Coded Conversations - An AGIP Show

LASALLE College of the Arts and The Substation presents Modest Operandi: Conversations in Transit by Hyrol Sami'on and 三 缺 一 Three Without One by Morine Liang. This joint­-exhibition is a culmination of the Arts Graduate Incubation Programme (AGIP), with the objective of giving fresh grads a boost in the first year of their artistic endeavour. 

Hyrol Sami'on and Morine Liang are two young graduates from the LASALLE BA(Hons) Fine Arts programme. They were selected and provided funding, studio space and mentorship from professional artists from 2015­-2016. Their mentors are artists, Loo Zihan and Ong Kian Peng.

Modest Operandi: Conversations in Transit by Hyrol Sami’on presents a series of secret recordings made by the artist while taking the MRT or bus. These conversations are presented as voyeuristic gestures through his artwork installation that is inspired by Instagram.

Morine Liang’s 三 缺 一 Three Without One takes as its starting point a collection of newspaper clippings by local tabloid newspaper, 新明日报Shin Min Daily News. These selected clippings, with articles ranging from beauty ads to stories of human affect, are the father’s messages to his daughter. In turn, the daughter responds to both content and medium as an artist.

The Substation Gallery and Random Room
Opening Night: 20 May, 7PM
Exhibition: 20 May – 2 June 2016
Open daily from 12PM – 8PM, except Public Holidays.

A Workshop and Artist Talk will also be held at the following dates and venues:

Modest Operandi: The Process by Hyrol Sami'on
22 May 2016, Sun
Session 1: 12 - 2 pm, Session 2: 3 - 5 pm
Meeting point: LASALLE College of the Arts, Campus Green.

Artist Talk with Hyrol Sami’on, Morine Liang, Loo Zihan and Ong Kian Peng
29 May 2016, Sun
3 - 5 pm, The Substation Gallery

Artistic Director's Note: Each Blade of Grass Each Shrub Each Tree

Photo by David Tan

At The Substation, we hope to take on the big, difficult questions that affect us, as a nation, a people, and as individuals.

Right now, one of those burning questions is the Cross Island Tunnelling tests at MacRitchie Reservoir. We all want to 'save' MacRitchie Reservoir. But maybe it shouldn't just be about MacRitchie. Or else we'll always be lurching from here to where, always fighting for the next place or cause. Yesterday it's Bukit Brown, today MacRitchie, and tomorrow who knows where? Maybe it's worthwhile to expand and deepen that conversation about our relationship with Nature. 

We — the artists, academics, and conservationists — have had barely 2 months to put this together. It's a show put up in haste, but I think that sometimes timing is everything. These cultural producers have already developed their obsessive bodies of work around different interpretations and relations with Nature. Isn't it worth our while to consider what they have been saying for a long time?

So if you care about MacRitchie Reservoir, maybe there's a larger cultural condition that troubles you. You can't quite articulate it. Well we don't intend to make it any easier. The aesthetic encounter is multifarious and difficult.

Join us for the inaugural public programme under our new artistic directions at The Substation.

yours truly. a.

easter eggAdmin
Each Blade of Grass Each Shrub Each Tree 5-15 May 2016, Substation Gallery

Forum: Panel discussion
The Substation Gallery
7 May, Saturday, 2-4pm
PRIVATE: By invitation only

The Substation Gallery
5 - 15 May
12pm - 8pm daily
(closed for private performance & forum on 7 May, 1-4pm)


"After independence, I searched for some dramatic way to distinguish ourselves from other Third World countries. I settled for a clean and green Singapore…”

— Lee Kuan Yew, From Third World to First

In 1963, a Mempat tree was planted by the nation’s Prime Minister. Planting has never been about trees; it’s a moment transformed into a photograph. Singapore has always shaped itself in, and after the image. Garden City is the clean and green image—think about those majestic trees that line our expressways as you emerge from Changi Airport.

The Substation presents a programme of exhibition, performance and forum, through artists who resist constructed visions of nature as a singular, unchanging entity. They complicate our understanding of Nature and the Garden: from the edenic to the horrifying, from the sublime to fictions of representation. Nature, through their eyes, becomes speculative, autonomous but also charged with human trace.

Find out more about The Substation's new artistic directions in responding to MacRitchie Reservoir Cross Island Line discussions here.


The Substation Gallery, 45 Armenian Street
Exhibition: 5 - 15 May 2016 (Open daily from 12PM to 8PM)
Closed for a private performance and forum on 7 May from 1PM to 4PM. 

Chu Hao Pei, David Tan, Deborah Emmanuel, Geraldine Kang, Robert Zhao, Sharda Harrison, Susie Wong, Timothy Barnard, and Tony O’Dempsey

Artistic Director's Note: Change


Dear artists, friends, and supporters of The Substation,

Since I joined The Substation as Artistic Director in October 2015, there has been significant change. It’s created some confusion and anxiety about The Substation that many of us have come to know and love.

After 25 years, we’re proud to say we are a national institution, a definitive part of Singapore’s history. In all those years, our city and culture has changed drastically. Many other artists, groups and institutions have emerged, often times with very specific focus. That’s a good thing for Singapore. But it also means we have to revisit and apply Kuo Pao Kun’s vision to a vastly different landscape.

We've had a number of Open Sessions culminating in the Town Hall of Mar 31. All of this is to say, yes there have been, and there will be many more changes. But you know what? We don’t have all the answers, and many of these answers will emerge not in a flash, but over a long period of time in consultation with you. 

In response to the discussion, Terms of Engagement was created by an independent group of cultural workers. The initiative is a documentation of these sessions, collating the various positions and thoughts of the arts community. To read the transcript, please refer to here: ToE Substation Session 1 – Download PDF

If there are queries regarding the transcript, please email to

AdminThe Substation