Survey: Lecture

A series of talks related to the arts and civil society.

Sat 3 Sep

2-4pm: Making Meanings; Constructing Place/s, Subjectivity, Power & Nihilism: The case of NICA by iFIMA

The creation of meanings around NICA would be used as the case study for the 2nd talk in the 3-talks series referencing ALPP (Art-Led Participative Processes). The first talk* discusses participation through the lens of dialogue and ingrained subjectivity that inform our perception and guide in the social interactions with non-specific others through various social stages. This 2nd talk looks into activities that led to the formation of NICA (Networking + Initiatives in the Culture & the Arts ) in Yangon — from the first act in 1996 to the establishment of the NICA space in Yangon. It also discusses the evolving approaches in terms of activities and programmes — from the start of NICA programmes in 2003 to the activities that took place after the closure of the space in 2007. It references the interactions of the participants and collaborators within performances of the everyday and its encounters. These interactions are scrutinised through the lens of ‘active and passive nihilism’ (Nietzsche) — that is present in the local values, narratives and exchanges of the actors.

* Which took place in various organisations and institutions, such as USM-Penang, Bangkok University, UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE), Brack and Post-Museum – Singapore and Glasgow Sculpture Studio.

Free; register at

7.30-9pm: The Right to the Field in the Era of Post-Ruin by Yves Chiu

We are now living in an era of post-ruin. The announcement doesn’t mean the disappearance of ruins but in fact, the transformation of ruins. More and more spaces, places and fields are becoming kind of ruin based on the way we shift in the space, which of those turned into ruins is because of the ignorances and exclusions . So here is the question, how can we recover our right to the field through certain kind of field exercise under this circumstances? Chiu will share his research and curatorial ideas for the attempt of opening up a space of discussion.

Yves Chun-ta Chiu escaped from the ivory tower of philosophy in 2008 then entered the field of contemporary art and is an active role-player. He is very much inspired by Western philosophers, art theorists and masters’ pieces, but prefer to listen to masters in his own culture. He now conducts curatorial practice, art criticism, edition and researches, and conceives of the way how to figure out the real society by pseudo-sociology, how to process the production of knowledge by pseudo-discursive, and concern how the art relates to the society and life authentically.

Free; register at

Wed 7 Sep

7.30-9pm: Community Gardening and Food Futures by Michelle Lai

How will our edible futures look like? Let’s scan the possibilities. We look at how it can play out, in relation to our communities, shared spaces and what it boils down to, on our plates. A talk on our 21st century (hunter and) gathering communities, with discussions and multi-disciplinary insights pooled in from diverse stakeholders about the morphologies of our favourite foods.

Michelle Lai Jingmin is an agro and food enthusiast, interested in issues related to the local food system. She is also interested in exploring community-driven innovation: via farmers markets, community-centred workshops, and pop up food system interventions.

Free; register at

Sat 10 Sep

3-5pm: Visualising Paradise by Faiz Bin Zohri

Speculating what Paradise looks like is one of the longest continuous discussion of an imagined landscape. Where is it located? How does this promised eternal space looks like? This long conversations about the physicality of Paradise is an attraction for me; as a way to reflect how we imagine nature and how this spiritual (sometimes voyeuristic or super-terrestrial) visualisations is define by the real world, our own culture, new scientific discoveries, or as ways to search for lost tradition. With this, let us go for a “walk” – sometimes factual and sometimes with our own imaginations – looking at various paradises through visual art.

Faiz Bin Zohri is a landscape architect driven by the interconnections of urban public spaces, landscape traditions and re-generative ecology. He has been involved in urban, landscape and public art installations of various scales in the Netherlands, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Free; register at

Wed 14 Sep

7.30-9pm: Odd Bedfellows: The Unlikely (but Necessary) Probabilities of Art, Space, and Everything Else by Ng Hui Ying


Sat 17 Sep

2-4pm: Hold my hand: Choreographing social moves and small intimacies by Ming Poon

Using his current project ‘Hold my hand’ as reference, Poon will discuss the various concepts within the field of choreography, social practice, movement and touch perception that have influenced his artistic practice. He will also bring up examples of how they inform and form the strategies that he uses to address social themes and to facilitate connection between people in his work.

Ming Poon is a choreography and movement artist. Since 1993, he has been working in both Europe and Singapore. His movement practice is based on the principles of body relation and touch perception. He also holds a BA degree in Sociology and Psychology. In his works, he devises strategies that integrate his movement practice with elements from social experiment and interaction design, to bring about human interaction and connection. The aim is to open up meaningful ways of relating between people. His works touches on themes of intimacy and vulnerability, performance of care, body’s agentive and empathic potential, and performative social realities.

Free; register at

Wed 21 Sep

7.30-9pm:  Citizen Youth: The Thin Line between Activism and Citizenship by Danielle Hong

Using literature review, media analysis, and interviews, this talk analyzes the socioeconomic backgrounds that shape urban youth participation in arts, socio-cultural movements and civic engagement beyond electoral politics, and in doing so – to understand the pathways to active participation in citizenship and activism – as well as how state histories and neoliberal conditions have created specific opportunities and limits for youth activist practices.

