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Top 5 Most Engaging Performance Art in Singapore

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Amanda Soo

on 31 January 2015

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Transcript of Top 5 Most Engaging Performance Art in Singapore

Top 5 Most
Performance Art in Singapore

Documentation of "Brother Cane"
Response to "Brother Cane"
3 Levels of Engagement
Be a Performance Art

Have a theme/concept that involves the viewers/general public in Singapore. (Etc. culture)

Post Reception: Made Impact, raising interest in the media or performed overseas.
Artworks must:
Amanda Heng
Performance Art created in 1999
Let's Walk
Period of Performance Art
Amanda Heng
Let's Walk
Challenged the boundaries of performance art in an attempt to break away from restriction

Outdoor Environment
, as part of Artwork. Stage becomes part of fundamental everyday reality

Continually evolving space: opportunities for
public engagement

Performers: Not only Artist but
also Volunteers

Destroyed boundary
between artist and viewer trough humble space setting :forcing viewers to participate
the Audience
Sense of first hand involvement from society
Artist interacts with the audience throughout the work
Amanda Heng
Let's Walk
Issue involves Singaporeans

Statement made concerning the
progress of women
in contemporary society.
(Part of it’s response was towards the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis)

: social stigma not addressed openly therefore sheds light on this by
raising awareness

Walking backwards, holding a mirror and stuffing a high heel in her mouth ridicules the female body into branding it as a spectacle, for the public to behold and scoff at.

Symbolism of eating heels, looking at mirror. Making the Average woman who has kept their job but altered their looks look ridiculous.
1997 Financial Crisis
“Feminism is still an issue that many people in this country don’t want to deal with. In fact many women and particularly women artists, do not want to be associated with feminism because it is perceived to be political.

My performance piece “Let’s walk” made comments on some of the issues when I
performed with a high-heeled shoe in my mouth. These beliefs are deep rooted in the patriarchal culture and there are still many psychological barriers to be dealt with in day-to-day experience.”
Amanda Heng
Let's Walk
Impact: Raising Awareness Abroad
Being in the Top 5 List, the work concerns Singapore’s standing as an Art’s Hub and the handling of social taboos.

Archiving cane raises questions about our collective local identity not as just being an arts hub but also as a nation.

This act of archiving is more than just a process of re enactment but one that is reflective

Extends beyond the original performance, tapping on broader questions about how we shape and define our collective memories as Singaporeans.

Queer Reception
Provocative Art
Performance has an alluring aspect, where visitors to the exhibition are partly performers,
invited to provide their own account
of brother cane.

This not only alleviates any unspoken prejudices either by the media, news reporters or Loo, but also
encourages critical questioning
of long accepted conventions of description and cultural preservation in Singapore.

The participation of the public heightens the involvement aspect and
participation of the public into its own local issues
which encourages critical thinking and judgement across the board.
the Audience
Redressing Issue
Drawing Attention of
Media and Higher Authority
Cry of deep concern
for the changes in the arts funding that the
National Arts Council
were bringing.

In tandem with the NAC withdrawing and banning performance art since the controversial 1994 “Brother cane” performance by Josef Ng.

NAC’s policy on not funding was like imposing a ban,
disregarding the presence of performance art in the Singapore arts scene.

An integral part of art is cut away, With the public changing its perception to disapproval that many did not dare to dispute with. Artists that continued to push their way were deemed trouble makers, rebels and being blacklisted.

This therefore
raises an awareness of an underlying issue.

Arts Funding
in Singapore
Loo Zi Han
Archiving Cane
Art performance which sparked off a nationwide debate,

Resulted in 10 year ban imposed on Performance Art.

Part of an exhibition that happened on Friday, 31 December 1993 at the 5th Passage Gallery.

Archiving Cane documented Loo Zi Han's live reenactment of brother cane, an eye witness account from a court affidavit, a video documentation of original performance (Joseph Ng), print media reports on “Brother Cane”.

Re-enactment of "
Brother Cane
Brother cane’s reviews were often biased and the agenda of the writers were shady and doubtful. The archive was not a passive resource to be used for other purposes.

There is a sense of
control and power
when the performance is revisited and archived.

Through this, the happenings of the past are in control and some
narratives become more important and prominent.
Loo, plays the role of a
storyteller of an important aspect of history and politics in Singapore Arts Scene.

Loo Zi Han
Archiving Cane
Loo Zi Han
Archiving Cane
Loo Zi Han
Archiving Cane
Loo Zi Han
Archiving Cane
Tang Da Wu
Don't Give Money to the Arts
The act of involving the president was risky, and brazen. He paid no attention to the consequences.

Reverberated mystical wisdom,
brought to mind poignant questions that resounded even today

When Artists are asking for more financial support, Tang asked him not to give money because he felt that they were funding the wrong kind of art.

The Artist engaged the president, and when looking at this aspect, has
involved a high official, an integral member of society
into the art performance.

This then takes the performance to a higher level as there is
involvement with the president, a pivotal agent of change.
the Audience
Media would have focused on this performance during the event.
Performance happened at opening ceremony of Singapore Art ‘95, Preceding event before Singapore Biennale,

Tang Da Wu was introduced to Guest of Honour, the President of Singapore, Mr. Ong Teng Cheong. by sculptor and founder of Laselle, Brother Joseph Mc Nally and Major watercolourist, Ong Kim Seng.

Tang handed the President, a card, hand written with the words: “Dear Mr.President, I am an artist, I am important, Yours Sincerely, Tang Da Wu”.

Then asking for permission to put on his black jacket, Tang slipped it on and revealed the words for the President and all to see: “Don’t Give Money To The Arts”, which was embroidered in gold.

