Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Diary of an NUS Museum Intern | Lim Jia Yi

Note: Diary of an NUS Museum Intern is a series of blog posts written by our interns about their experiences during the course of their internships. Working alongside their mentors, our interns have waded through tons of historical research, assisted in curatorial work, pitched in during exhibition installations and organised outreach events! If you would like to become our next intern, visit our internship page for more information!  

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Lim Jia Yi is a 2nd Year student part of the University Scholars Programme, and is pursuing a double major in History and Japanese Studies. In May 2015,
 she joined us as an Education Outreach intern, assisting in the research, compilation and consolidation of our educational resources for current exhibitions and collections. In this blog post, Jia Yi shares some of her adventures at the museum, and some helpful advice for future interns.


If you enter the Museum by the Alice Lee Plaza, which looks across the road to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (Yes, the dinosaur one! No, the NUS Museum is not the dinosaur museum!), pause a moment outside the sliding doors of the NUS Museum and imagine a red-skirted registration table in front of it, stacked with exhibition catalogues and brochures. Envision exactly three clipboards with guest lists behind these stacks, and one overexcited outreach intern, ready to do her job and reach out to people coming to attend the talk (because they have to be registered). A few early birds had already arrived, and invited to check out the rest of the museum while the talk was still being set up. Suddenly, a woman marches purposefully up to the table.

Overexcited intern: “Hi, are you coming for the talk?”

Woman: “I’m giving the talk.”

-cue embarrassed apologies, question-answering, and hand waving in the general direction of the doors inviting her to go on in-

15 minutes later, a man walks past the registration table on his way into the museum.

Overexcited intern: “Hi, excuse me, are you coming for the talk later?”

Man: “Oh, my wife’s giving the talk.”

-cue more embarrassment and general hand waving-


To all future outreach interns, even if you are as bad with names and faces as this intern (which may or may not have been me) was, it might help to at least be able to match the names of speakers or guests of honour with their faces. Google is always helpful! Alternatively, try to keep either Michelle or Trina (your friendly Outreach supervisors) in eye contact at all times, so you can discreetly signal/whatsapp for help.

Reaching out to education, as part of my job scope as an Education Outreach intern.

Like many other adventures in my first year of university, the decision to apply to NUS Museum started with a simple “Ooh, that sounds interesting!”.

I am a first going on second year History student, which to many people seems to set me up for a lifetime career in teaching, dusting off yellowed books in archives (but having visited the National Archives during my internship, I can tell you that dust has absolutely no place in an archive, or a museum for that matter. Everything is carefully sealed and climate-controlled, in order to preserve the materials stored there), or digging up Stone Age axes (okay maybe not Stone Age, in Singapore). Well, beyond the fact that history is really a general degree that directs but does not limit you to certain careers, there is also museums! 

I have always been interested in visiting museums, but never understood much about how museums actually work, so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to plug that gap.

And fill it I did: this internship was a learning experience beyond the factual sense. I learnt so much about subjects ranging from ancient Singapore’s trade links with the rest of Asia, the specifics of ancient boat-building, the different types of textiles and textile patterns found in South and Southeast Asia, the missing island of Pulau Saigon, to the struggles of conservation, and people skills as I interacted with various museum-goers during outreach events.

Did you know this batik pattern of interlocking spirals is called parang rusak and was once reserved exclusively for Javanese royalty? Now used to wrap rice buckets at celebratory lunches.

A woodblock from the Museum’s collection, handily propped up for curious interns to peer at and photograph.

I am thankful for a lot of things and a lot of people during this internship: for the opportunities to learn about things and visit places I normally might not even have thought about; for the company and hilarity of my fellow interns Chen Wei, Emma, Derong, Jeanette, Venessa and Yeeting (thank you for putting up with my jokes!); and for the willingness of the friendly Museum staff to share their vast array of knowledge and experience with us or simply to chat, especially for the patience of Michelle, my supervisor, in guiding me along!

Even though the intern work desk was at the CFA Studios, I spent a fair amount of time in the Museum, helping out at outreach events and doing research. The Archaeology Library and the Library of Pulau Saigon is my favourite place in the Museum, and was probably the one place in the Museum I spent the most time in, having spent the first half of my internship researching on the objects there, the exhibitions as a whole, then writing and giving short tours of the two exhibitions. I actually wanted to be an archaeologist when I was younger, but then I realised that my career would be in ruins. During my research, I spent quite a bit of time studying the Belitung Shipwreck (also known as the Tang shipwreck due to the large quantity of Tang wares found in the ship), and considered going into marine archaeology, but then I realised it would probably sink me.

