khooartist, designer, educator
(Re)Claim Singapore – Round 2
Chanhampe Galleries, Singapore
Can today’s digital media and technology really provide an alternative to the fast disappearing physical manifestations of our origins and history?
During the debates on the loss of Singapore’s Bidadari and Bukit Brown cemeteries, KTM railway, the Capitol Building, the Cathay – among many other local non-gazetted monuments – the solution of digitising images of these locations as an online repository was brought up as a way of preserving Singapore’s history.
Some spoke against this approach. Supporters were viewed as real estate opportunists who would gladly welcome the wrecking ball of potential profit and relentless progress.
In the media, Singaporeans lament our lack of culture, while letting it lie crippled in the shallow, comfortable waters of carefully manufactured fiction and commercially-driven agendas.
If the Raffles Hotel was not gazetted as a national monument in 1987, what would have become of it, and more importantly, can digital media work as a manifestation and memory for future generations to look back on?
A set of 3 window frames, of exact shape and design matching the Gallery’s windows but decreasing in size each time, are suspended within the narrow confines of the exhibition area.
Each frame shows increasing levels of age, wear and tear, leading the viewers to the middle, where 2 tiny screens flash images of present-day Raffles Hotel incessantly.
Whenever someone posts a Twitter tweet with the #raffles hashtag, the screen pauses and displays the tweet, completely ignorant of the tweet’s context and relation to this site.