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Or again at something after it has given me up. It makes me restless and that makes me unhappy, but I cannot keep them still. If only i had grey, green, black, brown, yellow eyes; I would stay at home and do something.
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It's not that I'm curious. On the contrary, I am bored but it's my duty to be attentive, I am needed by things as the sky must be above the earth. And lately, so great has their anxiety become, I can spare myself little sleep. Now there is only one man I like to kiss when he is unshaven.
'Daan Roosegaarde's Presence as techno-poetic meditation upon human impact on Earth | CLOT Magazine
How best discourage her? Serapion, I wrap myself in the robes of your whiteness which is like midnight in Dostoevsky. How I am to become a legend, my dear? I've tried love, but that hides you in the bosom of another and I am always springing forth from it like the lotus—the ecstasy of always bursting forth! I will my will, though I may become famous for a mysterious vacancy in that department, that greenhouse. It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so. I admire you, beloved, for the trap you've set.
It's like a final chapter no one reads because the plot is over. I've got to get out of here. I choose a piece of shawl and my dirtiest suntans. I'll be back, I'll re-emerge, defeated, from the valley; you don't want me to go where you go, so I go where you don't want me to.
It's only afternoon, there's a lot ahead. There won't be any mail downstairs. Turning, I spit in the lock and the knob turns. Used by permission of Grove Press. All rights reserved.
Materials for Teachers Materials for Teachers Home. Poems for Kids. Poems for Teens. It just so happens that during the ban period I travelled a lot for my performance work, so I became the foreign talent in other countries. My performance was always messing [things up], very messy, messing up the audience, and then in the end many things had to be dealt with or cleaned up by the local people or the organiser. So in a way, I was trying to parody what was happening in Singapore, overseas. There was a sort of organised chaos in the way I approached it and the way I did it, but also through the many kinds [versions] I have done, it has become a sort of set way of doing things.
Towards the end of , I decided I had had enough of this piece of work and in the end, ironically, I did my last piece when I was in Singapore for the first time, after the many times I had done it overseas. What happened during your transitional period? How did that affect the following period of your performance practice? After the Foreign Talents period was finished, there were things that I was doing, but I was also researching and refining the ideas. It was also when I was quite close to a few people who were making performances, and we were always getting together and discussing ideas.
I decided to do a bit more collaborative work with these people. On the one hand, it was a trial of how to work with other people. On the other hand, I was trying to resolve a few other things that I had been thinking about as solo works. So in that transitional period, there were quite a few collaborative performances with other artists. And among those collaborative works, is there a specific one that is particularly important to mention? There were a few different collaborations and different ideas.
There is one that I did with Vincent Leong. One of these was when we were invited to do a performance for the opening of a gallery in a teaching institute at the National Education Institute, which is a place where they teach teachers. We arrived as if we were the guests of honour, like ministers, and we were standing at the back of a truck. The driver of the truck was, ironically, Joseph Ng, who had made the performance and therefore created the ten years ban on performance art. So there is this irony that Joseph Ng is driving these two ministers into an institution where teachers are being trained.
As we came off the truck, we were waving to people, smiling, shaking hands, and also throwing confetti on ourselves. That was quite memorable for me, because there is this irony of who drove us there and the parody we played on the political party. This provocation intends to open long closed windows and forgotten doors hidden at the back of our head. The immediacy and direct approach of the performance medium allows audience and artist to communicate, respond, exchange in all positive and negative ways.
Daniela [the curator] calls your last period of performance, which is the current one, the meditative phase. How can you explain that? Why is it meditative, with respect to the previous periods? Could you explain a bit about your Duet and Last Drop Series and the ideas behind them? Just before this period [the meditative phase], there was a stretch of time where I was working on a series of work called Last Drop.
After Foreign Talents, there was this transitional period, and then I went into this Last Drop series of performances. In the Last Drop performance, I have used various materials like glasses, water, candles, and almost similar [to] the Foreign Talents. After a while, I wanted to stop making this Last Drop performance.
Into the Wilderness
Meaning… I had used, for example, candles before in the Last Drop , so in these meditative performances, which I now title under Duet , I will just make longer, durational performances with just one material. So in this Duet series of works, I use candles as one kind of material. In different spaces and on different occasions I will select the material that is appropriate for that particular space. And through doing that kind of durational works, I try to create a certain kind of image that, when audiences look at this particular image, they can form a certain kind of meaning for themselves.
But those [problems] for me are not exactly a kind of failure per se , but [rather] it [failure] gives an opportunity for a sort of variation for the performance to happen. So sometimes, when there is a problem that happens or an accident that happens, to me that is a real trigger for a real performance to happen, because I will be able to respond to it, and improvise in that kind of situation.
Would you say that the use of materials and what the materials signify in your performances has changed over time?
It seems like it is more important now that it used to be in your earlier performance work. So for example, maybe you have seen some pictures of those candles that I use to put on my fingers.
In some of the performances there are lots of candles on each of the fingers, and they almost look like a kind of candelabra. For some people, it looks almost like a kind of meditation that you do when you are looking into a flame, as a one kind of a performance. And also by me moving in a dark space with these candles, it illuminates something in that space.
When I do the performance with the candle, I tend to choose a period of time of the day when there is a transitional period from daytime to night time. Previously, I only used birthday cake candles, and it has a certain kind of meaning if I use that kind of birthday cake candle. But these days I am using candles that are more for Buddhist rituals, they are those small yellow candles, which I feel have a kind of symbol, a reduced symbolism to it.
Because there is also this aesthetic I am looking towards, or working towards, which is a bit more of a minimalistic kind of aesthetic. Usually the thread pieces are done outdoors, so the colour of the thread provides a kind of contrast to the space I am working in. Plus the performance is about unspooling that ball of thread and usually this ball of thread I have, I realised that it takes me about two hours to unspool everything. Some of the stories she elicited — such as one regarding the exact moment of her conception — are deeply personal and were hard to obtain.
Smarsh seamlessly interweaves those tales with her own experiences and the political happenings of the day to tell a story that feels complete, honest and often poetic. Heartland is shaped by the idea of separation. They are fundamentally isolated by class: their wallets skinny, their beards caked in sawdust, their eyes blacked from another row with an angry, drunk husband. The book offers important insight into class.