Being part of a performance art feels great, just great, especially after putting in the effort to prepare your own costume for the event. I by-passed the preview and the opening party of Singapore Biennale 2013 and zoomed into one of its artworks on its opening day – 26th October 2013, Saturday.
Mandi Bunga (Flower Bath in Malay language) it was. To the artist, the meaning of the performance art is to “re-visit the tradition of Mandi Bunga (冲花凉)” to receive blessings or to ward off bad luck, it’s an “orchestration of hope and renewal”.
To me, and with close reference to the Biennale’s theme, If The World Changed, we take a Flower Bath to change our luck in the hope to change our fate, yet the customary and purpose of Mandi Bunga never change. The Malays say prayers before taking a flower bath while the Chinese use flowers given out by temples. This old practice of Mandi Bunga and belief that have been passed down from generation to generation is not limited to just the Malays and the Chinese.
It was quite an experience to take a public bath with strangers and getting excited with strangers over something in common, no matter merely for twenty minutes or a couple of hours. If you are unfazed by this idea, what about being physically a part of an artwork yet your part is ephemeral?
Therefore, do look out for the performance relics of this unique piece of artwork by Sharon Chin, at the singapore art museum’s special exhibition gallery on level 2. See what have come out of the 100-bather congregation without any rehearsal. There are also videos and photographs shared by various media, local and overseas.
Don’t forget to drop anchor at The Substation, LASALLE College of the Arts, School Of The Arts (SOTA), Gillman Barracks, Sculpture Square, Singapore Tyler Print Institute, National Library Building (in Bugis), Fort Canning Park, Tank Road, Waterloo Centre as well as private galleries and museums/ galleries in local universities.
Activities include talks, conversations, film screening, performances, book launch, guided tours, fora, hands-on and the list goes on.