The Future of The Substation
Braindump / readings / clipboard pastings
If the Substation were to be a text, then perhaps it may seem completely unintelligible to some, unless read in the context of the development of the arts in Singapore. Am I spending too much time picking out seemingly insignificant details into a big box file? I seem to be collecting more and more words to put into the exhibition - the fact is that there aren't as many pictures as we would like, there are just stories, just rumours, just words...
How does one construct the history of exhibitions – forgotten, unwritten, disparate, often lacking in documentation? In what ways might it be a new kind of history, displacing the traditional focus on objects and related critical histories, yet irreducible to the term ‘museum studies’? In what ways have exhibitions, more than simple displays and configurations of objects, helped change ideas about art, intersecting at particular junctions with technical innovations, discursive shifts and larger kinds of philosophical investigations, thus forming part of these larger histories? What does it mean to ask such questions in the era of fast-moving celebrity curators, biennials and fairs, digital ways and means, which have taken shape over the last twenty years?
When the Museum Jorn invited us to work with the SICV archive last year, what confronted us was ideas and images stored in a complex relational and paper-based structure: manuscripts, indexes, maps, negatives, contacts sheets, photographic prints, folders, binders, boxes, books. We tried to understand how the archive works, to map its relations, conjunctions and affordances, and we spoke about what a prospective digitization of this material might open up. The exhibit we ended up creating in the museum dramatized the moment of conversion from analogue to digital by installing a scanner station where the scanned image underwent a very specific form of annotation: a contour detector drawing the contours of the image with colored strokes.
Funny that is exactly the same thing i want to do: a dramatisation of sorts, cos its so boring and so much is lost how do we make it interesting?