Singapore’s Pride Season is on this month! IndigNation 2017: Unafraid to Assemble

For the whole month of August, yes, this month(!), we will be able to engage ourselves in the line-ups of programmes and events at IndigNation Singapore! The opening party will start at 7pm tonight (4th August) at DYMK (41 Neil Road, Singapore 088824), followed by two days of talks, panel discussions, and workshops over the weekend with Natural Education 2: A Queer Conference.

Bookworms may want to check out The Bear Project x Queer Book Club: Faeries, Bears, & Leathermen, and ContraDiction XIII: HOMO BOMOH. The culturally-inclined can take a look at Sayang/Chellame: A Multilingual Queer Love Poetry Event, and TransIt 2: An Evening of Trans Art and Culture, both to be held at Artistry (17 Jalan Pinang, Singapore 199149).

The third weekend of the month will feature IndigNation Film Festival, and not to forget The Glory Hoes Present: Pride (2014) – “a very queer film experience with optional pre-movie dinner, encouraged in-movie drinking and dancing at an all disco Afterparty”, both at The Projector, 6001 Beach Road, #05-00, Golden Mile Tower.

Do set aside some time during the same weekend for QRIENTATION, presented by Inter-University LGBT Network. Here’s a message from them – “We respect the right to privacy of all LGBTQ+ freshmen joining us so if you’re not out, not to worry – your attendance will be kept confidential 🙂 Sign up today!”

Last but not least, on the 28th of the month, drag queens Ashley Fifty, Becca D’Bus, and Mona Kee Kee will create a fabulous spread for a fundraising dinner in aid of IndigNation – The Giving Table. Pleeeeeese support!

Most of the programmes and events are free, a couple of them require registration.

I love it that this is not a one-way traffic, as in attendees are not merely at the receiving end of information and entertainment. Far from that, they are encouraged to actively participate by voicing up, asking questions, sharing, dancing, working together to develop new ideas, and helping to inculcate thoughtfulness in everyone.

See the full list and details of IndigNation here, and Natural Education 2 here.

Here are my personal picks: 

1.) TransIt 2: An Evening of Trans Art and Culture

2.) Inter Alia presents: Conversations on Activism

Natural Education 2:

3.) Ten Years After the Campaign to Repeal 377A

4.) Facts and Myths about PrEP

5.) Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex Work But Were Afraid to Ask

6.) Shades of Purple: Bisexual & Pansexual Experiences in Singapore

7.) Bisu: A Talk on the LGBT Malay Community

IndigNation Film Festival:

8.) Short Circuit 6

9.) Fathers

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Post-Museum re-configured The Substation, 2016 September

“For the month of September, Post-Museum presents Survey: Space, Sharing, Haunting, a series of programmes examining and reflecting upon the state of arts and culture in Singapore.

One of the significant changes is altering the way audiences enter into the historic ‘Home of the Arts’ for the month. The main door will be closed, and audiences will enter and exit from another opening in the building.” – Post-Museum News

Woon Tien Wei, founder of Post-Museum, comments, “today, we are in a crisis situation where the very ideals on which The Sub was founded are being interrogated and even subjugated in the ‘Renaissancing’ of Singapore’s cultural landscape. SURVEY asks: How have the values of Singapore’s arts community changed in the last 20 years? What are the values of the arts community today?” – Singapore Art & Gallery Guide

Image source: Post-Museum's Facebook page

Image source: Post-Museum’s Facebook page

The Survey exhibition forms the backbone of the programme. Almost all of the activities are free entry, with prior registration required.

My picks: Community Gardening and Food Futures by Michelle Lai | Wednesday, 7th September 2016, 7:30-9pm | register hereThe Pragmatics of Nostalgia: Alternative Narratives in Contemporary Art Production of Singapore by Jarrod Sim | Saturday, 24th September 2016, 2-3:30pm | register here; Club Yoga | details and registration hereLecture: Pontianak and Her Sisters by Adeline Kueh | Sunday, 25th September 2016, 7:30-9pm | register here.

