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District 14: Associates' Rehearsal 6

| Documentation by Syarifuddin Sahari |

7:30pm - 9:30pm, Geylang Serai

The associates shared some thoughts before starting with the debrief:

- Haizad:

o Mind was thinking more of the outcome.

§ Collecting ideas for the final filming.

§ Allowing the elements to inspire.

§ Noticed that some went back to comfort zone.

o Witnessed the acknowledgement of internalisation of the tasks.

o Understanding of own body to the space (including biases).

o To have the option to code switch in and out of comfort zone.

o Focused on what was going on at the moment.

- Syimah chose Tanjong Katong Complex for her Rasa filming location.

- Hasyimah chose the shop with many things in Haig Road.

- Xiao Jun wanted to record at 1 merchant shop and another shot at Kinex.

- 3 scenes after Rasa:

o Associates will separate from Tanjong Katong Complex; next shot will be at Zarina’s house where the associates will pass the dumpling to the MKAC patients, the invited artists will pass the white cloth to the youths youths and MKAC patients will come together (as inter-generational symbology for NAC) MKAC and youths will uncover the dumpling where Haizad will try to choreograph that moment.

o When passing the dumpling to MKAC, the associates to hold on to the notion / embody the prompt into their movements. They will pair up with the MKAC patients to create a “duet” (though it does not need to be exaggerated or show a literal meaning).

o Intention is the prompt, to be shown through the body, though it is uncertain at this point if the patients are responding to the associates.

o The associates should try to remember / keep what was done and remember the process during the rehearsal.

- Hasyimah

o The term ‘embodiment’ is oversimplifying the actual process.

o Does not depict the thought processes / hidden inside / research done, how it transfers

from object / idea to the body.

Exploring what is embodiment.

They then had a debrief and exchanging of thoughts about their explorations:

1st Task (Observing circular / curves and lines) & 2nd Task:

- Ismail:

o Keywords: Carpet, words, ‘baju’.

o Malay is heavily influenced by Middle Eastern, and a modernised genre.

o Lines reminded of calligraphy.

o 2nd Task:

§ How lines connect to each other.

§ Imagining how all lines combine into a circle / continuous.

§ Why stop-stop is going from line to line.

§ Was intrigued by the lines being off centre to Tanjong Katong Complex.

- Sonia:

o Shadows and lights from / reflected by lamp posts, slants.

o 2nd task:

§ Imagined being the shirts hanging and being washed.

- Hasyimah:

o Thought of Art Attack (patterns on the floor being viewed from above).

o Habit of being drawn to material.

o Imagined a picture in her head.

o 2nd task:

§ Try bringing into the body.

§ Relationship with / of shape.

§ Body shape triggering memories.

§ Pole came into place and reaching up.

§ Solar absorbing energy from the sun which is hot, and somehow that heat going into the body as a narrative.

- Haizad was wondering how to highlight the space when moving.

- Xiao Jun:

o Was not thinking and just felt like going [in].

o Following obvious lines that can be seen.

o Went in to figure out the space, mopping the space inside.

o To have the body react to what is there.

o Noticed the two “weird” lamp post sticking out.

o To not look outside, and to look inside in the physical space / architecture (such as the aircon pipes).

o Shades of grey were painted on the facade and not created by the light.

- Valerie:

o Was choosing the outline of space.

o Playing with the lights and shadows.

o Diagonal lines, because of strong painting.

o Squares on the floor.

o 2nd task:

§ Wanted to respond to the other side of the road, racing the cars.

- Jonit:

o Windows

o 2 dimensions.

o To be as simple and bland as possible.

o Wanted to run but no choice.

They immediately went into the 3rd task, and shared what they felt about their prompts:

- Jonit:

o Sounds.

o Was in a weird spot.

o Wanted to be noisy but was not feeling it.

- Hasyimah:

o Talked a lot about cloth as skin.

o How to keep it pulse-like (more internal).

o Keep the skin in but still needs to come out / expose.

o Cloth was never really about just wearing (who the cloth reminded of, flavour, how does it make one feel).

o Cloth becomes precious when personally bought as compared to buying ready-made cloths / shirts.

o Teasing / Trying to find ways to make it from in to out.

o To tell the history in the cloth.

- Ismail:

o Bipolar that is not separate.

o Reminded of the switch; elderly hopes for the future, youths talking about the past.

o Reminded of the sessions with Yaziz (from Nadi Singapura).

o How ‘Joget’ and ‘Ronggeng’ transformed / progressed through the years.

o Started with ‘Joget’ vibe.

o Short movements from participants (zooming in from a larger picture, what is the story of each individual square / pixel).

o How to create a story of own’s experience that is already there.

- Sonia:

o Reflecting on the process of the workshop in relation to the concept.

o Politeness.

o Was feeling stressed from being the first workshop.

o Sense of, “Apa khabar,”, a greeting.

o How participants opened up into writing the letters.

o The moment Mr Rafi crushed the first draft of his paper.

o Rushing from one point to another.

- Valerie:

o Reflecting on the process.

o Different qualities in movements from the different paintings.

- Xiao Jun:

o How she felt during the workshops.

o Decided to use the ‘tumpang lalu’ form in own body / out of place.

o Did not feel welcome.

o The politics of age.

o Being nice because in “customer service” mode from working as merchants almost their whole lives.

o Brushing aside personal stories / thoughts / feelings / before going back into “business mode.

o Looking forward to feeling the objects.

o Could not speak during the workshop because the language was not right at that time.

o Felt like a merchant herself when doing the task.

- Haizad:

o It is important to be honest.

o Shows the genuine relationship with Geylang.

o Arts In Your Neighbourhood does not always mean extravagant.

- Hasyimah

o Contention is refreshing.

o Arts In Your Neighbourhood is a commitment to art making in a different way.

o To consider the relationships beyond the artmaking process.

o Sensing of own privilege of living in Singapore / her ancestry.

o Always revealing something that not a lot of people want to talk about.

o When the space is removed, what is left?

o Consider how processes can be useful or not useful.

o First time intersecting with communities.

o Finding other ways / processes to create, maybe bodies at the end and having Circle Time first.

o Awkward first encounters are okay to tease out, makes it more real.

Conversations about art making in the shadow of Tanjong Katong Complex.

Haizad then shared his final thoughts for the rehearsal, stating that District 14 is about one’s own personal relationship with Geylang; not a celebration and focusing more on relationships.


As much as we will attempt to record the process, this journal does not necessarily reflect the artistic direction or intention of the work. This is our interpretation as we experience it with the artists and collaborators.

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