Singapore Biennale ~ Ai Loon’s pick for the week ~ 31 October

It’s been a week into the Singapore Biennale 2013 and have you been to any event or seen any work of art yet? I participated in Mandi Bunga (Flower Bath), an opening event of performance art held on 26th October at the front lawn of the National Museum of Singapore.

I have also briefly looked at the pieces at the singapore art museum, but I am sure there is more than meets the eyes. My first experience tells me that this edition of the Singapore Biennale proves to be a good representation of contemporary art.

I must say that I am quite impressed by the works and their diversity. It’s a broad-based exploration and use of materials, media, concept and styles that no one piece takes centre stage. And that’s before considering the significance and message each work may be deployed to convey, as well as the personal exchange of vibes between an audience and a work.

This time, it’s completely out of the box. We do get some aptly inside the box, to complete the Biennale nicely.

311013_1My pick for the week is a voice that some of us may have heard in major airports or train stations in the world. For first-timers, you may find the voice neutral yet pleasant to your ears.

Along the front corridor before stepping into the main lobby of singapore art museum, we can hear a voice narrating poems and other writings by the artist, Albert Samreth. Yes, it’s an artwork and not simply another pre-recorded and automated system providing information to visitors to the museum.

The voice belongs to Carolyn Hopkins who has made a career out of being a public announcer. I have every reason to believe that, she has the largest number of “listeners”, considering the number of commuters in the world today.

The artist has made his work in such a way that there is no fixed structure of listening to the set of five recordings of Hopkins’ reading. Where I begin listening may not be where you start. Have a go at it and you will know what I mean.

The uncertainty of the sequence of contents is a contrast to the sense of certainty supplied by Hopkins’ announcements in those transportation hubs. I wonder if she also records for flight delays. Change comes with uncertainty, especially when it comes to the world.

The Voice, 2013

by Albert Samreth

Five-track sound recording, five speakers

singapore art museum‘s front, around the entrance

Singapore Biennale 2013 commision