Endings & No Endings
Artist: Ringo Bunoan (Born 1974, Manila)
Title: Endings; No Endings
Materials: Wooden Shelves to hold the books, wooden frames and the last page of different novels.
Look: Long, extended, suspended plane of book shelf holding up numerous framed page of different novels.
Preliminary read: Initially when i first saw the installation, I found the pages to be rather interesting. I was reading the content for each page. A quick glance made me realised that the pages are all endings of a story. I piqued my interest that ever slightly. I didn’t feel any strong emotion in particular. However, I was just happy to discover the closure of multiple stories. Printed text on books tend to give a rustic effect on its readers due to the rise of smartphones and tablets over the past decade. Hence, it was nice to peruse such medium once in a while.
Moving on to the ‘No Endings’ installation, I didn’t find it too fascinating because all I saw was a ‘wooden’ structure that extends all the way up vertically. I didn’t bother to go close to the installation to see the details.
Secondary read: After reading the work description, I realised that the artist was trying to focus the work wholly to story endings; to show the finality of individual stories thus forming a philosophical statement to multiple possible conclusions of stories and, time. Ultimately, the artist wanted to question the idea of ‘what is a closure without context’. I was particularly interested in this work and it’s actually one of my favourite piece from the museum. I feel that this installation questions more than it answers. It made one to question the value, purpose and existence of stories in its entirety if there were to be no closure. In relation to life where we view journey to be accompanied with a destination, did we really experience the journey in its fullness if there were to be no closure? Also, we tend to view things with a beginning, middle and end and that any missing content will render it incomplete. Thus, the act of piling and stacking incomplete books together, forming a vertical structure gives one the feeling that the work itself is actually complete. The description relates to my initial impression in the sense that it gave me the ‘uh huh’ moment where I was trying to find a reasonable explanation but just could not piece the words together.
I feel that the work is pretty well-communicated thus, I don’t really see a need for improvement.
A Travel Without Visual Experience: Malaysia
Artist: Tozer Pak (Pak Sheung Chuen) (Born 1977, Fujian)
Title: A Travel Without Visual Experience: Malaysia
Materials: Room installation with travel photographs
Look: Dark, mysterious.
Preliminary Read: This work is different from other works in term of appreciation experience. The viewers are required to walk around the dark room and take flashed photos of the barely visible framed photos on the wall. The content can only be viewed through our phone’s screen. I initially approached the photos with my flash switched on. But the museum personnel told me that in order to fully appreciate the experience, I should only view the content using flashed photography (Something that is banned almost for almost all other pieces of work in the museum). It was quite interesting to walk through the dark room and only viewing the content later. I felt no strong emotions and stopped after taking a few photos.
Secondary Read: It turns out that the artist wanted to contrast the realities of mass media and real life. With only his eyes closed, he depended on his other sense to direct his photography. It was only after he return before he viewed through the images that he took. His ultimate goal was to reveal our habitual compulsion and obsession with documentation rather than to wholly be present in the experience that happening at the exact moment. This art is my second favorite piece of work in the museum because I feel that it relates to me and the people around me. The artist highlighted the issue of the people nowadays of wanting to experience things through our screens instead of the present. The artist noticed that this is a subtle problem that bugs our generation. I myself felt that we are very obsessed with documenting things that we are losing things and feelings that we don’t know about. There is a lost of human connection and interaction to the extent that it felt normal. It felt as if it is a normal thing to communicate through documentation rather than actual, present interaction. It has come to a point that we are so obsessed with technology that we’re slowly losing our human touch and being desensitised. The artist presented a worrying idea and hopes to connect to the audience and highlight the seriousness of the issue. The description relates to my initial impression where it makes me question whether ‘sight is the only sense we need’.
A better way to communicate the idea maybe would be to place the work where it is possible for us to photograph the photos. This is because some photos are placed too high. However, I guess the artist wanted the audience to experience the room as a work a whole.