Monday, 5 March 2012

Jan-Feb 2012: Responses / Field Recordings / Explorations



I wrote a response to Open House: Occupy Tiong Bahru, on the issue of heritage tours and authenticity: Documentations - Occupy Tiong Bahru


I've uploaded a few old recordings from last year. I resolve to archive more of them as I have a few dozen unlabelled recordings now and pinpointing what they were is pretty difficult now as I have bootlegged many gigs as well but I cannot recall what they were. I am afraid that it is nigh impossible to retrospectively label improvisational jams!


NUS Museum: Sherd Gallery


I revisited the Sherd Gallery at the NUS Museum. I was previously unaware that it had been named the Sherd Gallery (unfortunately due to a less than obvious placement of its wall text), but I learnt that the large trench on the floor represented the archaeologist's trench, and the items were all found in Fort Canning and were arranged by chronological order. The rest of the items in the glass cabinets were less easy to identify as they did not all have labels. On the side there was also a cabinet full of what I presume to be even more sherds, stored away in reused food containers. Familiar, old disposable food containers from years ago - I hadn't seen the Meadow Lea container for some time now but it was the very kind of container my mother had frequently reused in her own kitchen. We had tubs like these, reused to store food. I can't help but think about the pottery in their original uses as food containers, but now, reduced to sherds and the sherds themselves being stored in what previously used to be food containers for us. Imagine us moving on from this point on and what might happen to this container full of broken bits of containers. Would at any time our interest and value of these containers be forgotten, so that we might lose them only to find them back and store these containers (containing bits of other containers) in other containers? In the level above, there is also the very well conceived "Camping and Tramping" exhibition - an excellent exhibition about the role of the Museum in colonial malaya. I might go so far as to say that it has been one of the best shows I have ever seen - it looks unassuming and wordy at first glance but the material is astonishingly brilliant in the context of how we think of museums here, and this business of analysing, labeling, and discussing artifacts and cultures. Inspiring stuff.

Taman Jurong: Diamond Block


A friend brought us to see a peculiar looking block in Taman Jurong. Shaped like a diamond, its an old HDB block of 2+1 room flats which is now run as a private estate, and mostly rented out to what appears to be foreigners. I went there at night, where it exuded a strange kind of atmosphere, as if it were some sort of walled city, looking inwards on itself. We stopped and had a drink with "Charlie Brown" and some other very friendly denizens of the block.

Little India: Hole in the Wall


I found a hole in the wall of a building around my neighbourhood. They were either removing the door, or putting a door in. I can't really be sure. People do the strangest modifications around here. There were also workmen raising the pavements by more than half a metre outside my house but halfway through the job they suddenly abandoned it, rendering the pavements along Jalan Besar completely unusable. They have not returned to complete the construction work since for over a month now.

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