The Shipwrecks stop in my Archaeology Library tour. I didn’t wreck the tour, thankfully!

On a less punny note, I am interested in stories and identities (of people and objects), and both Libraries, especially the Library of Pulau Saigon, lend themselves to the attempt at piecing together a fragmented porthole into the past. We can never truly understand and experience how the past was even with extremely specific accounts of the past, simply because the mindset and viewpoints we bring with us are of the present, and this necessarily changes the way we see things. The stories the Libraries tell us are incomplete, much like the object themselves, but to me, this is where the fun is. If I make up a story (I don’t tell these to the tour groups, of course!) about the broken Chinese bowl having fallen off a basketful of ceramics while being transferred from the trade boat to the shore, how close to the truth am I? What if the rest of the bowl is still in the ground somewhere, buried together with Pulau Saigon? How mundane are these miscellaneous objects in Pulau Saigon, really? Must they have some special significance?

Perhaps due to the amount of time I spent researching Pulau Saigon, most of the interesting quotes I collected throughout my internship (from my research and readings) have to do with the creation of historical narratives and the mundane. My favourite one (from Debbie Ding’s Library of Pulau Saigon catalogue) reminds me why I chose to study history, and can perhaps tell you more about my internship experience with the NUS Museum.

“To consider the mundane is to be reminded that all objects have their own history, detached from the context they might be residing in at the moment, a context that can be unravelled and deconstructed.

I could tell you stories about these objects.”

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Diary of an NUS Museum Intern | Lin Derong

Note: Diary of an NUS Museum Intern is a series of blog posts written by our interns about their experiences during the course of their internships. Working alongside their mentors, our interns have waded through tons of historical research, assisted in curatorial work, pitched in during exhibition installations and organised outreach events! If you would like to become our next intern, visit our internship page for more information!  

 

Lin Derong will be a 3rd year Architecture student at the NUS School of Design and Environment. In May 2015, he joined the NUS Baba House as a Baba House Conservation Intern to conduct research on the notes, images, drawings from the Baba House conservation project to put together a display highlighting the conservation work that had been carried out from 2006-2008. In this blogpost, Derong 


When I received the task for this job, it was a single liner: Conservation Intern: To perform research studies on the conservation works done to the house from 2006-2008 with the aims for an exhibition. To reduce this further into 2 words, I am tasked to exhibit conservation, which I thought was interesting: conservation + curatorial. Before I go any further, perhaps I need to introduce myself a little first. I applied for this job after finishing my 2 foundational years of architecture education. As design students, we are trained to be sensitive towards site and context. Singapore is land scarce but we are rich in heritage and we are not a Tabula Rasa (Koolhas, Singapore Songlines, 1998). Conservation itself is a contestable topic and it gets interesting as our island state progresses beyond modernity. I thus set out in search for the meaning and definition of conservation in Singapore.


Conservation – conserve for what? For nostalgia, for memories, for culture, for heritage? In conventional circles, the word itself has a connotation of the old, being garang guni and boringly unnecessary. Thus, this internship at 157 Neil Road provided me the context to study conservation.

During this 12 weeks stint at 157 Neil Road, I had the opportunity to work with the Baba House Curator, Foo Su Ling, to conceive an exhibition based on the conservation works of Baba House. It demands quite a bit of independent work – which is an important soft skill for architecture school. It would also require me to understand the house first and to fully immerse in the context before creating something else for it.

[Beyond monumentality and staged dramas, there is a challenging understanding of local heritage. This is a house where someone lived here before….there are traces of existence…this house is subjected to vicissitudes of time and context. (Lilian Chee, 2009, essay domesticity and monumentality, from the exhibition “of fingerbowls and hankies”)]

I got to experience the whole process of conceiving this project from scratch to something. There was a lot learnt and I would say it was in 2 stages: research and design. I would share them with you in brief.

The first stage of this internship entails readings – lots of it, from articles, legal documents, emails, contracts, meeting minutes, accounts, reports, videos, images et cetera dating from 2005 onwards. Basically it was purely research. During architecture school last semester, we had a curatorial exercise where design deadline was in 6 days. So we had to cramp everything for completion and any extra time given to research was luxury. However, this first stage lasted a month this time. It was a period of rediscovery. There were tons of background work being done to the house and there were a myriad of methodology adopted during the conservation and restoration process. It gave me a further understanding of the house beyond what was already presented. I admit that I was rather lost initially and I had no idea what I was producing other than relentless reading and amassing all these documents about the house.


