in Research

“Disappearance, Bar in the Gallery” reflection

Performance info for reference

A “happening” refers to an event in which the concept of ordinary things is revisited or a work in which the viewer may intervene. – Sue Kim


Inter-mission‘s Disappearance is based on Lee Kang-So’s Disappearance(1970s), performed at the National Gallery of Singapore.

Earlier in the same month, a similarly-themed performance was carried out by a group of four Korean artistes, curated by Sue Kim.

During that performance, the artistes interacted with their environment through various means; Jaehoon Kim coordinated the music and played a piece at the end, Junbo captured whatever thoughts came to her mind through her encounters on post-its and pasted it all over the venue, Ji Hye Chung snapped photos of body parts of the audience and projected them on screen while Soodung Jung used his body to convey symbols; rice wine being poured or a cup swaying on table.

Inter-mission’s Disappearance

Bird’s eye view of the installation premises


The performance by Inter-mission, in comparison, was far more technological in nature. The artistes, Urich Lau and Teow Yue Han, utilised a host of modern gadgets(webcams, projections.etc), as well as fashioned novel futuristic versions. The performance entailed a metaphorical transposition of another city’s landscape(urban Tokyo, I am guessing) onto the sterile confines of the gallery.



Midway through the show, Yue Han donned his self-projecting device(term coined by me) and started projecting himself onto his ‘surroundings’ everywhere. I can only interpret it as an attempt to ‘merge’ himself into urban Tokyo or the live feed from within the gallery. The expression of indifference Yue Han exhibited could represent how one’s identity/uniqueness has become subservient in an increasingly ‘noisy’ society.


Apparatus for self self-projection

Self-projecting in action


The performance concluded with the introduction of Urich’s incredibly novel eye/face mask. Here we see him donning a device with two screens that display the live feeds from Tokyo and the National Gallery simultaneously. At the end of show, the artistes did mention something about the respiratory mask symbolising the ‘toxic’ nature of the modern environment and the individual’s need for it to ensure ‘survival’.



Thoughts and reflection

To be honest, on a personal level, I would consider the performance rather avant-garde in nature. There is quite a lot of interpretation and imagination required for appreciation. That said, it was definitely refreshing and enlightening!

In terms of execution, I did have several thoughts in mind.

  • The equipment: audio equipment, workstations and others are unnecessarily visible. I felt that these added mental clutter and distracted the audience from focusing on the experiential aspects of the performance. From the snippets of video, one can probably tell that whenever the audience is trying to figure out what’s happening, they would default to looking/observing the workstations or what the crew is up to.
  • The setting, though Korean-centric, for obvious reasons, could have been better re-adapted to the Singaporean context; again, for obvious reasons. It could have added more authenticity to the whole ‘street’ experience. (Disclosure: this comment came up from Man Wei and I thought it was very pertinent to the discussion on hand)
  • I think the lights were way too bright; the success of the experience depends heavily on the projections and various other light-related phenomena to create an immersive experience. But sadly, the gallery’s lights were overpowering; the projections are severely washed out, lessening their intended effect on the audience’s visual and possibly tactile experience as a whole.



“Disappearance”: Lee Kang-So’s 1970s works at Gallery Hyundai, Seoul – original interview extract

Happenings at disappearance – Bar in the gallery at NGS