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July 15, 2022–January 31, 2023
The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is excited to reveal the new, site-specific piece that Singaporean artist Ming Wong has been commissioned to create. The piece, dubbed Wayang Spaceship, will be on exhibit starting on July 15, 2022, at SAM’s freshly opened post-industrial space in Tanjong Pagar Distripark. The project heralds the beginning of The Everyday Museum, SAM’s premier public art initiative, which will introduce creative interventions into commonplace settings and turn them into meaningful interactions for and with communities.
Dedicated to supporting artistic practice in public spaces, The Everyday Museum is a platform for creative experimentation, whereby its diverse programming seeks to create physical and virtual nodes for engagement and interaction. Eugene Tan, Director of SAM observes, “Wayang Spaceship, and its associated programme, The Everyday Museum embody SAM’s commitment to supporting artistic development and creating cultural spaces for and with communities. We will work with artists to reimagine lived experiences and engage publics where they reside through site-specific works, which offer new perspectives on the conditions of our time.”
Wayang Spaceship, a film that sprang out of Ming Wong’s investigation into the international distribution of Cantonese opera films, aims to investigate the interactions between the island’s cultural forms influenced by migration and modern technology. Marine timbers from Southeast Asia are employed in the main framework, along with solar-reflective materials that are frequently used in agriculture. Its construction is a joint effort between architect Randy Chan, a proponent of sustainable building methods, and master stage builder Lee Beng Seng. Wong also collaborated with the artist Liam Morgan to design the set, which consisted of lightboxes with layers of dichroic film.
The Wayang Spaceship, which appears to be inactive during the day, mimics the surroundings and motion of the container ports. It comes to life at dusk with a variety of light, sound, and moving pictures that resemble a futuristic Chinese opera from another world.
Wong’s entry point into the world of imagination is cinema. In several of his pieces, he plays with the idea of the actor to show how categories like gender, race, nationality, language, and physical type are all forms of performance. Given that he was raised in Singapore with Cantonese opera, Wong has continued to be particularly interested in it. He has been examining the modernization of the genre, its cinematic changes, and its improbable connection to the growth of science fiction since 2012.
There will be a variety of performances and access programs on Wayang Spaceship. A separate website for the project will also include the artist’s essays, archives, and curatorial texts. Sun Venture has generously donated their support to this commission.
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