Monday, February 20, 2017

Myths and Bodies in Angkor

No rest for the wicked I hear myself chime : ) With a sprained knee from performing at the MAP festival (Melaka Art & performance festival) my head was still reeling from the finale performance Eulogy of Living, a week after my dear grandmother of 100 years was laid to rest.

I came to the workshop with an idea of working with disable bodies and Apsara dancers. There was also a big goal of taking pictures of another person’s body as I felt my photography was becoming insular ever since I turned the camera onto myself.

The workshop only start the day after I arrived but there was a get together with all the participants and instructors. We got to know each other through a slideshow of our works. Sohrab got us rounded up and prepared us for the next day. We were to write about what photography meant to us.

DAY 1
of the workshop, Sohrab Hura and a psychologist greeted us and we spent about a full day doing a think through. We had a one on one session with the psychologist and the question that struck me was

“ What is it that you are hiding from yourself?”
“Err if I am hiding it how would I know?”


DAY 2 & 3
Ready to take photos of Apsara dancers. The first 2 days was spent taking pictures of Apsara dancers in training.  As I watch and photographed the contortions and tension in the little movements that 
gave way to the sensual poses of the dance, a though struck. 
How much of what we believe in our minds affects our physical self. 

The belief that the Apsara dancers who are celestial nymphs mask the reality that they were consorts for the king of Siem. Though in awe of the concentration to achieve the grace and elegance of the dance, I felt to use the bodies of the dancers for my project didn't sit right.


DAY 4 & 5
Melt down. I got no idea and in full panic and confusion (later on I found out that everyone in the workshop goes through this breakdown) Now I know why the psychologist is there.  Everything started to click really quickly after that.

Walking about with a sprained knee, the past week  I needed a bandage to hold it up. I bought tons of bandages from a pharmacist who also appreciate Apsara dance movements and requested to stay over night at the Foot Print Café, Siem Reap. He gave me a discount on the bandages :D

Che Faustino a photographer from the Phillippines helped bandaged my torso for 2 nights and in exchange I took pictures of her body for her project.  Sometimes I find it really hard to put words to what I want to say and only movement seem to release this expression. Being in Antoine and Sohrab’s group, required all of us to go through uncomfortable moments.

Transcendence is about going beyond the limits that we have on ourselves. In sports, the finishing line is at times clear but in our daily lifes, reaching our goals and dreams can often seem neverending. Going beyond who I think I am, the idea of who I ‘know’ myself to be limits myself much like the question of 

“What is it that you are hiding from yourself?”


                       

DAY 6 & 7
With the help of Sohrab and Antoine, editing comes pretty quickly. The long edit was 114 and the slideshow presentation came down to 19 images.

I confess to being particular about sounds and motion. In the end I choose to combine 3 parts of music together for the slideshow
Philip Glass - 01 – Koyaanisqatsi
Philip Glass - 02 – Organic
Steve Reich - Proverb

There was portfolio reviews and editors who gave talks and pointers on how to send in work for publishing. It was really helpful to know how to approach editors. One of the outcomes of the Angkor Photo Workshop is a feature of the work Metaphors at framezero media.  Check it out.


 In some funny ways I did meet my objectives only the outcome was unexpected. I ended up feeling disable walking with a limp, I had someone working on my body and I took pictures of my classmate’s body in a mutual exchange of overcoming our own mental barriers and fears. Throughout this entire experience I had to come out of my shell and learnt to ask for help. After the workshop there were portfolio reviews and editors who gave pointers on how to approach editors to publish our work.
  


Monday, March 28, 2016


As I upload this entry, it dawned on me how this dream I had in 2012 is related to the piece to be performed on April 16th and 17th at Tasik Taman Bunga Raya, Shah Alam.

I'll be performing in a piece, Teater Atas Pokok as myself along side Bhumin Dhanaketpisarn. The story is set in Kampung Bandar Dalam, which is where we stayed as part of the Masterclass for TransActions in the Field

In a strange flux of reality and imagination, past and potential future, Kuala Lumpur, city of confluence, a melding of oncoming tides.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Post government civilian action



Post government civilian action
For the craigslist noobs, its kinda like a social network exchange.
Think gift economy, exchange economy ....
 


