DIANA RAHIM X SONIA KWEK
KHABAR is a love letter for the abandoned. As the wind carries new revelations across two spaces, of longing, the departed asks,
"How are you doing, Sayang?"
To ask khabar is to remember what the
departed body misremembered and once forgot.
What distinguishes Geylang in the minds of so many are things that emanate from the earth—be it food, fruit, the very soil, or an array of aromas smells and sights. In Grounding, the kain has been steeped in turmeric, and like an incantation, I had written my own response to the writings of participants about their memories in Geylang. While I had began with a set text, in writing it onto the kain I was often moved to write beyond the sentences I had prepared.
Cloth artwork steeped and dyed with turmeric and onion skins
Re-experiencing Geylang Serai & letter writing workshop with MKAC participants
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I enjoyed the last part of the session when we went back to do some writing and had songs of their choice playing in the background. It was also good for me to realise that I didn't have to control the flow so much according to what I had planned and could let go at times to see where their acts of remembering would take them. This made the session more enjoyable for them, and for me I think I was happiest with the fact that it could be a time when they could enjoy the fact that writing is a form that seems so simple but invites such a deep tunnelling within ourselves.
I was often moved to write beyond the sentences
I had prepared.
- Diana Rahim
For my D14 film, I drew inspiration directly from the content of the letters written by the MKAC elders and the conversations during our workshop. The film unfolds over three parts, elaborating upon three key themes that stood out in their sharing with my own experience of the space and wonderments:
i. melirik mata
the place to see and to be seen; if you know, you know...
beyond nostalgia for the things of the past, a yearning to connect with something rooted deeper.
iii. _semangat _
what is the spirit of geylang? what endures? just as the seedling rises and falls, continually, we seek to bridge and hope to find.
Dance film shot in between Joo Chiat Complex and Geylang Serai Market
Letters by MKAC participants
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Letters by Haig Girls'
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Letter by Mr Fawzi Bin Daud, 63
Upon personal reflection, the realisation of oral transcription into letters is akin to recording the memories of both written and verbal thoughts, the only difference being in the presentation and permanence, where the intonations and fluctuations in voice are transformed visually through the writing, decoration and arrangement in the letter. Read more >
They then exchanged and read / performed each other’s letter out loud:
Jonit’s letter was written to the security uncle, considered to be cheesy / cringey yet filled with love and care.
Syimah’s letter was written to the stillness, and addressed to the space, architecture and topography.
Valerie’s letter was written to the pakciks and makciks, written / presented in point form and addressed the concepts of age and tenderness.
They were then requested to ponder on how to translate the letters into movement:
If given a commission, what would the associates do / how would they create a work / respond to the letter through the movement?
Try to avoid a typical / shoot type of critic.
To derive their movements from observations and to distil.
Weighing / navigating between “cool shit” or being revolutionary and being gimmicky.