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Richard Layzell – Notes from Singapore
 
Day 36: Monday 27 Oct 03
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1. Practicals and Methods 2. Intuitions and insights 3. Freeflow  
Visit to the Substation to meet Weng Lee, but also met Lee Wen [whose exhibition was on]

Gave talk to local artists in the evening
An ‘international cleaning’ intervention on the roof of the new Esplanades arts complex. It was irresistible to toy with subversion in a society afraid of subversion. These cleaning actions are so close to the norm that, even here, there was no interruption from authority.

Recorded an extended video sequence in the Esplanades library. This was compelling to do. Can imagine using it. People around me became quiet performers, the light seemed extraordinary. I entered the frame, performing amongst performers. Again this was potentially subversive, but also acceptable. Is it easier to make these video clips in far away places?
Last in Singapore 20 years ago. Lee Wen told me how much it had changed, but it was obvious. You’d have to become a political artist here. A one party state. There is no opposition. Performance has its place and history here, in part as its role as ‘opposition’. But I'm having a great time here.

Tracked down a contact email from Weng Lee for Jerome Ming, one-time collaborator [House of Nations Project 1990–91], who became press photographer on the Straits Times.

Another level of distance from all the work in Australia, a sense of cohesion. It now looks interconnected. So is coming here, as Lee Wen is in NRLA 04.
Images flash up from the workshop performances yesterday, very satisfying that this was strong work. Remembered feedback from an audience member on Saturday that the dialogue with Rosie in Eleanor’s Falcon had been a personal highlight. Had had mixed feelings about this immediately afterwards because I couldn’t hear Rosie at the time, some technical issue with amplification, so this was rich news.

The Asian context [my flight here from Perth was same duration as to Syndey] locates the Australian cultural scene very differently.
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