Flat Earth is a personal reflection on the tension between buildings’ corporeality and transience in Singapore. A persistent belief in the need for constant urban renewal to optimise scarce land means that demolition is the default fate for most buildings, sometimes prematurely so. Much like the oddly enduring conviction that the earth is flat, despite evidence to the contrary, this belief continues to underpin and shape our ‘pragmatic’ approach to buildings.
The vessel is a memorial for the buildings going and long gone from the cityscape. An uneasy collage of architectural fragments from these buildings united in a translucent hourglass form, play on the idea of a building as crystallisation. The work subverts the central role of sand in the construction of a building – literally, in its material origins of sand, and metaphorically, as a manifestation of its designer and developer’s visions. A juxtaposition of photographs showing monolithic sand stockpiles provides a backdrop to the piece, and a film showing the steady flow of sand through the vessel to mark time passing, symbolise the inherent contradiction for buildings in Singapore: that their apparent physical permanence always anticipates their inevitable dematerialisation, illustrating the unstoppable cycle of life and death for buildings.
Installation within the Private Museum, Singapore, as part of 3+3+3: On Condition. (Curated by Andrea Fam)