'Singapore Electric Soul' offers a different gaze at a 50 year-old Singapore
Still from Ho Tau Nyen's 'Utama Every Nation in History'
At first glimpse, I was not sure what to call this project. To call it a screening of Singapore films seems reductive and ignorant of the dialogue that goes on beyond the constraints of a screening. While scoped within the parameters of an exhibition, the spirit of the project extends beyond these parameters, and many of the ideas presented are worthy of boundless, lengthy conversations. It is also possibly a French love affair with Singapore and Singapore art. Aptly titled Singapour mon amour, this is an event that featured Singapore art in various disciplines including film, in Paris from 4 June to 12 July this year.
Works from 40 artists and intellectuals were brought together by a brilliant French-Singaporean team consisting of editor Mickaël Robert-Gonçalves, producers Patricia Cartier-Millon and Jeremy Chua and graphic designer Winnie Wu. In collaboration with musée du quai Branly, Centre Georges Pompidou, Église Saint-Merry, La Cinémathèque française and Point Éphémère, these works were given air time in Paris, opening up the eyes of the French to Singaporean works.
Part of Singapour mon amour is its film programme called Singapore Electric Soul. As Singapore turns 50 years old this year, this showcase looks beneath the sheen of economic success and order and tries to find the latent voices hidden underneath sweeping rhetoric about Singapore and its identity.
As a co-curator for this program, Nicole Brenez, a film scholar and professor of cinema studies at the Sorbonne University in Paris, describes the group of films presented:
'The usual representations of Singapore as a natural paradise or as a conquering city-state, a lookout for economic and architectural modernity, are yet challenged by more complex, elegant and sometimes unexpected propositions expressed by a generation of visual artists both critical and constructive.'
Here are some photo highlights of Singapore Mon Amour in Paris earlier in June.
The online publication of this homonymous interdisciplinary art project was launched at The Select Centre Bookroom at The Arts House last Saturday 21 Nov. It houses a more complete introduction to the project as well as statements by the curators. It retraces the artistic and intellectual achievements collected during the visual arts, cinema, performance and research events in Paris and features portraits, interviews, visual, sonorous and textual contributions by some of Singapore's and France's most striking artists and cultural practitioners.
Click here to get to the online publication.
SINdie caught up with Silke Schmickl, Curator of Singapour mon amour and Head of Lowave, to pry beneath the thought layers of this project.
Still from Rajendra Gour's 'Labour of Love'
Still from Ming Wong's 'Hong Kong Diary'
Still from Liao Jiekai's 'Before the Wedlock House'
Still from Rajendra Gour's Sunshine Singapore'
Jeremy: What in your opinion are some of the most interesting films among your selection? Why?
Still from Rajendra Gour's 'Eyes'
Still from Tan Pin Pin '9th August'
Jeremy: Name me your favourite Singapore film of all time.
Here are some photo highlights of the online publication launch on 21 November:
Interview by Jeremy Sing