preparing Clement Space

It has been awhile since I’ve last visited Bunnyhopscotch. Lucy and I have been busy.

Our latest commission by the National Gallery Singapore to create a new iteration of Clement Space has been an exciting, exhilarating and challenging adventure.

Here’s something that most people will not know or see, a peep behind the scenes.

Setting up is always very hard work for an installation artist. Each time I do so, I half jokingly ask myself, “Why oh why didn’t I become a painter instead?” But paintings on the wall are different from what I set out to create in the very first place. I’ve always imagined a space in which I could engage with all the elements, experiencing not only the superficial sensory stimuli, but that deeper, elemental connectivity that speaks directly to my intrinsic autistic modality. So, here I am, in this strange, bizarre and dichotomous interstice as a musician-and-installation-artist.

I am blessed once again to have a great team to help me set up, three friends who worked extremely hard without complaint. With an exercise such as this, if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong, especially since the spectres of Artaud and Wagner seem to plague me whenever I am faced with this kind of task or situation. One of our team had made arrangements for a man with a small lorry (truck) to pick up our installation components, and had sent the man a photograph of the carpark entrance stating very clearly the clearance height. The man with the lorry said his vehicle was able to enter without problems.

Height-Clearance

Maximum height clearance 2.1metres!

Well, not so. At the very last minute, upon arrival, the lorry guy rang me and told me his lorry was too tall! We ended up walking back and forth and back and forth umpteen times, lugging the various rather heavy and/or bulky items from the lobby to the lorry (which had to be parked just outside the carpark). Exhausted and drenched in perspiration, we then made our way to the National Gallery, where yet another arduous adventure awaited us. The lorry parked at the designated loading bay, but we had to lug every component, bit by bit, to and through a passageway several metres away. More to-ing and fro-ing heave-ho-ing. By the time we managed to schlep every bit of my ‘treasure’ to the site, we were at breaking point, both physically and mentally. No rest for the weary or the wicked, though, and so, my amazing team proceeded to lay the blue carpet out. Midway, we ran out of carpet tape, so we decided to call it a day. Phew!

Set-Up

Not very clement-looking is it?

Back the next morning with a new roll of carpet tape, the rest of the blue flooring was laid out. Then began an entire morning of setting up the shelving system.

Setting-Up-Shelves

Blood, sweat & toil!

Those who think that the life of an installation artist is all fun and games, think again. How did all the components get into and come together inside that space that you are now enjoying and exploring? Not via a dainty wave of some magic wand, mind you, but by hefty lifting and much sweat (with blood and tears mixed in too), not to mention the necessary filling in of many forms required by the venue for permission to do this and that.

Kudos to my team, who never once grumbled about the unexpected workload.

And… it is up and running! Clement Space is open from 10 January to 1 March 2020. Come and visit!

IMG_6304-cs

Clement Space @ National Gallery Singapore

For more photos and musings, click this link, which would lead you to my official website.

Media videos:

From the National Gallery: please visit in Youtube and hit us a thumbs-up if you like what you see!

 

From Channel News Asia: Singapore Tonight live interview 8 Jan 2020

hyperbole

Autistic Joy is no exaggeration. It is, however, a magnificent thing indeed, to be engaging in one’s autistic passion. For this Autistic Artist Bunny, the process of artistry is the goal, rather than the physical outcome. The work of art takes on it’s own agency, it is an entity that travels an inexorable path – and the autistic artist the facilitator, observer from within and without, the honoured witness of things too magnificent to ascribe words to.

I have been deep in this amazing communication: mind and body touching, twisting, turning and dancing with, through, and after pattern, form, rhythm, time, space. Connecting with the vast complexity of the material universe in the most simple of ways.

Contemplating the Fibonacci sequence, the hype that surrounded it, the concrete beauty of it, and feeling its sensory tendrils via a most humble activity: crochet.

These are the tiny little components, the smallest of organisms, that are growing, forming, shimmering and meandering, seemingly solitary and meaningless, yet which shall meld, infuse and evolve into a larger entity.

The Work has begun again. And the thrill of Autistic Joy springs forth once more. It isn’t exaggeration – no hyperbole at all – it is uncomplicated, lucid and coherent Experience of Beauty.

For those guessing – yes, Autistic Bunny has begun to work on a brand new commission. Watch this space!

clemency & space

 

This morning, I travelled across my little island home from the central region where I live, to the western coast, to the Yale-NUS College library to set up my miniature Clement Space in the City (revised, 2018) installation. It is an impressive campus, not for its size, as it is a small one, but for its compact superficial beauty. There is a sense of crafted tranquility in its manicured greenery, right in the middle of smart modern buildings. Meandering around clean, crisp corridors, trying to find my destination, I wonder about the lack of clear signposts. Is it a deliberate exercise in subtle exclusion, a quiet ‘hint’ to outsiders that we are not exactly warmly welcomed into this carefully constructed environment for the elite? I do not really know, but I did have the thought that Lucy would’ve loved a nice run around the green grass patches, though she’d probably create bald muddy holes in the wake of her greyhound strides. Then another thought following this one was, “Is this beauty something to merely behold, or can we actually use it, run around in it, hug the trees, roll in the manicured grass, laugh, flap, stim and lie on it?” Continue reading

Goodbye 2017

 

