Book Launch | CONCRETE ISLAND reader

Date: Thursday, February 18, 2016
Time: 7.00pm - 8.00pm 
Venue: NUS Museum

Structured around nine selected “passwords” (concrete, architecture, control, access, speed, excess, museum, current, island), this publication reader functions as a visual and textual guide to the project CONCRETE ISLAND. More a literary reader than exhibition catalogue, the publication features contributions by artists, writers, and curators, each based on a particular “password”. If CONCRETE ISLAND proposes to think of the city as a condition of movement, exchange and intensities, this publication is an attempt to do so within the format of a printed publication.

As part of this book launch, there will be public readings by selected contributors: Tse Hao Guang, Jason Wee and Anca Rujoiu. Presented with Tan Pin Pin’s film 80km/h acting as a visual and temporal guide, the event will run for a total of 39 minutes, in accordance with the run time of the film itself.

Contributors to the publication include Tse Hao Guang, Jason Wee, Geraldine Kang, Fiona Tan, Ho Rui An, Anca Rujoiu, Amanda Lee Koe, Kathleen Ditzig, Liao Jiekai and Luca Lum.

This project takes as its points of departure J.G. Ballard’s novel Concrete Island (1974) and Tan Pin Pin’s film 80km/h (2004). Guided by the metaphor of “concrete island” within the context of Singapore, the project disperses into several formats all at once: an exhibition space, a publication reader, a reading programme, a bus tour, and a mobile cinema programme.


Tse Hao Guang is interested in form and formulation, creativity and quotation, lyrics and line breaks. He is the author of hyperlinkage (2013) and Deeds of Light (2015, both Math Paper Press). He co-edits the cross-genre, collaborative literary journal OF ZOOS, and UnFree Verse, an anthology of Singapore poetry in received and nonce forms.

Jason Wee is an artist and writer living and working in Singapore and New York. He runs Grey Projects, an artists’ space, library and residency that focuses on experimental curatorship, new writing and design propositions. His books include Tongues (2012) and The Monsters Between Us (2013). He is the 2014-15 NUS-The Arts House Writer-in-Residence.

Anca Rujoiu is a Romanian curator currently based in Singapore. She is curator of FormContent, a curatorial initiative in London. Her recent project with FormContent, It’s Moving from I to It unfolded as a performative script within a nomadic structure, testing formats of production and distribution. As a researcher and writer, she worked for several film and television productions, and artist’s publications.

Geraldine Kang
is a visual artist working with photography and installation. Recent solo presentations include 2 parts 2 (NTU Centre for Contemporary Art) and Still we walk on fences (Institute of Contemporary Art Singapore). Her current work deals with land-space issues in Singapore. She has also taken a recent interest towards publications.

Fiona Tan is presently pursuing a Masters in Information Studies at Nanyang Technological University. Armed with nothing more than a B.A. (History) and a dogged persistence in trying to gain access, she was previously an intern and researcher with NUS Museum. Presently she is an assistant archivist at the National Archives of Singapore.

Ho Rui An is an artist and writer working in the intersections of contemporary art, cinema, performance and theory. He writes, talks, and thinks around images, investigating their sites of emergence, transmission and disappearance within contemporary visual culture. He has presented projects at the 2nd Kochi-Muziris Biennale, and Para Site (Hong Kong) among others.

Amanda Lee Koe is the fiction editor of Esquire Singapore and a 2013 Honorary Fellow of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. She is the youngest winner of the Singapore Literature Prize for the short story collection Ministry of Moral Panic. She is an MFA candidate at Columbia University’s Writing Program.

Kathleen Ditzig is an independent curator and co-founder of Her research spans contemporary and modern art with regards to markets, global infrastructure, cultural capital and political posturing. Her recent project On Sweat, Paper and Porcelain was presented at CCS New York. She has been published in Flash Art, and BOMB among others.

Liao Jiekai is a filmmaker and artist based in Singapore. He is a founding member of the film collective 13 Little Pictures and his 2010 debut feature film, Red Dragonflies, won the Special Jury Prize at the Jeonju International Film Festival. He received the Young Artist Award from the National Arts Council of Singapore in 2012.

Luca Lum is an artist and writer. Through documentary, dialogic and diaristic modes, she explores how we might invite vulnerability and resistance to make ourselves available to and for others. She is an alumnus of Curating Lab 2014; and her work has been featured in LUMA/Westbau (Zurich), Cha, and Yale Literary Magazine.

Edited by Kenneth Tay and Luca Lum
Contributions from Tse Hao Guang, Jason Wee, Geraldine Kang, Fiona Tan, Ho Rui An, Anca Rujoiu, Amanda Lee Koe, Kathleen Ditzig and Liao Jiekai
Designed by Studio Vanessa Ban
ISBN 978-981-09-6795-6

Table of Contents:
Traveling Light, Burnt Suns (Apotheosis and Nadir): A conversation between Kenneth Tay and Luca Lum
Leaping // Tse Hao Guang
Infrastructure Architecture // Jason Wee
By unit of measurement // Geraldine Kang
InAccessible // Fiona Tan
An Accident: Two Views from the Dashboard // Ho Rui An
Instances of Excess // Anca Rujoiu
Museum // Amanda Lee Koe
The Currents of “The Current” // Kathleen Ditzig
Kovan Melody // Liao Jiekai
Escape Velocity: An afterword // Kenneth Tay

[Image Credit: CONCRETE ISLAND reader cover design by Vanessa Ban.]


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