Art Radar introduces the practices of NTU CCA’s Artists-in-Residence in Summer 2018.

Hailing from different parts of the world, the current residents of NTU CCA Singapore’s residency programme work with diverse media, exploring a variety of themes, from mass media and online culture to environmental issues, colonisation and globalisation.

NTU CCA Singapore. Image courtesy NTU CCA Singapore.

NTU CCA Singapore. Image courtesy NTU CCA Singapore.

The NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (CCA) hosts artists-in-residence every year since 2014. The institute functions as research centre, gallery and educational meeting point within the landscape of contemporary art practice in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Located within the gallery cluster Gillman Barracks, the CCA welcomes artists in residence upon nomination and invitation. The artists’ presence and work process is a key part of the Centre’s concept, fostering emerging and established artists alike with studio facilities and programme-specific interactions with the public. The current residents are Susie Wong, Zai Tang, Wu Mali, Takuji Kogo, Luca Lum and Falke Pisano. Art Radar has a look at each artist’s practice.

Block 37 Artist Studios at NTU CCA Singapore. Image courtesy NTU CCA Singapore.

Block 37 Artist Studios at NTU CCA Singapore. Image courtesy NTU CCA Singapore.

Susie Wong, 'My Beautiful Indies', 2013, installation view. Image courtesy the artist.

Susie Wong, ‘My Beautiful Indies’, 2013, installation view. Image courtesy the artist.

1. Susie Wong: mass media and online culture

Susie Wong (b. 1956, Singapore | residency period 4 June – 30 November 2018) works in mixed media, such as drawing, installations and painting – often figurative in oil. She now investigates memory and loss, after previously working on women’s issues and the discussion of themes such as presence and absence, their correlation and opposition. During her residency, she is exploring the influences of mass media and online culture on the mode of representation of memory as well as pop-cultural implications of romance and standardisation. Wong focuses here on image-based works, such as photography. Wong describes her experience as

rejuvenating, if not a little overwhelming, in finding myself on the ‘artistic’ map of curators, administrators, artists, and other wanderers to the place. To define it, my take as an artist would be that it is a support system that gives a breathing space for artists to develop and generate ideas and works.

She is inspired by the “Internet of Things – social media and websites, and light projections”.

Zai Tang, 'Spectres', 2017. Image courtesy the artist.

Zai Tang, ‘Spectres’, 2017. Image courtesy the artist.

2. Zai Tang: the human vs. the non-human

Zai Tang (b. 1984, UK | residency period 2 April – 28 September 2018) is a Singapore-based sound artist, composer and sound designer who works between analogue and digital technologies, also including animation, projection and performance. He provides auditory discussions of visible phenomena through sound, translating media as well as emotive qualities. Tang is interested in object-oriented ontology and environmental issues caused by human design. During the residency, he is exploring immersive installations, and the interaction of human and non-human listeners and agents. He also works on wildlife in Singapore, particularly focusing on the MacRitchie reservoir and the rail corridor. He tells Art Radar:

I began my residency with this question in mind: What does it mean to listen and connect to the other we call nature, in the light of the Anthropocene? […] Particular ideas which have inspired me have been Harman’s take on Husserl’s Intentional Object and Heidegger’s Tool-Being articulated in his book The Quadruple Object and Morton’s concept of the symbiotic real and attunement.

The artist has begun collaborating with animator Simon Ball and ventures into new territory, making him think about “visualising sounds as characters themselves.

Mali Wu, 'Follow the Dream Boat', 2004. Image courtesy the artist.

Mali Wu, ‘Follow the Dream Boat’, 2004. Image courtesy the artist.

3. Wu Mali: social change, colonisation and globalisation

Wu Mali (b. 1957, Taipei | residency period 2 July – 28 September 2018) works as an artist, as the Taipei Biennial co-curator and as Associate Professor at the Graduate Institute of Interdisciplinary Art at National Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan. Wu’s practice carries anthropological notions. In 2016, she embarked on the artistic project and multicultural lab ‘Cijin’s Tongue’ to ask about the former military dormitory Cijin District in Taiwan and its changing faces from fishing village to tourist hot-spot. She focuses on cooking tools to investigate about social change through colonialisation and globalisation. The residency allows her to explore her questions towards a Singapore-specific perspective.

Takuji Kogo, 'Online Ads', 2015, video projection and sound installation. Image courtesy the artist.

Takuji Kogo, ‘Online Ads’, 2015, video projection and sound installation. Image courtesy the artist.

