SINGAPORE — Singapore Calendar is OH! Open House’s new seasonal programme. It allows audiences to follow artists over four months as they develop works inspired by key dates in our local calendar. The first iteration, from August to November, responds to the Hungry Ghost Festival, featuring internet artist Eugene Tan.
Audiences can look forward to receiving secret messages from artists when they subscribe to the programme. Messages can take different forms, ranging from mystery boxes to handwritten letters, depending on the participating artists’ practice. For this first edition, they will take the form of ‘virtual offerings’.
Tan’s first offering will be free for public to experience, to provide a sense of the journey they will embark on with him as he shares his art-making process. Those who subscribe will subsequently receive two other virtual offerings. They are also entitled to an exclusive private encounter with Tan at his final presentation at a secret location in November.
Yen Phang, co-curator of Singapore Calendar, explains the need for such a programme, “It’s easy for viewers to relish in the spectacle of an artwork in its final, polished form. But there’s so much that goes before that – all the mistakes, trials, experimentation. What are the ideas that are discarded? How does an artist make decisions on form and material? Are we able craft a programme that opens up the artist’s process to audiences, and in turn, also facilitates continuing dialogue between both parties?”
Phang adds, “Without seasonality, time is perpetual here in Singapore, marked instead by the annual cycles of official dates and cultural celebrations. Ghost Festival is one such example, where public space is transformed by unregulated private rituals. Our senses are heightened and bombarded by the appearance of food offerings on our streets, the smoke from incense and offerings, the sounds of getai. Now we live in the internet age, how do we die online? How do we remember others in virtual spaces? Eugene’s practice deals with mortality, memory and image-making through digital mediums. By allowing audiences access to Eugene’s creation process through a period of time, they are privy to how an artist’s mind works, how he thinks about ghost fest through the lens of the internet.”
Best known for its neighbourhood art walk that brings people into homes to see site-specific artworks, OH! is rolling out new programmes to expand the ways people can experience Singapore -- its stories & spaces -- through unique art experiences.