There will also be several spaces created, such as So It May Seed (an urban farm growing food crops), Post-Provision (a shop selling merchandise), and Club House (multi-purpose social space).

For an assortment of “uncategorisable” events, click here. Post-Museum has it all! I know, they won’t agree with me and ‘has it all’ is not what they have in mind.

My picks: Ghost Story Campfire Night by Wong Chee Meng and Zarina Mohd | Saturday, 10th September 2016, 10pm till late | register hereDocuLovers: The True Cost (2015) | Saturday, 17th September 2016, 8-10pm | register here.

Survey will be opened daily (except Monday and public holiday), 1st to 30th September 2016 | noon to 9pm (Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday) | noon to 12am (Friday & Saturday).

Venue: The Substation, 45 Armenian Street, Singapore 179936

Post-Museum is on Facebook, Twitter.

Why I love the reincarnated Singapore International Festival of Arts?

The previous life of Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) was named Singapore Arts Festival. I totally enjoyed the programmes back then, yet I could not say I loved the Festival. Now I can, with the three-year old SIFA and its pre-festival segment The O.P.E.N, indeed I can. I am thankful to its previous lives, for without them there wouldn’t be something to build on.

Before I state my reasons, I feel the need and urge to put up a special mention of The Sardono Retrospective Presents: Expanded Cinema (free admission) in this year’s SIFA, and related performances The Sardono Retrospective Presents: Solo Live Painting, and The Sardono Retrospective Presents: Black Sun.

Here is why I love SIFA, and The O.P.E.N:

  1. I don’t need another conventionally-proper and world-renowned symphony orchestra or choir or opera or Shakespeare, however, I welcome Borderlands, Ron Arad’s 720° (oh my gosh this one is free admission!), Paradise Interrupted, Hamlet | Collage, and Sandaime Richard.

2. Festival Director Mr Ong Keng Sen is involved from head to toe, he had been seen in performances at past SIFA, always making the effort to perform in at least one production or to present something. He is an artist!

Check out Sandaime Richard by him and Hideki Noda, as well as “an added performative component in collaboration with Festival Director Ong Keng Sen” in THE KULA RING Aesthetic Considerations Of Sharing And Exchange (this one is free admission too!).

3. Affordable pricing; O.P.E.N Pass/SIFA FRIEND; generous discounts.

4. SIFA, and The O.P.E.N present “the darnest” (in the most positive and favourable way) and the most eye-opening events it can bring to Singapore.

For instance, I Am LGB; Everything By My Side; Five Easy Pieces; Ibsen: Ghosts; Sixty-Six; Dances And Ceremonies: Spring/Summer 2017; Artist Workshop by Qetiq & Mukaddas Mijit, just to name a few.

5. SIFA is open to and opts for interesting/thought-provoking/heart-warming venues.

Let’s say, The Projector (for film screening), houses of members of the public, Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, Bukit Brown Cemetery, just to name a few.

LASALLE College of the Arts BA(Hons) Film Graduation Showcase, 20th May to 1st June 2016

Congratulations on your graduation, BA(Hons) Film students!

The rest of us can at least show our support and give cheers by watching the films and checking out the exhibition lined up at the showcase. There will be daily screenings of “the best in the school’s fiction and documentary narratives” and an opportunity to visit “the film school’s first ever exhibition of props, wardrobe and equipment used in the making of the films. From recreating a Filipino village in Singapore to simulating rain in broad daylight, we take you behind the scenes to discover how the magic is brought to the screen.”

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Screening

Date: daily from 20th May to 1st June 2016
Timing: noon or 6pm

Runtime: 2 hours 30 minutes with a 5-minute intermission
Venue: Screening Room, Block F Level 2 F208, LASALLE College of the Arts, 1 McNally Street, Singapore 187940

Free admission, see the film listing and get your ticket here. Your ticket is for the date that you have booked, it is good for either the noon or the 6pm session.

