, 2009), Open Art Festival (Beijing, 2009), Sugar Jar (Beijing, 2009), Mekong River Project (Bangkok, 2009), Post Museum (Singapore, 2010), Sculpture Society, Fort Canon (Singapore, 2011).

Biography: Bruce Quek

Bruce Quek is a young artist who works with whatever seems appropriate at the time, often producing things that don't seem to mean anything. This tendency might be traced to his training in sculpture at LASALLE, which often saw him scrounging for serendipitous pieces of scrap metal. His projects tend to take the distribution and dissemination of information as starting points for various conceptual investigations, critiques of artistic infrastructure, and other wanderings. He takes an interest in many things, but maintains an unhealthy fascination with emergent behaviour, pathological transference, and puns. All of his endeavours are frequently threatened by the seductive allure of reading random things online, out of a vague belief in the value of consuming as much information as possible.

Biography: Zai Tang

Zai Tang situates his creative practise somewhere in between the paths of music, art and philosophy. The thrust of his recent projects focus on the evolving relationship between sound and space, in both real and imagined environments. His work investigates how developing a greater awareness of sound can contribute to more dynamic states of being and enrich our experience of place.

He applies a multidisciplinary approach to art making, adapting to whatever means best suits his ideas; whether experimenting with turntable and vinyl records in a live setting, creating immersive site-specific installations or sound composition for film and theatre. Zai studied BA Creative Music Technology at Bath Spa University, and completed his post-graduate in Digital Arts at Camberwell College of Arts. Since 2006 Zai has been exhibiting work and performing in Singapore, London and most notably Venice; collaborating with Tang Da Wu in developing a multimedia sculptural installation at the Singapore Pavilion for the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007).

Biography: Mark Thia

Biography: Mark Wong Wenwei

Mark Wong Wenwei (b. 1982, Singapore), works in and with sound to devise listening strategies for new and intense possibilities of being. His practice is diverse, including improvised rock, electro-pop and electro-acoustic performances, compositions for film and dance, gallery installations, free-form radio shows and live DJ-spinning. He has performed and exhibited at various local and international events, including the Hong Kong City Festival (2006), notthatbalai art festival, KL (2007), Electricity: International Symposium on Electronic Art (2008), Masriadi: Black is My Last Weapon (2008), Studio in Cheras, KL: Open Lab (2008), Choppa Series (2008-09), Month's End Music @ FINDARS, KL (2009), Cityscapes: Singapore Design Festival (2009) and Open House! (2011). Mark also writes on sound and music and has been published in The Wire (UK), Substation Magazine (SG), BigO (SG), Independent Artists Club (MY) and Junk (MY).

Saturday, 21 May 2011


just couple of things i am kinda into lately, might be interesting to some of you:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypnerotomachia_Poliphili, an early romance novel with beautiful woodcut and type design. the title is also good, called Poliphilo's Strife of Love in a Dream.


Monday, 9 May 2011

Lucid Photoshop

I'm walking over a field and realise I'm dreaming. The colours are amplified, sumptuous yellows and greens. I decide to fly forward over the lush bare fields and small hills. I have faith in myself that I can fly much faster than before, which allows me to do so. It's almost as if I'm stationary and the ground is flying past me! A few houses appear. A large red one stands out. Using my thumb and index of both hands, I mark out a small area of the house image, like in Photoshop. It disappears. I look at another building, and want to make the whole thing disappear, willing it with my mind. It doesn't work. I look away and look back. Nothing. One more time... the roof and half of the exterior wall are missing.

Elephant Statue

I am looking at a photograph taken in Thailand, north of Bangkok. The photo is taken at the base of a concrete statue, angled up, so the viewer can see the immense height of it. The statue resides at a temple high above the ground. Clouds surround it, nothing else can be seen.

The photo draws me in, and starts to feel more tangible, as if I'm experiencing it first hand. The Elephant, standing completely upright, is narrow in width, but reaches far beyond the clouds. I'm blown away by what an amazing feat of human engineering it is, on the cusp of being impossible. In centuries past the sheer scale of it must have put the those that beheld it in a state of awe, and even fear, if seen by invaders. A few travelers and monks stand around admiring the statue. There is text below the photograph; a voice narrates, talking about how this statue questions the material body of man.