about the project
To create an interactive performance that engages the public in site-specific locations.
Within the work, there should be a narrative that is partly scripted, and partly spontaneous, to allow the serendipity of surprises, accidents, glitches, errors, mistakes, encounters, laughter, conversation, and other elements that cannot be pre-determined to drive the performance.
The work should take place both in third space and real life, to blur the boundaries between art and life, between reality and fiction, between virtual and real, between artist and audience.
Niki / Maythu / Ying Hui / Teri / Si Hui
Our project is based on the feeling of
s o n d e r
the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
— Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
Two strangers, each taking the train on different MRT lines, are invited to text each other anonymously until they get off at the intersection, where they’ll decide whether to meet each other in person. By the end of their conversation, they are to draw a portrait of each other based on their impression of the other person.
East West Line: Jurong East Station — Bugis Station
Downtown Line: Bukit Panjang Station — Bugis Station
The chat is facilitated by our BreadBot, who starts off the conversation with instructions for the participants and comes in with extra questions if things get awkward.
How DIWO, third space and glitch is applied to our performance:
East West Line: Si Hui Downtown Line: Yi Lin
In my texting conversation with Yilin, I found out that we had quite a few things in common, but what was most surprising would be that we went to the same polytechnic where our courses shared the same building, which meant that
we could have walked past each other many times throughout those three years in school, but we would have never recognised each other anyway.
much sonder much serendipity wow??
Meanwhile, meeting him in person was very different from talking to him on text. In real life, he was really cold and indifferent. The awkward vibes between us felt like a huge fart that I wanna run away from halpppp :O
East West Line: Cheng Downtown Line: Ying Hui
At the end of their conversation, when Cheng started drawing Ying Hui, his impression of how she looked like was creepily accurate. As he was drawing, he thought out loud about how she would have short hair and glasses. It could have just been luck but it’s also fascinating how even though none of them revealed how they looked like in the conversation, Cheng could visualise how she looked like in real life.
A failed test run
We changed our project idea last minute so there was a lot of work to catch up on. Our original idea was a 3 vs 3 catching game at Bugis Street but our test run failed badly and we realised we actually lacked a lot of manpower to execute our game. So we held an emergency meeting and decided to look through our initial ideas before we came up with catching at Bugis.
It brought us back to this idea of making two strangers have a pillow talk with each other while being in separate locations.
We thought about Bunc Hostel but expen$ive though. Then we thought about East Coast Park and West Coast Park but tent rental is also $$$ and there’s no wifi yo. Then we started stressing out about how we also need to print our zine for Graphic Form.
And then it hit us: the MRT is quite aesthetic ya? And what an interesting location, where it is site-specific yet always geographically changing with each stop. And if we alight at Bugis, does this mean we can also print our zine?
RIP 2 birds that we killed with 1 stone. But that’s not the end.
Because we changed our idea late, we filmed late, so this means we also edit late. I was panicking while editing the video, but my group mates were very helpful in trimming most of the sound recordings and video clips so that I can focus on storyboarding and syncing them up with the audio.
Shoutout to my MVP Niki who wrote the text for the whole sequence and even export for me as jpeg :’)
For me, what hit home the most would be the serendipity of human dynamics that arose from texting anonymously.
As much as you can create a fake persona, your true personality is never fully removed from the way you type. The choice of emojis, telegram stickers, and texting vocabulary can also give away your age and personality. The speed of your typing and what you backspaced reveals a lot about your unfiltered thoughts. And then, in the chat, we see your curated self, how you chose to present yourself to the other stranger.