“R.I.T.E.S.” – Rooted In The Ephemeral Speak #01-2011

12 01 2011

Date: 15th January 2011
Time: 8 pm till late
Venue: The Substation, Theatre
Address: 45 Armenian Street, Singapore 179936

The presenting artists:

1. Melati Suryodamo [Germany/Indonesia]
2. Kai Lam [SG]
3. Lee Wen [SG]
4. Seelan Palay [SG]

**Due to complications with Seelan Palay’s proposed performance, we have to apologize that our program will go on as planned without him. We continue to look into possibilities of presenting Seelan Palay in future.

Melati Suryodarmo

1. Melati Suryodarmo
Melati Suryodarmo’s performances have been dealing with the relationship between a human body, a culture in which it belongs to and a constellation where it lives. Through the presence, she compiles, extracts, conceptualized and translates some phenomenonor subjects into movement, actions, and gestures that are specified to her performance. Melati Suryodarmo´s performances concern with cultural, social and political aspects, in which she articulates through her psychological and physical body. Her performances feature elements of physical presence and visual art to talk about identity, energy, politics and relationships between the body and the environments surrounding it. Since the last four years, Suryodarmo has been presenting her works in Indonesia and other South East Asian countries. For the Padepokan Lemah Putih Solo Indonesia, she has been organizing an annual Performance Art Laboratory Project and “undisclosed territory” performance art event in Solo Indonesia.

Proposed Performance:
Feathers falls from the moon
“Feathers fall from the moon” is a poetical action inspired by the memory of silence moments when the body stays static and the mind was receiving information from surroundings. This kind of moment as a very deciding moment to me, as I often forgot or ignored them. I refer to the culture which I was culturally conditioned to keep silence has challenged me to question what would a nation be if the younger generation were told keep be silence.
Duration: 20 minutes


Kai Lam

2. Kai Lam
Kai Lam (born in Singapore, 1974) produces sound works that comes from a visual art background.His sound projects are intricately linked to his visual installations and art performances. The artist’s exploration with sounds are often produced from everyday objects, field recordings, circuit-bent radio and intercom machines that are mixed live and layered using loopers and effect gadgets. His recent sound concerts with ‘broken’ radios are described as a ‘cognizant whimsical audio experience’. Website: http://www.fishwalk.yolasite.com/

Proposed performance:

Score for Urban Living No.1.
Duration: 30 minutes
Technical requirements: Sound.
This work is based on the artist’s long standing experiment with the medium of sound, becoming an entire discipline that is an extension of his visual art background. In this performance, the artist explores rewired sound-producing consumer products, which are sampled ‘live’ as an audio experience to metaphor the artist’s state-of-living in the present millennia era.

This present creation process of this series of circuit-bended machines signify the environmentalist position of the artist, and brings about an awareness to the recycling culture in an urban setting. The message here is to end consumerist tendencies in creating wastage from the already depleted natural resources and stop industrial pollution in this world. As more societies’ economies become more consumer-driven, hegemonic materialism has become an intricate part of urban life. This contradiction is then re-moulded into ‘images’ of sophisticated ‘global’ trends of living by a colluded networks of international mass-media aimed at consumer markets. Despite the prolonged ebbing of nature through centuries of mass human consumption, it gives rise to the artist to re-connect with the natural environments, and be aware of the benefits of daily energy-saving and nature conservation of the world.

The artist explores sounds through his interest in circuit bending with found electronic sound-making daily objects (consumer products) like alarm clocks and intercom units. The uncovered machines are taken apart, tested and re-soldered to transform low electrical current into sound signals from the circuit board, with a variety of volume pots and multi-switches, one can control and play the emitting sounds from these sound machines. The sounds are then layered over with radio broadcasts (radio wave frequencies), digital signal emissions and at times the artist’s voice, and selected musical instruments to produce an eclectic textured ‘live’ sounds and spontaneous rhythmic exercises.


Lee Wen

3. Lee Wen
Lee Wen has been exploring different strategies of time-based and performance art since 1989. His work has been strongly motivated by social investigations as well as inner psychological directions using art to interrogate stereotypical perceptions of culture and society. He is a contributing factor in The Artists Village alternative in Singapore and had been participating in Black Market international performance collective. He is coorganizer of “Future of Imagination” (2003), an international performance art event and “R.I.T.E.S.- Rooted In The Ephemeral Speak” (2009), a platform to support and develop performance art practices, discourse, infrastructure and audiences in Singapore.

Proposed performance:

“Anyhow Blues Project”
Does folk songs belong in performance art?
“Anyhow Blues Project” is a follow-up to my earlier “Too Late The Hippie” started in 2007 after seeing the tourism board promotional slogan claiming we are ‘Uniquely Hip Singapore’. At the same time the changing cultural climate of accepting what once were seen as deviant practices into mainstream culture, such as conceptual art and performance art requires a review of artists claims to resistance, alternative criticality and radicalism. Stereotypical misconstrued ideas of individuality, freedom and community based on these recent shifts hampers our continued quest for towards true humanity unless we are willing to confront them with openness.
During the 1960s there was a new consciousness of rejecting formerly accepted social norms that had become rigid and restrictive. At the same time there was a call to return to a wider embrace of traditional cultures beyond the usual established status quo. Experimentation with non mainstream cultural norms such as fusion of western and eastern ideas and cultures gave a new impetus, a renaissance of unexpected dimensions exemplified especially in the flourishing of new popular music as well as ‘hip’ as a attitude of rebelling into style.

In Singapore there had been both a strong rejection as well as acceptance. The complications brought about by the anti-war movement mostly spearheaded by protest songs and music was seen as a possible threat to mainstream social fabric by an attractive ensuing subculture amongst the youth. Hence the implementation of stringent laws such as death penalty for drug traffickers, anti-long hair campaigns, banning of pop songs with psychedelic contents and immigration controls of banning any ‘hippie’ looking tourists coming in at the airport or causeway. Yet commercial enterprises took advantage of its popular fashion trends, selling its ‘hip’ as in colorful and fun image. The “Anyhow Blues Project” continues to manifest these various contradictions, using a renewed interest in popular folk music genre as a (re-) starting point. By singing some self composed songs as well as old classics as a starting vehicle, the “Anyhow Blues Project” confronts various issues related to contemporary the hypocrisy of ‘serious culture’ and other ‘dead art’.


Seelan Palay

4. Seelan Palay
Since 2005, Seelan Palay has been working in the mediums of painting, drawing, collage and video to realize and relate his position as an artist and activist in Singapore. As a active member of both communities, he places an equal scale of importance to his engagement in the two intertwined processes. Though living in a highly globalized world, he believes in first addressing, exploring and portraying his immediate and local experiences.

Proposed Performance:
Choices, Chances
Our lives are often determined by the choices and chances that we encounter. These may be made and given to us rather than decided by ourselves. They may be fortunate ones but at times leading to misfortune or worse if we are not careful. My work will involve making some actions of daily life experiences to explore the dilemma of the various possibilities of Chances and Choices that we encounter and the decisions e make that determine our fate in this human condition.



One response

11 10 2018
Coda Culture: A Space for Freedom | Arts Equator

[…] 2011 there was a group performance art show – R.I.T.E.S. (Rooted In The Ephemeral Speak) – at the Substation. The organisers were told that they wouldn’t get the licence if my name was […]

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