Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A group exhibition at Goodman Arts Centre Gallery, 1st - 15th July

'...this exhibition traverses the dual domain of waking and dreaming; in so doing, the nebulous interstices of hypnagogia are probed as well. These explorations run the gamut of potential angles of attack: From meticulous charts of individual dreams and general treatments of dream phenomena, to the instantiation of phantasmagoric scenarios, collective desires and forgotten futures.'   excerpt from a piece by Bruce Quek.


Come join us for our show opening on 1st July at 8pm, where there will be sound performances by Kai Lam, Yuzuru Maeda and Zai Tang, plus a special guest! Also, if you're free on 9th July at 2pm, do drop by for talks from participating artists.

Show opening times:

1st July, 11 am - 9.30 pm
2nd July - 14th July, 11 am - 8 pm
15th July, 10.30 am - 1.30 pm

Address and Map:

Goodman Arts Centre Gallery, Block B, 90 Goodman Road
(five minute walk from Mountbatten MRT)

We'd like to extend our sincere thanks to NAC for supporting our exhibition.


We dream.

There's a perfectly ordinary sentence, if a little short, which would pass without general comment in most company. Our dreams – something to shrug off in the morning, or perhaps something to tease apart with dream journals and look-up tables of Freudian imagery. Whatever the degree of significance we choose to accord to our dreams, it seems self-evident enough that we do dream.

So we dream. What of it? What is the significance of accepting that statement, and what paths of enquiry could result? We might, for instance, ask: Are dreams entwined with our perceptions of time? Our pasts mined, our histories excavated and refined into disparate configurations of sensation and imagery; perhaps something as coherent as a reconstruction of a specific day, or some dissonant pastiche of moments past. Likewise, we might aver that our dreams give us insight concerning things that are yet to be; prophetic glimpses afforded by the parting of the veils of consciousness. Or, in the more general sense of the word, we might also consider our hopes and aspirations – of worlds remade in the image of our desires.

However, if there is a point in time most intimately bound with dreams, it may well be the present – a quality which places it in the avowedly solid, reputable company of the waking world; putting aside the possibilities of corruption, bias and confabulation, memory remains a thing of the living present, not a disinterred relic of the past. Dreaming and waking, then, relate not as exclusive, well-demarcated domains within a clear hierarchy, but as mythic twins – apparently differing expressions of a common root. This is not a dusting-off of a simulation hypothesis, but an enquiry concerning the possibilities of transference and equivalence. Dreams of events past and future, for instance, might be compared to déjà vu, or jamais vu. Similarly, the idea that dreams express that which is suppressed by the conscious mind, would also imply that our waking lives express that which is suppressed by our dream lives.

Concerning territorial metaphors of dreaming and waking, we might consider the twinned town of Baarle-Hertog and Baarle-Nassau, a fine latticework of intertwined legal jurisdictions in which a national border might pass through your living room. More conventionally, we might also consider the Walled City of Kowloon as an organic accumulation of urban life - an exclave of nowhere, encompassing facets exotic and mundane, sanctioned and proscribed.

Similarly, in ages past and present, societies have stitched together fragments of collective self-image and hailed them as visions of themselves to come – extruding their hopes and anxieties from singular points to establish their pasts and futures. Aquarian ages of crystal spires and unblemished togas, worlds blessed with atomic panaceas and limitless speed, towering neoclassical megacities crisscrossed with zeppelin traffic, even continents scarred by nuclear fire, from which humanity would spring forth once more. Insofar as none of these have come to pass, it would seem that a future dreamt-for is a future warded against – which seems particularly prudent when it comes to jetpacks, flying cars and curing everything with radium.

Through these and other potential models of binary relations, this exhibition traverses the dual domain of waking and dreaming; in so doing, the nebulous interstices of hypnagogia are probed as well. These explorations run the gamut of potential angles of attack: From meticulous charts of individual dreams and general treatments of dream phenomena, to the instantiation of phantasmagoric scenarios, collective desires and forgotten futures.

In itself, this accumulation of necessary diversity reveals another possible aspect of a dreaming-waking duality – an aspect of insurmountable difference, which remains glaringly present even as it tends infinitely towards zero. That although our individual dreams and experiences form the basis of an apparent collectivity of empirical consensus, those dreams and experiences themselves are walled off – our senses cannot perceive each other’s dreams and experiences. We remain, though similar, irrevocably unique. Of course, it may one day come to pass that direct neural interfaces will lift these barriers – when I can dream a dream of yours, and you can dream a dream of mine. 

by Bruce Quek

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Quiet American

An old dream I had once:

I was watching a film. Oddly enough, it was called The Quiet American (hadn't heard of Graham Greene at this point). It started off a bit like a Kurosawa film, in the cinematography. It was set after a war of some sort, in Japan. A young woman lost her home and family during this war, and in the beginning she's speaking with another family, who agree to take her in - on the condition that she pretends to be a servant. It cuts to the young woman in a servant's outfit (traditional Japanese clothes of some sort) and she's sitting or waiting in the room where the family entertains guests.

Some guests arrive; from outside the room, the young woman hears the head of her adoptive family deliver some sort of insult. For a moment she is offended, but then she remembers that it is traditional to address servants in this manner. At this point her adoptive family and a family of guests enters. Cut to a few minutes ahead, with drinks and pleasantries being exchanged.

The camera work changes noticeably at this point; there's a lot of strangely done closeups, off-kilter steadicam stuff, swooping around. Reminds me a little of some sort of psychedelic montage. The young woman notices that the head of the family of guests looks uncannily like herself. Cut between closeups of the young woman looking curious, disturbed and increasingly confused, and the other woman exchanging small talk and so on so forth.

Cuts between extreme closeups from this point on - the gestures and mannerisms of the two women are beginning to synchronise. Their lips become strangely flat and sort of spread out. Their mouths open and their gums are really, really weird. They look like razor clams, long and tubular pink structures attached to individual teeth. Some of the teeth are just floating at the ends of the gum-things, and some of the gums just end in floating filaments of pink. The last closeup is of their eyes - at the same time, marking total synchronisation, their left eyes roll up into their sockets while the right eyes stare straight into the camera.

They get possessed or something at this point. Both of them are speaking as if they were an American soldier raping someone. The guests get really agitated and confused.