Danielle Hong is a researcher with the National Volunteering and Philanthropy Centre. She was previously a research associate with the Institute and Southeast Asian Studies and the Institute of Policy Studies working on local socio-cultural issues such as migration, integration and multiculturalism. She received her MA in Law and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies (2014), for which her thesis examined the reparation rights of Bangladeshi migrant workers in Singapore.

Free; register at

Sat 24 Sep

2-3.30pm: The Pragmatics of Nostalgia: Alternative Narratives in Contemporary Art Production of Singapore by Jarrod Sim

Within different outlets, one is able to find an assortment of narratives that allude to different ways of self-identification; this includes contemporary visual art and government-run campaigns both promoting contrasting agendas. A primary component to these practices is the use of nostalgia to create a sense of rootedness and belonging to the country. Taking art and state-led campaigns as subjects of inquiry, Sim will argue for nostalgia existing not merely as a reminiscing of “simpler days”, but as a tool with the potential to alter cultural sentimentalities and influence nation-making.

Jarrod Sim is a researcher, artist and curator currently based in Singapore. He has an MA in Fine Art from the Chelsea College of Art and Design and a MA in Material and Visual Culture from the department of Anthropology at the University College London. His academic research centres around the theme of nostalgia and the development of identity and history-making vis-à-vis the visual and material cultures of Maritime Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on Singapore. Due to the rapid development of Singapore, Sim’s research will look at how nostalgia can be instrumental to the acclimatising of sentiments towards the increasing loss of heritage sites and the dearth of regional narratives that had disappeared in a relatively short spade of time.

Free; register at

3.30-5pm: Remaining Haunted by Shawn Chua

Remaining Haunted channels the trilogy recently staged by Drama Box “It Won’t Be To Long” to dwell in the haunted spaces of land-scarce Singapore, asking which spaces are allowed to survive, how spaces are repressed and what remains as a place is disinterred.

Shawn Chua’s performance research engages with the uncanny lives of objects, from puppetry to archives, and from thinking machines to queer personhoods. He was awarded the NAC Art Scholarship (postgraduate) and holds an MA in Performance Studies from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Chua is currently a researcher and archivist at The Necessary Stage.

Free; register at

Wed 28 Sep

7.30-9pm: The Chronicles of Che Siti 99 by ila, Wardah Mohamad and Zarina Muhammad

In this lecture-performance ila, Wardah Mohamad and Zarina Muhammad revisit regional mythologies, ethnographies and historiographies in an attempt to peer into and form an inventory of its blind spots. The blind spots of subject positions, the blind spots of texts, of authorship, of history, of the gazes that make up history. The blind spots of exoticisation, fetishisation, romaticising, eroticising the other, the past, the unknown. The blind spots of cultural translations and archetypal representations of duality, gender, the chthonic, the animist, the abject, the body in pain and when shamed, desired, feared, revered and cursed.

ila is extensively researching on lost languages and missing histories on the lion island of singapore that creates an identity crisis (or the lack of it). her interest stems from her inability to express herself fluently due to the result of the whitewashing of cultures, societal censorship and the governance system based on fear-mongering and how she is consciously filling up the voids she experiences. her works are personal explorations based on mistranslations, miscommunications and the discovery of her own awkward self-expression. her focus is on invisible communities and weaving narratives to explore and question all that has been lost.

ila is a visual performance artist in practice and works primarily with overhead projectors and analogue elements to create organic narratives within performative structures. For the past six years, she has been collaborating and incorporating sound and movement extensively into her work. She breaks spatial boundaries through explorations with shadows and light; consciously creating imagined environments with the visual language that she is constantly constructing from these collaborations.

Wardah Mohamad graduated from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Illustration, 2011 and is currently pursuing her degree in Malay Language and Literature. Since then, she has worked with SoutheastAsian contemporary art galleries and collaborated with artists in their research on the subject of pre-colonial to post-independence Malay Archipelago. Presently, she is researching on the history of Singapore Malay Theatre for the National Library Board, Singapore, and intends to further investigate the construction and deconstruction of cultural identities in Southeast Asia. In between, she is at home listening to John Mayer or rapping to Kanye West.

Zarina Muhammad is an independent researcher, curator and educator. She lectures on art history and cultural/contextual studies at Lasalle College of the Arts. In 2012 and 2013, she was the guest curator for The Substation Visual Arts Open Call exhibition.  Her other curatorial work and projects include collaborations with human rights group MARUAH, Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES), Sayoni and EtiquetteSG. She is also one of the editors of Body Boundaries, an anthology of women’s writing published by The Literary Centre, Singapore. Currently, Zarina is working on a multidisciplinary research project on Magic, Myth, Ritual, Witchcraft, Folk Religion, Mysticism and Animism. She has presented her work in Indonesia, Cambodia, Japan and Hong Kong. She recently collaborated with and devised a lecture performance with several spoken word poets and visual artists that was presented at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Singapore. At present, one of her key projects is to expand and develop a series of performances that aim to deconstruct and respond to the contested histories, texts and definitions pertaining to the intersections between witchcraft, magic, myth, medicine and religion.

Free; register at