Singapore Biennale 2016: An Atlas of Mirrors
27 October 2016 - 26 February 2017
SAM, SAM at 8Q and other venues
From where we are, how do we picture the world – and ourselves?
In charting our way around the world, humankind has relied on instruments of vision as well as navigation. Atlases map and mirror our journeys of discovery and often make visible more than just physical terrains; driven by our needs and desires, they embolden us to venture into the unknown.
From our coordinates in Southeast Asia, the arc of our shared histories encompasses East and South Asia. These regions bear the imprints of one another’s diverse cultures, even as boundaries are also constantly reimagined. Fraught and unstable, these borders are characterised by fluid movement and migration which also reflect pre-state national entities, and highlight the challenges that beset contemporary conditions.
Where navigational tools like the atlas – a compendium of maps – enable us to set our sights further afield, one instrument in particular – the mirror – brings us into that which is still so mysterious: the self. While we depend on mirrors to show us to ourselves, their reflective surfaces are not always reliable for they echo, skew, magnify and invert.
How will a coupling of an atlas and the curiosities of the mirror shift our perception of the world? Through combining the divergent literal and metaphorical characteristics of these devices, a new instrument of vision and thought is imagined, giving rise to a constellation of artistic perspectives which trace our migratory, intertwining histories and cultures.
An Atlas of Mirrors positions Southeast Asia as a vantage point through which we recognise our world anew.
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