While the word ‘biennial’ might conjure up ideas of a big-budget arts festival, in this case, it’s merely a travelling seven-artist collaborative project headed by Japanese artist Takuji Kogo under his umbrella *Candy Factory Projects. To be fair, it happens every two years – this edition is the first year it’s come to Singapore – but grandiose names seem to be a theme at the Private ‘Museum’ (itself really just a mid-sized private gallery space).
The Kitakyushu exhibition is split into three parts during the show’s two-month duration and provides a platform for Kogo to partner with artists from other countries; and given what we’ve seen thus far, we hope the later segments get more interesting. The first segment (until 22 April) featured a series of silent video projections and a series of audio-texts screened on loop – artists paired with Kogo include Charles Lim (Singapore), Federico Baronello (Italy), John Miller (USA) and Mike Bode (Sweden). The projections feature various mundane scenes repeated continuously, such as in Bode and Kogo’s ‘Blueberry Land’, depicting blueberry pickers. More projections will be unveiled in the exhibition’s second segment (until 13 May), including a piece entitled ‘Beaches’ by Lim and Kogo.
Slightly more interesting is the audio component, ‘Desktop Music’, which features music composed by Kogo based on text provided by the partnering artist – mostly found from various media sources. The lyrics are recited in a monotonous electronic voice while the text is projected onto a screen in the gallery’s cosy alcove. Lim is featured in three of the audio pieces, including one titled ‘The Foreign Domestic Worker Shall Not Get Married in Singapore’, featuring words found in domestic-worker transcripts to classified ads seeking accountants.
More ‘Desktop Music’ pieces and video works will be presented in the final two segments, from 23 April-13 May and 14-27 May. We’re hoping there will be more to engage the viewer in these instalments; the first segment lacks critical views or discursive elements on the subject matter presented, with the emphasis seeming to be placed on the use of multimedia itself, rather than its content. Tania De Rozario