Tang Da Wu
Don't Give Money to the Arts
Tang Da Wu
Don't Give Money to the Arts
Tang Da Wu
Don't Give Money to the Arts
“I believe strongly that it is time for us to take pride in our local art history. Re-enactment is something only an artistically mature community can accept, and I believe the Singaporean performance art community is ready for this form.”
Performed in other countries
, Indonesia, Japan or Sweden, it is internationally acclaimed,

Raising awareness not only locally.

The performance maximizes
all opportunities of engagement by
, addressing a minority issue, involving the public and raising awareness abroad.

Being the only female artist in Singapore who has addressed feminism, she breaks new ground and does not hold back despite its general social stigma of concerning politics.

Ming Poon
(un)it: HD85828
To give HIV-positive people in Singapore a 'face' and 'voice'
Lee Wen
Anyhow Blues Project
in Singapore

Performance art
was once looked at as the lowest value of art form that
threatened the pillars of conventions and tradition

The need to continually get paper qualifications, go to university, take on a profession is a conventional social norm instilled in Singapore. This produces a population that helps enhance capitalism, commercialism, and consumerism.

Mechanically churning
out scholars to build up Singapore as a nation.

• Therefore this project is a
cry for originality
, an expression of desperate struggle for the individuals voice to
assert a place in the commercially driven & essential engineered culture of contemporary society.
Lee Wen
Anyhow Blues Project
the Audience
Serving Blue Tea to audience as Blue Tea strikes artist as a
visual rhyming with the blues he sings.

Serving Blue Tea segment is 1 out of 3 major parts in the Performance

Blue Tea is Detoxifying, symbolic to the
cleansing our inner self before physical appearance

Forces Viewers to be partly performers of the art performance throughout the process.

Forcing them to have the Blue Tea is like being
forced to be stuck in a ritual of sameness and unity
. Much like losing individuality, which is the issue concerning Singaporeans

Raising Awareness
; Performed Overseas
The use of ‘Singlish’ is typical in Singaporean culture. In the title, the word “Anyhow” was being used to
give an identity to Singapore.

issue that affected mainly Singaporeans
but is also
relative to other parts of the world.

Performance was also presented in:
9th International Performance Art, Turbine, Giswil 2010, Switzerland
Survey from Singapore, FADO, Toronto Free Gallery, Toronto, Canada
Performance Platform Lublin 2010, Poland
“This Is Performance Art”, Aberdeen and Glasgow, Scotland

Lee Wen
Anyhow Blues Project
Lee Wen
Anyhow Blues Project
in Singapore
• Addressing HIV positive patients, their experiences, problems faced, risks, invisibility, and how they are
being excluded
from the rest of the society.

• Goal of the performance is to try to
understand HIV positive Singaporeans’
condition of being a
hidden community

• Hopes to
give them a voice & face
focusing that there are human beings behind all the anonymous identities.

• HD85828 (found in the title), is the faintest star in the sky visible to the naked eye, emphasizing the fact that because “something is invisible
does not necessarily means it is not there
Ming Poon
(un)it: HD85828
the Audience

Audience members are confronted & engaged
the moment they walk into the theater by Ming Poon

Final outcome
of performance is ever-changing,
based on the reactions & interactions with the viewers

Ming Poon's
movements and steps are influenced by the public

• This lets
Singaporeans have the freedom to be in control
of how they want the art performance to be.

of Addressing Issue
• As an artist he
conducted an interview to achieve first-hand interaction
with HIV positive patients in Singapore in order to understand their predicament at an intimate level.

• He also included conversations with HIV negative people like gays, straight, bisexual, transgender, religious or non-religious, he calls this activity,
“First Contact”.

• In tandem with his performance he is also taking an initiative as an artist to do a
on the subject.

• The interview conducted gives conservative HIV positive patients in Singapore a
vocal platform to raise their fears and problems

• Spreading awareness through media
Ming Poon
(un)it: HD85828
Ming Poon
(un)it: HD85828
1. Santiago, KS. ‘Art review: Amanda Heng, artist’. GMA News Online. 28 Feb. 2012. Accessed 1 Oct.2013.
<http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/249685/lifestyle/reviews/art-review-amanda-heng-artist >

2. Phang, Yen. ‘Of Memory and Power: “Archiving Care” by Loo Zi Han, at the substation’. Artitute. 2012. Accessed 29 Sept. 2013

3. Ee, Elaine. ‘ Singapore Fringe Festival courts controversy ‘. CNN Travel. 16 Jan. 2012. Accessed 1 Oct. 2013

4. Ng, YS. ‘ Ming Poon to give HIV-positive people in Singapore a ‘Face’ and ‘Voice ’. Fridae. 2 Dec. 2011. Accessed 10 Oct. 2013

5. Lee Wen & Kai Lam. ‘Future Imagination 6’. Catalogue. Sculpture Square, Singapore. 7 Apr. 2010 – 11 Apr. 2010. Singapore: Chun Kai Qun. 2010.

6. ‘The Josef Ng affair’. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Last revised 30 Oct. 2012. Accessed 2 Oct. 2013
<http://sgwiki.com/wiki/The_Josef_Ng_affair >

7. Lee Wen. Wordpress. Accessed 1 Oct. 2013
<http://leewen.republicofdaydreams.com/index.html >

8. De Rozario, Tiana. Personal Interview. Singapore. 10 Dec. 2012
<http://www.timeoutsingapore.com/performance/feature/interview-loo-zihan >

9. SAM. ‘[INTERVIEW] Singapore Art Museum – Amanda Heng: Speak To Me, Walk With Me’. YouTube. Created 16 Nov. 2011. Accessed 3 Oct. 2013
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Performance Art has an Issue concerning Singaporeans

Performance Art physically involves Locals

Performance Art has consequences that impacts the future of Singapore

Art Funding in Singapore
Full transcript