Exhibition

Date: daily from 20th May to 1st June 2016
Time: 11am to 8pm

Venue: Flexible Performance Space, Block F Level 1, LASALLE College of the Arts, 1 McNally Street, Singapore 187940

Trailer

Familiar Strangers: Stories of Migrant Workers Re-presented Exhibition, 2nd & 3rd April 2016

Thank you very much, to you all who help to build Singapore in one way or another.

Exhibition venue: Visual Arts Centre, #01-02 Dhoby Ghaut Green, 10 Penang Road, Singapore 238469. (50 metres from Exit A/B of Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station)

Dates & time: 2nd & 3rd April 2016 (this weekend!), noon to 8pm

“Familiar Strangers, a student-run movement from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, will be organising the Familiar Strangers: Stories of Migrant Workers Re-presented exhibition…, …serves as a culmination of efforts to empower migrant workers and engage Singaporeans to reflect on migrant issues, integration and social spaces.”

““What made me interested in working on this project was the fresh perspective on self-advocacy, which gives full editorial control to migrant workers,” says Shahrin Izhar, another member of the group.”

“The exhibition will also feature photographs taken by migrant workers during the Photography as a Voice workshop. “Photographs have been a common and enjoyable way to share stories about experiences, friends and family. We also wanted to present an alternative perspective of Singapore through the eyes of migrant workers here,” says Kenji Kwok, a photojournalist and member of the team.”

Read the full write-up on Singapore Art Gallery Guide here.

I take this opportunity to introduce a non-profit organisation in Singapore dedicated to improving conditions for low-wage migrant workers: TWC2. Also, check out this site on Migrant Worker Poetry Competition, impressive!

John Miksic’s lecture: Maritime Silk Road – A Singapore Point of View

Always been a big fan of Dr Miksic’s lectures, although once in a while I can’t catch his accent. He is Professor in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. I am currently reading his book – Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800.20160301_075332

Dr Miksic will be giving a public lecture on 18th March 2016, Friday, 7-8pm, at the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM)’s Ngee Ann Auditorium. Admission is free and on a first-come-first-served basis.

“The term “silk road” has become a shorthand way of referring to the trade between China and the West in ancient times.

Most people assume that the main communication route between the two ancient centres of civilisation was by land. Archaeology and history however show that many more people and goods travelled by sea.

This talk will show how Singapore was first created as a meeting place between people from distant lands around 1300, how it rose and fell…” – lecture introduction by ACM.

So, Singapore was a major link in the maritime Silk Road of the 14th century?

Dr John Miksic. Image source: NUS Museum blog

Dr John Miksic. Image source: NUS Museum blog

Facing Changi, face-print self-portraits of Nina11 and 21 inmates from Changi Prison

I have long heard of and seen artworks collaborated between artists and prisoners, among other projects of other nature, for instance, prison inmates rehabilitating rescued dogs so that these canines are adoptable.

This morning, I stumbled upon the news of another of such art collaboration, of which the outcome of its labour will be exhibited this weekend, for only two days. Then again, it is not just another of such art collaboration, it caught my attention while I was running through the list of ongoing and upcoming exhibitions.

Exhibition title: Facing Changi

Date & time: 19th & 20th February 2016, 5-9pm

Venue: INSTINC SOHO, 12 Eu Tong Sen Street, #04-163, soho2@central, Singapore 059819
For entry to the gallery, please dial unit number using the intercom at the entrance of the building.

Image from SAGG's newsletter

Image from SAGG’s newsletter

Free admission.

Opening reception: 18th February 2016, 7-9pm

Here is a bit about how the face-print self-portraits are created, what I find most unique is that, the self-portraits are not entirely “self-made”, because one would need a partner/buddy to paint his or her face and to do the same in return:

“…making a self-portrait in which participants directly apply oil paint to each other’s face and then press their painted faces into canvases leaving a precise colourful bilateral face-print…”

The artist, “Nina11’s process of transferring the three dimensional facial features of a sitter onto a flat surface to create a portrait have been used in the past. The most well-known example is The Shroud of Turin.”

