Quite possibly the biggest waves that I’ve seen in Desaru. I am chided for feeling underwhelmed last weekend… Waves pounding above me. I dive forward. We get tougher with each challenge we meet. I am displaced, but for a moment, … Continue reading
11 June 2018
Last day of ‘class’. We were asked to write a feminist manifesto but there is something about a manifesto that just doesn’t sit well with many of us. I remember asking the young people I work with, in February 2017, about what they thought about the Manifesto for the Arts (2013) and whether this still resonated with them. Although there were many broad points of agreement, several youths felt that the Manifesto could be framed in a way that sounded less absolute. One said:
Young artists need spaces to create, experiment, fail, succeed. I’d make the manifesto not so clichéd. Art isn’t a bed of roses and it isn’t going to solve world issues. But it can connect, let people have an experience like no other…Art in Singapore is already very rigid…Instead of framing [The Manifesto] into rules…unframing it…would make it more open and free. (VN 2017)
I agree. So this is a non-manifesto for practice research that Cathy Sloan and I put together:
We commit to:
Challenging what counts
as ‘We the People’ and Who.
Recognising the messiness of bodies
Sticky with Affect
(not just logical rhetoric).
(so this is not a manifesto but the beginning of conversations).
[Borrowing from Judith Butler]
For ‘it is true that there are no demands that you can submit to arbitration here…If hope is an impossible demand then we demand the impossible’ (Butler 2011).
I will miss the Monday Research sessions at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (Central). To all the PhD candidates who’ve generously taken the time to listen to my research anxieties, share their research insights with me and throw thorny and challenging counterarguments my way: thank you for these conversations and for being a crucial part of my learning at Central. You have taught me so much about what it means to create a supportive learning environment, one where I’m constantly challenged to be the best version of myself and exceed the limits of self-doubt to do what I thought was impossible.
What is it about an idea that withstands the noise of time? Julian Barnes posits that it is ‘only that music which is inside ourselves – the music of our being – which…over the decades, if it is strong and … Continue reading
08 March 2018
Disavow paternalistic expectations
Writing ourselves through place
Rewriting narratives of place as women
Unraveling constructs of self
Until we understand these differences
as ways of living together.
8 paper cranes
Torn away from the gender expectations of glossy magazines.
8 wishes for hope and healing
Left on the tube, at tube stations and around Parsons Green*, London.
Craggy rocks submerged in the shipwrecked water
‘The people we were aren’t always the people we become’ (VanDerWerff 2017)
That may be disappointing,
but it also means we’re not bound by our past.
Living on with that knowledge is both powerful
The hermit crab rolls another grey ball of sand out from its hole
onto the shore. And I know that when I return, next year,
it will still be there,
That which was built yesterday will be washed away
I must learn to begin, again.
I don’t know where it will lead, but
not knowing is a part of attending to
A small bird skips across the muddy sand as
jazz lullabies play from the radio of a car.
a moving-thinking along.
Listening to the silence and how it speaks.
Being there, when words are
a stuttering through
an imperfect language that only fumbles towards the possibilities
I’m trying to hold on to.
Sometimes one word shuts out all alternatives.
Thoughts, questions, reflections
after TaPRA PG Symposium 2017 at University of Leeds
‘Silence stalks me’, she says.
How much alignment does a politician need between campaign promises
and what is actually delivered to leave a heroic legacy?
The performance of authenticity is not reliability.
Charisma is not indicative of wisdom
or the selfless ability to serve.
What qualifies as an excess of performance in politics?
What performances do we expect of politicians?
Let us unfetter language as we tune down the affect of sound
Silence apportions space.
Someone once said, ‘Silence is possible in an anechoic chamber,
but not with John Cage in it’.
The noise of our bodies, together, in space.
‘Does silence break word or do these words break silence?
You can choose silence but it never chooses you’
Can we dialogue through silence when words,
destroy all other potential words held in silence?
What is the ghost that lingers
in iconic theatres?
Can the national ever be separated from the historical?
Is the unfinished business Shakespeare’s,
Polykleitos the Younger who built the ancient theatre of Epidaurus,
or the people’s?
A longing for some place they lost…
‘One day, in the future, the chicken will become the most studied fossil’
How can we create art politically when
politics threatens to turn art into propaganda?
What invocations do we make with the pilgrimage to monumental places?
How does the anywhereness of convergent media
exacerbate our addiction to extract only that which is relevant to our lives?
To reduce what we experience to make meaning of it?
Can we stop wanting to win?
How does responsive design attend to meritocracy’s losers?
Must we be cruel to be invulnerable?
In other words,
can we play without being vulnerable?
‘The blog became a rear-view mirror’,
she reads for the author who is absent,
‘a space where the road behind me constantly foregrounded the road ahead
and the past was always present in the future’ (Pinchbeck 2016).
Can it be a meeting place where only one writes?
Is there place for conversations in a blog?
The journey we make is part of the ghosting
of place and places to be.
If you wait for something to be there for you,
it won’t be.
You have to make it up.
One of the ideas that I greatly value from Edward Soja is the concept of Thirdspace.
Soja uses ‘Thirdspace’ to describe ‘a constantly shifting and changing milieu of ideas, events, appearances, and meanings’ that provides new alternatives, opportunities and possibilities for openness and diversity (Soja 1996: 2, 99). Building on Lefebvre’s ‘lived space or social space’, Soja’s Thirdspace, is arguably more future-oriented and offers broader scope for intervention. Lefebvre’s ‘social space’ describes how social hierarchies are prescribed according to one’s age and gender, maintained through relationships of employment and transaction within the ‘space of society’ (Lefebvre  1991: 35). Soja’s Thirdspace acknowledges how the lived experience of a particular location can vary according to one’s gender, race and social status, but reaches beyond one’s lived experience to include one’s aspiration for this particular location, and one’s lived experience within it (11). This conception of Thirdspace goes further than Lefebvre’s ‘social space’ or ‘lived space’ which focussed primarily on the shifting simultaneity of present meanings created through one’s social interactions with others within a site. In the context of Singapore, Thirdspace could be conceived as all futures possible and the multiplicity of places possible within it.