Link to documentation is here.
Singapore After Dark: Jurong Fishery Port
Group Members: Azmir, Ziyaad, June
Concept: What’s the idea?
Singapore After Dark: Jurong Fishery Port is a documentary that aims to provide insight into the hard working lives of odd job workers and to enhance the significance of these lesser known occupations. The main video is compiled with montages of the bustling fishery port and insightful interviews of vibrant personalities to characterize the representation of Jurong Fishery Port. This documentary is presented in the context of an installation space, with two supplementary screens which utilise urban and suburban imagery and timelapses, to create a contrast between the hardworking fishmongers and sleeping masses. Employing the use of interviews, the video intends to highlight that, although the fishmongers work exhaustive long hours in a grimy environment and are subjected to the fish market’s unstable economic turnover, their unwavering optimism and responsibility towards their occupation is worthy of the public’s awareness and appreciation.
Relationship between content and form: How does the idea for the image influence the selection of the image’s content and process of execution
The content of the documentary is carefully curated to suit the medium of installation. To emphasize on the clear distinction between the silence of the resting population and the bustling activity in the fishery port, this video juxtaposes scenes of movement in the fishery port in the main video against side screens with minimal motion and figures. However, instead of using the loud ambience of the fishery port throughout the video, the sound design in the main video is kept at a peaceful rhythm using uplifting piano instrumental music, as to not overwhelm the viewers’ conventional perception of the stillness of the night. In order to maximise space in advantage to the documentary, side screens made of black cardstock are used to convey the idea of darkness in midnight hours, as white screens would be too bright and glaring for an installation with a night context.
Drawing reference from British filmmaker Ben Brown’s “Journey to a Costa Rican Food Forest” and Japan Tsukiji Fish Market, the documentary has a subtle balance between montages of the fresh seafood and liveliness of the fishmongers and buyers that represent the fishery port. Although filming in a busy fishery port was a daunting task, the team succeeded in using handheld filming technique to film various types of shots ranging from close ups to wide shots in order to comprehensively capture the essence of non-stop motion in the fishery port. By fully utilising the infrastructure of the fishery port, the team also managed to film bird’s eye view from the level two overhead bridge which spans the entire width of the fishery port, in which contributed to the many shots of the heavy trolleys that rumbled and pushed through the throng of people in the narrow walkways.
Compiling different images of the many facets of the fishery port to form a documentary is done to minute detail. The documentary opens with imagery and timelapses of urban Singapore at daytime, which are mainly shot in populated areas such as Raffles Place and the Central Business District. The emphasis is on the people and traffic bustling through the day. Following the sunset timelapse, is a silhouette of a huge lorry moving away to reveal the huge building of the Jurong Fishery Port. The blinking time reflects that it is 00:23 hours, and the documentary unfolds by giving the audience a general overview to the fishery port. The accompanying piano music acts as a lullaby, which provides the video a calming atmosphere, to bring out the concept of however busy the fishery port seems at first glance, it too has a pattern of its own to ensure the order and operation of the fishery port runs smoothly. As the music picks up the pace, the documentary introduces faces of the fishery port. The interviews encompass simple and direct questions, to more in-depth enquiry of the business of the fishery port. The different demographic of interviewees also provide an insight of what the fishery port has to offer to different people, be it the local fishmongers or the foreign worker customers. The documentation closes with a thought-provoking sentence, with hopes that it leaves the viewers a lingering thought that every job has its own value, be it a white collar occupation or blue collar job. Forgotten occupations such as fishmongers play an important role in fueling the economy of the nation, considering their hard work and dedication despite working in odd hours and grimy environments, should not go unnoticed and under appreciated by the public.