"[i carry" is a performance-installation that reacts to the movements of lifts in an urban compound, over a 24-hour cycle. In Singapore, buildings are often tall due to land constraints, making lifts commonplace vehicles in everyday movement - in my piece, lift movements are thus chosen as analogues for activity, reflecting upon routine and interdependence. The work is an appeal to consider the everyday actors, the people and processes which routine has rendered invisible, that keep us afloat.
The physical set-up of the installation and its mechanical functions is as follows. The room is divided by a screen of string curtain into two general sections, a “public” space and a “private” space. Participants first enter the “public” space, wherein visual stimuli is projected onto a screen of string curtains; some sounds are simultaneously heard as well. In the “private” space, the performer, me, resides, performing a set of duties to keep the installation going. I oversee a live footage of data tracking the movements of lifts in school on a second projection and a laptop screen, and then translate the data manually onto another laptop - this second laptop has a pre-programmed software that generates, based on the lifts’ data, the visuals on the string curtain screen and sounds in the space. On my table lie my notebook and food. To my right, on the floor, is a bed. Audience members are free to interact with every element of this 24-hour performance-installation as they see fit.
The work's title bears direct reference to e.e. cumming’s poem "[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]", the text an account of care, companionship, and stubborn dependencies that we impose upon each other, the idiosyncrasies of being with. Surely, there are baggage and obligations that we carry for each other, all part of our daily routines occurring in cyclical time. In a web of interconnectedness, what is not observed does not cease to happen or matter - and the psyche of this web of interdependence modulates with the time of day as well, as explored in the work’s durational element.
In sum, the work makes visceral the invisible processes and support structures that enable routine. And so, by presenting the lift as a literal and metaphorical carriage, the question is, therefore, asked: who or what carries us, and who or what do we carry in return?
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