1-30 September 2016
Curated by Post-Museum
Presented at The Substation
For the month of September in 2016, Post-Museum presents Survey: Space, Sharing, Haunting, a series of programmes examining and reflecting upon the state of arts and culture in Singapore.
Post-Museum will re-configure the space in The Substation for Survey. 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 will reconfigure the spaces within the building for Survey. There will be some permanent fixtures in Survey, like So It May Seed (an urban farm growing food crops), Post-Provision (a shop selling merchandise), and Club House (multi-purpose social space).
Survey will consist of a range of activities, including Activity Station, Club, Exhibition, Event, Lecture, Performance, and Residency.
For details, see project website – http://www.post-museum.org/survey/.
In the month of September, Post-Museum will ‘take over’ The Substation through occupying its building premises and its programming. Our ‘take over’ creates the opportunity to invite cultural producers and audiences to examine and reflect upon the state of the arts and culture in Singapore.
The Substation emerged out of the desire to create a space in Singapore life for the arts. This space was not merely a physical one but a vision to insert the arts in its rightful place within the psyche of our value systems, lifestyle, and consciousness (Sasitharan, 1990). The Substation played a crucial role in developing the arts as it provided the much-needed platform for artists to showcase and develop their work. It was a site which amplified the collective voice of the arts community and was pivotal to shaping the cultural perspectives and direction for the arts.
The theme of one of The Substation’s Walk-In Sessions, Substation hasn’t Changed. Everything has1 , hints at a particular crisis where the very ideals on which it was founded are being interrogated and even subjugated/lost in the ‘Renaissancing’ 2 of Singapore’s cultural landscape. The ‘take over’ asks these questions: What are the values of the arts community in the 1990s? Are they still relevant in today’s context? What are our values today?
The Substation building is a cultural entity with a soul and a body. She was dreamt into reality and live a rather full life. She has seen countless exhibitions, participated in conferences, jived to the Oddfellows, slammed with Stomping Ground, shook hands with a minister and had such illustrious friends. She has been the muse, the home of the arts, and also the witness of the shifting landscape around her. We conduct this one-month programme through/in her presence.
‘Survey’ has two opposite meanings which are complementary in this proposal: coming in closer to view in detail and examine something in order to appraise it, and stepping back to take a general or comprehensive view of an area of study. The proposed programme will be a collective survey which will take these two positions while evaluating the state of arts and culture in Singapore. This will be undertaken through a variety of methods (talks, workshops, exhibitions, performances, etc.) by a range of cultural producers and audiences (students, artists, academics, etc.).
In addition, we have identified three main areas of inquiry, namely Space, Sharing and Hauntings, which are themes which keep coming up.
SURVEY will take place in September in different parts of The Substation. We imagine the dialogue moving along different paths, creating entrances, reconfiguring old spaces, activating forgotten routes, and opening up wormholes. We believe this programme will liven up The Substation body and serve to reinvigorate the arts and culture in Singapore.
Sasitharan, T. (1990, 24 February ). A powerhouse of dreams. The Straits Times
1 See Members of the arts community. (2016). Terms of Engagement: a community resource project about The Substation. [PDF File]. Retrieved from https://www.scribd.com/doc/307149301/ToE-Substation-Session-1-Complete
2 Referring to Singapore’s Renaissance which identifies as a period of rapid cultural development and liberalisation introduced through new cultural and social policies by the Singapore government. The Renaissance City Project master plan most clearly articulates the government’s commitment to this change and how it is motivated by Singapore’s move towards a Knowledge-based economy.