Week 11

15 Nov 2015

As dark clouds loom over my head, I arrived at House #1 again. Light drizzle falls as though heaven mourns. The air kept quiet and still. Not a single soul in sight. I jerked at the slightest movement. A wilted leaf traced its path to Earth. I regained composure, remaining hopeful. I came here with a purpose, to begin my art installation work. 

I envisioned an art installation titled 'gift and take'. It is to illustrate the idea of a simultaneous process of giving and receiving in the real world. To show a response and receive feedback entails engagement with the environment and its people. Thus, to engage defines living and living as an art form is an approach to emphasize the awareness of meaning rather than just aesthetic admiration. Mdm Chew is extremely kind to lend me her space (shop) to install all the painted coconut husks. This art installation will double up as a work during the exhibition closing day next month. All participants are invited back to Ubin to view the installation and collect their works.

I plan to do this with the help of visitors. Since I started last week, a few parents have approached me to ask if they could deposit their children with me while they reminisce singlehood. My immediate thought is (a) I look very trustworthy (b) The quality of my voice exudes charisma (c) They are at their wits' ends. The first time I heard of such request, I bursted out laughing and said that I wasn't running a student care center. Subsequently, I take those requests as compliments and insisted that I couldn't be accountable for their children. This week, we have a Mr Pim who jokingly claimed that he needed to nurse his hangover while stealing a nap nearby and depositing four children...

Participants are: Shanice Tok, 10/ Nierce Tok, 10/ Candice Tok, 5/ Jevica Wai, 11/ Alden Wai, 8/ Kaden Wai, 5/ Jayden Ho, 8/ Jaydriel Ho, 6 and Melody Yap, 6. 
Participants are: Seth, 7/ Xantos, 7/ Conan, 6/ Gabrielle Annikka, 8/ Carlo Biscocho/ Judeline Abel/ Bridget/ Jesslyn/ Megan/ Tok Qiu Lei/ Tok Yu Kai/ Teo Kian Hong/ Cheryl and Huishan
I have noticed that the visitors at House #1 are more inclined to spend more time here. They have either used a lot of effort/ time hiking/ cycling to get here or spend a sum of money hiring transport service. Thus, to make their trip more worthwhile, being involved in an unplanned art activity could be a bonus. I'm comparing this space to a shelter near the jetty. Although the one near the jetty is more convenient for me, one should not lose focus in the purpose of the task. The purpose is not to churn out the highest number of painted shells while compromising other factors. By providing the optimal conditions for art making, I have to consider a number of factors such as the availability of water for cleaning, contingency plan if it rain and preventing obstruction to other visitors. The hardest part of this coordination is to relinquish control. To begin with the end in mind, I needed to sum up my work in a few sentences to the visitors. You can easily read their non-verbal language if they are keen and that determines if you should explain further. Most of the time, people like to observe first what the others are doing before deciding if this activity appeals to them. Thus, it will be easier to get more people to paint if there are people painting. When they expressed an interest in painting, they needed to know what are expected of them (e.g. about an hour is needed) and the final outcome (i.e. they can't bring the artwork home yet as their work will be exhibited next month in Ubin). Don't go missing after you have fulfilled your objective(s). Do offer follow up through email and remain contactable. I've also passed the visitors this blog address.  By stating all these important information, it allows participants to see with their minds' eyes. 

The reason I've imposed a minimal time limit is because I wanted the visitors to have adequate time to complete their work and take pride in them. The mundane process of cleaning are taken care of and a lot of time and labour were spent preparing the shells for painting and post painting so I would like visitors to have a sense of ownership in their work. My deepest appreciation to all participants! Thank you!


  1. Can't wait for your next update! ! :)) Great work you are doing in ubin btw :3