4. Takuji Kogo: the moving research lab

Takuji Kogo (b. 1965, Japan | residency period 9 July – 28 September) is the founder of the multimedia artist collaborative *CANDY FACTORY PROJECTSand the director of the Kitakyushu Biennial. Living in various countries and working as an artist without a set base since 2011, Kogo uses the residency to establish a local office for *CANDY FACTORY PROJECTS in Singapore as a research lab, working across the borders of Singapore and its neighbouring states through physical and digital connections with project partners, and involving print and online media as well as archives, such as newspapers and posters, outputting music videos, animations and short multimedia clips.

Luca Lum, 'Ex-Libris Lib-Errata', 2016. Image courtesy the artist.

Luca Lum, ‘Ex-Libris Lib-Errata’, 2016. Image courtesy the artist.

5. Luca Lum: the discrepancies and notions of intervention

Luca Lum (b. 1991, Singapore | residency period 2 April – 28 September 2018) is an artist, the co-editor of ‘CONCRETE ISLAND Reader’ and the co-founder of the artist-run space soft/WALL/studs. She works across performance, poetry and fiction, exploring concepts of language and literature, anti-literature, vampirism, vulnerability and double-agency. Her poetry work involves questions about phenomenology and the live event performance as such in self-reflective discussion. During her residency, Lum focuses on the Singapore government digital initiative ‘Smart Nation’ and its implications for the quarters Geylang and Marina, two test-areas for the initiative. Her mixed media work in process maps the discrepancies and notions of intervention. Lum tells Art Radar:

I take some coordinates from American scholar Lauren Berlant who, focusing on affect, writes about how we develop “our” sense of “the present”, and how moments of crisis form impasses marked by genre instability; these moments are ripe for turning out otherwise unglimpsed possibilities, forms, new genres.

Lum hopes to engage further with the medium and phenomenon of sound:

The fact that it comes out of your body and escapes you and also goes back in.

Falke Pisano, 'Negotiations in Exchange', 2015, installation view. Image courtesy the artist.

Falke Pisano, ‘Negotiations in Exchange’, 2015, installation view. Image courtesy the artist.

6. Falke Pisano: the historical role of the West

Falke Pisano (b. 1978, Netherlands | residency period 2 July – 28 September 2018) focuses on processes and systems of thought, language and scientific institutionalisation, asking about objectivity and empirical research. Her practice involves long-term projects and research objectives. During the residency, Pisano addresses colonialism and biomedicine in the context of Southeast Asia and the conceptions of the human body since 20th century medicine revolutions and processes. She discusses the historical role of Western worldviews and European mind-sets in conjunction with body image, medical understanding and systematic developments, and creates works across installation, writing and performance. Talking to Art Radar, Pisano says:

I am not so much interested in media, as I am interested in the language that is developed in an artistic practice over a longer period of time, often in more than one medium.” Pisano is interested inBiopolis, in the biomedical research programs that have been set up there as a collaboration between state, university and market.

The artist sees her residency work as a gradual process:

I try to slowly develop an understanding, read books, talk to people, and tentatively start to draw the outlines of a new work or series of works. The rest happens usually after the residency, when i am working on an exhibition.

Susanne Kriemann, 'Pechblende (Chapter 1)', 2016, three boxes (200 x 200 x 80 cm), plywood, lenses, LED matrixes, uranium-mining tools, helmet, water bottle, pit lamp, fabrics. Image courtesy the artist.

Susanne Kriemann, ‘Pechblende (Chapter 1)’, 2016, three boxes (200 x 200 x 80 cm), plywood, lenses, LED matrixes, uranium-mining tools, helmet, water bottle, pit lamp, fabrics. Image courtesy the artist.

7. Susanne Kriemann: investigating chemical interactions in nature

Susanne Kriemann (b. 1972, Germany | residency period 11 July – 16 August 2018; 1 – 29 March 2019) explores the medium of photography in her capacity as an artist and Professor for Artistic Photography at University of Design, Karlsruhe, Germany. She investigates matters of chemistry and interactions of human and synthetic particles through research and practice, which includes her interest in the effects of radioactivity and plastic on nature. Kriemann is particularly eager to explore the nature across land and sea in Singapore to address the lengthy decomposition process of plastics and the relationship between artificial items with long life-span and organic life. She explains to Art Radar:

During my stay in Singapore I intend to research mangrove habitats and make those the common theme of my work. I would like to place this in a dialogue with the existence of micro-plastics in water and oceans. I ask if and how they enter the mangrove habitats, invisible to the human eye.

The artist uses her residency to continue her contemplation on media and materials, re-thinking how to talk about the photographic work process:

At the moment I would rather talk about material than medium, or at least think about material and medium together. I am thinking a lot about documentation and archiving in my work… Photography plays a an important part, but the media related discourse on photography is often conducted too narrowly.*

Sarah-Tabea Sammel


(*Kriemann’s quotes are translated from German by the author)

Related topics: Art spaces, residencies, curatorial practice, installation, events in Singapore

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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