2008 Sitting in the waiting room in New York, I met a war veteran.
He proceeded to tell me the proudest moment in his life.
Marching in Germany, he passed a ditch and 2 frightened faces looked up at him.
He stopped marching and brought the children to camp and took care of them
He was stripped of his ranks and medals.
She says "Here he goes again"

Remembering the chance encounter, I've often wondered about the stories of the soldiers of my generation. Have counter strike rendered us mechanical or is that a projection of the "days gone by"?
Mayhap the beauty of the past is a record left behind that is tangible and sensuous.

A memory in response to reading this article 

Sir Nicholas Winton - BBC Programme "That's Life" aired in 1988

Sunday, November 08, 2015



In 2005, I found out about food not bombs, activism and arts and activism. I have never quite fit in the activist circle nor the purely aesthetic role of the art/artist
2 years back, I thought that if the arts is about money and aesthetics, then the arts isn't for me. Lostgen has always had programmes that stimulate thought and discussion beyond the idea that art is for the collectors. The beauty of lost gen is that the artist are free to create as they please.
Last year I met Susanne Bosch whose works reminds me to question the role of the art and the artist. I just found out that I will be attending this masterclass TransActions in the field - challenging the role of citizen participation through participatory public art. Looks like I will be consolidating my past activity sooner than I thought.

Friday, October 23, 2015

On books and remembrance

I remember devouring books in high school when everything tire me.
I remember staring at my dog wondering if she is speaking to me, but I wasn't listening after reading a fantasy book.
I remember loving trees reading a story of a tree that grew up with a boy and gave all her fruits and life.
I remember the mundane disappearing as I turn the pages of my book.
I remember staring at other people's books and asking what are you reading hence making a new friend. 
I remember because she was talking about Sandman I met Neil Gaiman.
I remember the library being my sanctuary.
I remember my dad insisting I read some Pulitzer Prize books and not understanding what was going on. Later dad confessed the same haha
I remember being obsess with mythology and the British council library was my favorite place to go. The long hike up the hill made me me sweat in the sticky humidity,but as my little legs push my body forward,the dins of the rushing world slowed to the sound of my panting breathe and winds brushing the rain trees lining the road.
I remember the smell of the books long unopen and the pages crackling under my fingers.
My wander lust all started from stories and as I try to grow up and read serious stuff, slowly I lose my sense of wandering and imaginings which leaves possibilities hanging on closed doors.
Books made me dream reality and my 5 years hiatus from fiction was much needed to make my reality dream.
So after a month long trip to Europe and Enroute from Singapore, my suitcase is filled with books. This time photobooks. Still through these books, I step into someone else's world but the book and the story is only complete when I look through the pictures and insert my own decodifying processes.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Bats and black gold

Last night I reached home.
The garden across the street at my parent's place.
I love the smell of the earth that warmly embraces.
I swear it smells sweet.
I've been looking out for bats in the garden.
Staring at the peony looking plant which is wilting
(damn whomever who poured poison on it....or creature killing it)
the stunted mango tree next to the frangipani
and the hibiscus plant that my neighbour threw away
something swooped between the trees and I think its a bat.
Bat (fu 蝠)
The bat is a symbol of happiness and joy. The Chinese for bat (fu 蝠) sounds identical to the word for good fortune(fu 福) making bats a popular Chinese rebuses. - reference from The British Musuem . org
I learnt in permaculture bats droppings are also call Black Gold. Bat droppings are rich in phosphates and nitrates which are used in fertilizer. Also bats eat all the pesky insects that chew on my crops.
This is my kind of economy, an ecosystem which doesn't require me to buy.
Welcoming a host of bats in the garden and guano for the plants and doubles as pest control. (So far I've
I wonder if my cotton plant weren't hosting some cotton ball bats...
maybe i should have checked in the banana leaves.

Thoughtful sleep

Sleep finally comes,
The idea, the thought,
is so demanding
the image, the sound
shouts to be recorded
Writing doesn't alleviate,
.........................
until all said and done
Rest is assured
who needs a coach
or a personal motivator
When you have an idea
in the head
roaring
...
zzz

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Under Yohji Yamamoto


偶像 - "That's why I'm always heading in my own direction,in parallel to fashion. Because if you're not waking up what is asleep, you might as well stay on the beaten path"
Yohji Yamamoto.



In a struggle to stay a float, I wrote this on my wall,in a room I slept in at my parent's place.
After 6 years, I breathe easy sleeping in this room, but it is not where I live at ease.