Substation Residency: Welcoming Alecia Neo & Post-Museum
(From left) Woon Tien Wei, Alecia Neo, Jennifer Teo

(From left) Woon Tien Wei, Alecia Neo, Jennifer Teo

We're starting our next round of residencies at The Substation for 2016! We're very happy to welcome our new Residents: Alecia Neo and Post-Museum.

Like Zihan before them, Alecia and Post-Museum will be working out of our residency studios on the third floor. Their residencies will run from 11 July to 10 September, and they will spend these next two months carrying out their research and meeting their collaborators at The Sub.

Alecia Neo

Alecia Neo

For the duration of her residency from July – September 2016, Alecia will reflect on the aesthetic process of her recent projects Unseen: Constellations and Unseen: Shift Lab, and incubate a new framework for future projects. She will also draw upon past civil engagement practices of artists and organisations such as The Substation and Kuo Pao Kun, and use the space to communicate with invited artists, educators and experts from diverse fields who will contribute to her research on alternative education and socially-engaged art practices.

Post-Museum (Jennifer Teo and Woon Tien Wei)

Post-Museum (Jennifer Teo and Woon Tien Wei)

Post-Museum will be using this opportunity to reflect on The Substation as the muse, the home of the arts, and also the witness of the shifting landscape around her. They will also be working on their own archive, and developing new work with their platforms Atelier Rakyat and University of Life.

We'll be sharing more info about each Resident's projects and research in the weeks to come, so keep a lookout on this space!



A Chat with Resident, Loo Zihan

Since the beginning of his Artist-in-Residence (AIR) programme in April, Zihan has been calling the third level of The Substation his personal work space and home.

As our first Resident here at the sub, we managed to have him shed some insight on his experience here thus far.

What prior expectations about living in The Sub did you have and how have they changed as you've settled in?
The team prepared me well beforehand that renovations will happen over time, and I would be the first resident - which means that I would be the laboratory rat of sorts. The space is surprisingly comfortable and the team has been very helpful in easing me into the space. In the couple of weeks living here, I was able to learn more about various spaces in the building and its surrounding neighbourhood.

How has this residency programme differed from previous research spaces and has it opened up new possibilities for your artistic practice?
There is a vested and palpable interest in the space among all in the team. Personally, I have engaged with the space in various capacities in the past, so I would not call residing in The Substation as being in a ‘new’ space, but it has definitely reconfigured my relationship with the building and institution - experiencing it from a different perspective.

The palimpsest of various times and spaces - which leads to the triggering of memories is particularly interesting. I am living in the third floor office space, and I can still recall the configuration of the layout, and traces of imprints in the space that reminds me of its recent past. Since my practice is about archive, memory and time, it has been a reflexive experience.

What is the best part about living here?
The extremely central location is the best part of living at The Substation. Being within the civic and arts district means cutting down on travel time and cost. The ability to head to a late evening rehearsal at the Esplanade and walk home after, or being able to go for a morning jog at Fort Canning Park and run back to The Substation is a definite perk of being a resident at The Substation. Another privilege of living at The Substation is observing all the various communities that come through the space on a weekly basis. I have tried to use the residency space in particular as a shared space, a ‘living’ room of sorts where conversations and meetings can be held on various topics relevant to artistic practice.

Any pet peeves?
The music at Timbre - but somehow, especially on nights when I am here alone, the music keeps me company late into the night. I can probably regurgitate a rough set list for each evening. They often start with Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk and conclude with a sing-a-long of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

You've said (here) that ‘Harrison’ is a metaphor to never let the past weigh us down but to always reach for new heights, how would you define your relationship as an AIR with the Substation as it undergoes these new explorations and changes?

I agreed to be the AIR for Substation very early on before the heated discussion surrounding Alan’s proposed changes to the Substation programming was triggered. I personally thought what Alan’s vision for the Substation required was time - only time can really tell if the new programming direction is going to be effective.

Now that the inaugural exhibition under the new leadership has concluded, even though it is too early for the verdict to be out, I have observed how the team is attempting to break new ground in terms of marrying social causes, academics and artists. This model is not perfect, but it will take time for this untested model of presenting aesthetic knowledge to mature. I hope the public will be able to give The Substation team not only time, but also their support in this transition, because progress is inevitable for this institution to remain relevant, and change is the only constant.

Artist Residency: Introducing Loo Zihan

We're excited to introduce Loo Zihan as our first Resident who will be staying at The Substation for the coming weeks.

The third floor of The Substation has been converted into rustic studio/living spaces, and Residents will be carrying out their research and work in these spaces. 

For the duration of his residency from April to June 2016, Zihan will reflect on performances in the 1990s that took place at the Substation. He will use the residency to revive a reading group on performance, documentation and re-enactments that he started while pursuing his Associate Artist Research Programme at The Substation in 2013.

Zihan is also loaning 'Harrison' to The Substation for the duration of his residency.

In line with the thematic focus of the year - an investigation into the history of The Substation - I am loaning the Banyan tree sapling that I adopted, named ‘Harrison’, to The Substation for the duration of my residency.

‘Harrison’ will be approximately one year and seven months old at the beginning of my residency in April 2016. He was adopted as part of fundraising campaign for the renovation of The Substation Gallery in August 2014. I wrote an article on him as part of my contribution to the 25th anniversary publication by The Substation edited by Audrey Wong. Here is a quote from my article, completed in July 2015.

The question at this point in time is whether these sinewy threads that connect us to The Substation are binding attachments to the ground, preventing the tree from reaching greater heights. As The Substation as an institution ages, we should try to ensure that the weight of history does not become a burden that prevents it from growing into a limber entity permitted to perform radical gestures.