Commissioned works by three Singaporean artists use innovative platform to disrupt and add a dynamic dimension to the Gallery’s long-term exhibitions
15 August 2017 – National Gallery Singapore is bringing art experience to a different level with the launch of unrealised, a digital extension of the Gallery’s long-term exhibitions accessible only via the Gallery Explorer app. Developed in dialogue with artists Heman Chong, Ho Tzu Nyen and Erika Tan, it links digital artworks to the two long-term displays, Siapa Nama Kamu? and Between Declarations and Dreams featured in the DBS Singapore Gallery and UOB Southeast Asia Gallery respectively.
“unrealised is an unconventional project that showcases the Gallery’s continuous efforts in experimenting and employing the digital to engage with our public. The projects we encounter here by all three artists are part of their extensive engagements with questions around modern art. With unrealised we use digital to break down boundaries and explore new possibilities in telling the stories of Singapore and Southeast Asian art. We are thankful for the multi-year collaborations with Heman, Tzu Nyen and Erika, and we hope that the public will join us in the journey as we continue to look for new ways to engage with pertinent issues of the day,” said Eugene Tan, Director, National Gallery Singapore.
The three artists respond to three different aspects of the exhibition. Tzu Nyen responds to artworks with the figure of the tiger in them; Erika to corridors and spaces in the exhibitions and Heman to exhibition titles. Kevin Lim, Deputy Director of Co:Lab X, the Gallery’s dedicated innovation team, observes: “Tzu Nyen and Erika’s works are activated via proximity-based iBeacons. The iBeacons will both notify users when they are in the vicinity of the work and bring the work to a halt if the user moves out of range. This utilises iBeacons not to push information to a user, which is how they are most commonly used, but to deliver a digital artwork that is a response to the physical exhibition they are standing in. With this, unrealised takes a step towards bridging the analogue and digital world with artists.”
The three inaugural projects for unrealised were commissioned in 2014 as the Gallery set about developing its long-term displays. With these commissions, Chong, Ho and Tan responded to the burgeoning questions of where the modern museum ought to figure in an increasingly digitised world.
Shabbir Hussain Mustafa, co-curator of unrealised adds, “With these artists’ responses, unrealised is a project platform for conversations about the modern art histories of Singapore and Southeast Asia, rather than an online exhibition per se. In the works of all three artists there is a reliance on both text and image, as the modern comes to be linked with the colonial, the urban and the non-conscious. In the distinct approach of all three artists, the modern is not something predestined or overlooked, avoided or embraced. When you experience the works on the surface of your mobile device issues concerning gender, labour, historical memory come to be unformed, unhinged, unrealised! Learning from artists, perhaps the institutional practice of curating too is put under pressure."
Lim adds, “This project platform holds vast potential for exploring the digital image in relation to museology in Singapore. unrealised is going to open up newer possibilities for innovation as we continue to look for ways to tell stories about art.”
unrealised is developed as part of the Gallery’s dynamic efforts to engage with an increasingly tech-savvy public. It will complement the Gallery’s other digital innovations, such as the Social Table and Who’s in the Woods, which has proven popular with visitors of all ages since the Gallery’s opening. The digital innovations serve to engage with visitors in new and refreshing ways, while educating on Singapore and Southeast Asia art through technology.
unrealised is conceived by curators Shabbir Hussain Mustafa and Charmaine Toh. Its digital surface was developed by Gallery’s Co:Lab X team, which is headed by Kevin Lim, in collaboration with Accenture, Innovation Partner to National Gallery Singapore. The Gallery Explorer mobile application is free to download on the App Store and Google Play.
For more details about the exhibition, please visit www.nationalgallery.sg/unrealised.