Sometimes, the mind gets lost inside the mire of anxiety, like a hamster caught in an ever spinning wheel, so focused on the effort of running that one can forget to hop off the relentless vicious cycle. Feeling unwell from an unpleasant juxtaposition between Christmas feasting and irritable bowel syndrome, caught in the doldrums of self-deprecation, I was just about to declare 2017 a year of absolute non-achievement (yes, utterly ridiculous but that was my mindset at the time) when I decided to take a long, deep breath, sit down and make a list of the activities I had engaged in through the year. Truth be told, 2017 was actually a literal beehive of activity. I was surprised, duly chastised for my negativity, a tad shamefaced yet relieved – I needed that stern reality check! Continue reading

building clement space

Work in progress…

It’s been more than a week battling this cold and cough. My voice is all but gone. I sound like a constipated frog (do frogs really constipate?). Been through the dramatic works, the wailing, flailing, fainting and vomiting stuff etc, and now finally on the mend. Still coughing alarmingly – feels like the guts are all going to spurt out at some point or other – and noticing some pretty aghast looks being thrown my way, through the tears in my eyes while attempting to blow my nose. Too much multitasking, being sick is unpleasant for anyone, but being sick with hypersensitivity cranks up the ‘horrid’ volume manifold levels … and over and over. I am missing my Lucy. A lot. Clement Space was inspired by Lucy.

Nevertheless… I have been building clement space… in little ways, struggling valiantly, and in the more ‘official’ manifestation, of course, the exhibition. The show must go on, and so it shall! Continue reading

haptic pyjamas

“Haptic pyjamas!” has been bouncing in my mindscape with sonic, rhythmic, and visual vim and vigour, refusing to make a quiet exit. I am not sure why, but I have a strong suspicion it has to do with this latest piece of work and its nocturnal unfolding.

Two fluffy 60x60cm cushion covers, a vegetarian dinner of stir fried flat rice noodles and red capsicum and a gentle evening doggy-walk later, I decided to embark on reworking the Haptic HugShrug. It was already 10pm when I began. Lucy was snoozing in her favourit fluffy rug, occasionally opening an eye to check on me, and interjecting the quiet night air with a huff and groan every now and then. She does not like it when I stay up late. Her bedtime hour is 8pm, and I usually crawl into bed with her, working on my laptop until she shoves my laptop off the bed at around 10pm. Our routine has been very much upset lately, of course. I managed to complete it at 12am, by which time I was nauseous and dizzy, but feeling rather chuffed.

The Haptic HugShrug was first created in 2012, as part of the Haptic Interface event in Hong Kong. It is inspired by the concept of deep pressure stimulation as a calming therapy. It is made from Woolmark Merino wool top, but instead of crochet, this version (#3) is arm knitted, giving it a looser weave and more floppy movement than the former two versions.

Dimensions approx 110x70x4cm.

Available for sale as part of the installation catalogue, 100% of proceeds will go to mindDog Australia. Reservations and all enquiries welcome. Please message me at scheherazades.sea@gmail.com

bog spin

The irony. The concrete evidence of sensory response to environment and spatial situation. Here. Now. It was a crazy move. But I needed it. Stuck in the previous circumstance, going insane with white hissing ear splitting fear each time the Merry Unhappy Door Slammer played Wagner with her door, too exhausted to work at my art studio (the entire process of the journey there and back were so fraught), I was severely limited in my capacity to work. And uninspired. Moving back to our old and familiar neighbourhood in the middle of preparations for the exhibition was not a logical thing to do, but it was a desperate need. It cost me precious time and energy, my body is breaking down from being pushed to beyond its sensible limits. The flip side? Peace. Calm. And inspiration. My mind is now awash with exciting ideas. But there is no more time to execute them all. A pity. Such textural richness has suddenly begun to take root and sprout generous branches. I cannot possibly translate and realise the many reverberations echoing in my mind, not within such a short time frame anyway.

The exhibition opens next Monday 10 November. Setting up this weekend. I just have to keep going and do what I can. A feeling of surreal suspension.

Executive dysfunction. Brain bog. Sensory spin. Racing pulse. Anxiety overdrive. Floating on a cloud of vertiginous foam. Craving sugar and potato crisps. Lunching on frankfurters in cheap buns. Time has run out. Just keep going. No time to think anymore. Go, go, go, Bunny, Tally Ho!

P.S. My angel keeps me company, my calming balm and muse. We cuddle in bed and all feels well again. Tomorrow is another day.

LITTLE SWEETS 小甜心 – a sensory odyssey

Little Sweets

Announcing my upcoming exhibition:

Little Sweets 小甜心 – a sensory odyssey

Please click on above link or photo for the exhibition webpage. Photos will be uploaded and updated as we go along.

This exhibition is inspired by my beautiful Greyhound, Lucy.

In my quest to better understand Lucy, I stumbled upon canine sensory studies and the many fascinating correlations with my own research in hypersensory idioysncrasies inherent in autism. To honour our very special connection, and the wonderful world that Lucy has opened up to me, entire proceeds from sales of installation pieces will be donated to Greyhound Rescue (http://greyhoundrescue.com.au)

Christmas is around the corner, decorate with quirky pieces for a worthy cause – and of course, come along for a sensory adventure and freshly baked cupcake!

World Autism Day 2014

WorldAutismDay2014

April 2nd is World Autism Day. In celebration of this day, I am writing a little retrospective of events that have taken place in my life, since my first celebration of World Autism Day in 2011. Continue reading

Thank You!

It’s already New Year’s Day here in Sydney, Australia. Happy New Year to everyone, and thank you for following my little blog, sharing the quirky eats and dropping in to make a comment or two.

Amazing how time just zooms by. I still remember very clearly my first Christmas Day and New Year with my baby girl Lucy. Now, our second one has come and gone in a flurry!

Lucy’s beautiful face was the one that bade me good night in the final moments of 2013 and good morning in 2014. How blessed am I to have so much exquisite beauty always with me? My first breakfast of 2014 was a simple olfactory-gustatory-visual-textural combination microwaved frozen corn with butter and cheese, a sprinkling of sweet paprika, and a few corn chips thrown in for good measure.

2013 was a great year in many ways. Continue reading