“Nina11’s work focuses on social themes related to human failings ranging from public terrorist acts to personal tragedies.”

“The artist believes that the FACING CHANGI portraits embody the unifying power of artistic expression while at the same time communicate the humanistic and intrinsic values that should be cherished by both socially deviant and socially acceptable individuals.”

“Nina11 lives and works between borders. She was born in the USSR, grew up in Russia, Syria, Greece, Cyprus and the UK. She holds an MFA, M.Phil. and Pd.D. in visual arts and communication… This is her second exhibition at INSTINC gallery following her show Facing Singapore four years ago.”

Read the full write-up in the Singapore Art Gallery Guide (SAGG) here.

A film screening and an exhibition that buzz about bees

There will be a screening of More Than Honey by artist and film maker Markus Imhoof on 26th February 2016, at 7.30pm, at The Single Screen, Block 43 Malan Road, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (NTU CCA).

“In Markus Imhoof‘s documentary, beekeepers, scientists, and others discuss the world’s declining bee population and what it may mean for modern society. Fifty years ago, Einstein had already insisted on the symbiotic relationship binding these pollen gathers to mankind: “If bees were to disappear from the globe,” he predicted, “mankind would only have four years left to live.”” – NTU CCA

You can find the synopsis of More Than Honey here.

Separately, and not so separately, Arnia, one of the exhibitions presented by this year’s M1 Singapore Fringe Festival showed empty racks of “man-assisted” bee hives in a glass casing, complete with engulfing buzzing, with an accompanying short video of real bees and hives at an Italian church in Florence, a variation of the same installation of the same title.

This exhibition has closed on 24th January 2016. Below are some photographs that I took of the exhibit on 17th January, the fifth day after the exhibition opened, and on 22nd January.

My experience on my second visit was: despite the racks being neatly arranged, nature never submit to such orderliness, nature has its way of continuing its business. Look at those moulds, the vapour, the maggots/larvae of flies/moths, the dripping honey, the queen bee looking quite dead on an altar made of a comb.

On my first visit, the entire world inside the vitrine was “quite dead”, no visible activity was detected, except the sluggishly accumulating honey droplets that were not even dripping. On my second visit, it was much livelier with moths crawling and fluttering their wings, larvae wriggling around. I saw new life.

And here are key words/phrases of my experience during my first visit: deafening at first, grown to enjoy it afterwards, tempted to sit down in a corner for eternity. Poignant. Reminder to eat organic food. Recalling the numerous articles on how bees are endangered, and in turn the availability of vegetables and fruits. Curious. I smelt mildly sourish scent of raw, pure honey by getting very very close to the edge of the vitrine housing the hive. Be engulfed.

Arnia, 17th February 2016

Arnia, 17th February 2016

Arnia, 17th February 2016

Arnia, 17th February 2016

Arnia, 22nd February 2016. See larger image immediately below

Arnia, 22nd February 2016. See larger image immediately below

Arnia, 22nd February 2016

Arnia, 22nd February 2016

Arnia, 17th February 2016

Arnia, 17th February 2016

Arnia, 22nd February 2016

Arnia, 22nd February 2016

Arnia, 17th February 2016

Arnia, 17th February 2016

Arnia, 17th February 2016

Arnia, 17th February 2016

Arnia, 22nd February 2016

Arnia, 22nd February 2016

Arnia, 22nd February 2016

Arnia, 22nd February 2016

Arnia, 22nd February 2016. "One side"

Arnia, 22nd February 2016. “One side”

Arnia, 22nd February 2016. "The other side"

Arnia, 22nd February 2016. “The other side”

Arnia, 22nd February 2016

Arnia, 22nd February 2016

Arnia, 22nd February 2016

Arnia, 22nd February 2016

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