However, the ultimate aim for this research is to come up with an exhibition about it. That was the design brief. Conservation itself, as I mentioned earlier, is misunderstood in my opinion. This exhibition is aim to bring all these works into public acknowledgement and credit. The questions here is that with all these masses of works done, methodologies and different parties of people involved, how do we exactly exhibit them all to people. The majority of the population understands the house with respect to its Peranakan culture. It is the soft cultural landscape that is in general public interest. Very little credit is given to acknowledge that it is the physical house and architecture that frames this culture. Architecture affects people subconsciously and with this we would like to bring it forward – to see the house again from another perspective, from its hard landscape. Other questions would also be how to present the “Science” of conservation that is not only helpful for researches but also generates a general public appeal.

The second stage is to “curate” or rather put these documents together. With the existing information, things would have to be put into broader perspective, to question what conservation really is. As traces of a large cultural existence, things are conserved not only for nostalgia sake – but because they have values and knowledge for us, for us to progress and for us to learn so that we could apply it in the future. There is within conservation these embedded values. From the information gathered during stage 1 research, conservation doesn’t end with the restoration and renovation. It is a never ending learning process as we progress. In addition, even the actual works are incomplete around the house. For example, the wall murals at the air well are still pending colour and 3D-motif restoration. Technology will constantly evolve and its works will be in progress. This leaves the conserved house to be in a constant state of flux.


Thus, after having all these information, what came out is the idea of presenting conservation as a process from the point of view from the different parties involved. A factual presentation was not needed as what is already done to the house, is done, it is evident around the house. Instead, it entails dialogues from various people while welcoming further studies to be added on. Fast forwarding, this exhibition Discover –Uncover–Recover: Studies at 157 Neil Road is envisaged where students, researchers and industry professionals are invited to propose and engage with the house while utilizing existing information from the conservation works. This conservation gallery is opened up for other interpretations of the house where different people with different subject matter of interest could add on to or invite debates to the knowledge pool. The gallery thus becomes a study laboratory with simultaneous studies running instead of a static conventional display exhibition. This house now thus embodies not only the Peranakan domesticity, but also open knowledge.


All in all, throughout this process of conceiving this exhibition, I guess I answered my question a little bit about what conservation means and the works behind it. In brief, it has been a fruitful 12 weeks. I am appreciative (I would mention this again) to be given this rare opportunity to work with Su Ling to conceive this exhibition. Curatorship is a rigorous exercise and I am grateful to be under her guidance and she gave me a chance to hone my graphic skills and sensitivity during the design period. I would like thank her for her kindness and creative trust during this process. The ability to work independently was greatly demanded as well and I am glad that I harnessed it a little bit more and learnt a little bit more about myself. I would not say that I have the perfect definition of conservation, but at least I think I understand it better than before and it would definitely be useful to my design processes in future. Knowing what exactly we need to conserve, why to conserve and how to conserve is an integral part of retaining and developing Singapore’s culture. We are neither a Tabula Rasa nor an artificial nostalgia of the past, and therefore for Singapore, conservation is.

p.s. special thanks to Michelle and all other fellow interns during this period – Emma, Jeanette, Jia Yi, Chen Wei, Venessa and Yee Ting – for the lunches, cupcakes talks and the saba parties.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Diary of an NUS Museum Intern | Jeanette Tan

Note: Diary of an NUS Museum Intern is a series of blog posts written by our interns about their experiences during the course of their internships. Working alongside their mentors, our interns have waded through tons of historical research, assisted in curatorial work, pitched in during exhibition installations and organised outreach events! If you would like to become our next intern, visit our internship page for more information!  

 

Jeanette Tan will be a 4th year History student at the NTU School of Humanities and Social Sciences. In May 2015, she joined us as a Museum Outreach Intern where she worked on organising and executing outreach programmes, research and development of content for online and offline platforms. In this blog post, she ponders on the "where/what/whom is she reaching out to" during the course of this internship.


I’ll be honest—I’ve been putting off doing this blog entry for the longest time. Not because I don’t find joy or fulfilment or any of the wonderful things that come with the end of a rewarding experience, but precisely because of said joy and fulfilment and wonder that I feel towards this internship that I am finding so difficult and frustrating to extract from the visceral, and to translate them into the decidedly more cerebral domain of words. What strikes me next is how this strange tension/ambivalence that I am experiencing now is perhaps emblematic of my experiences of art as a whole—how I feel and enjoy it aesthetically, and yet, the accompanying anxiety that almost always tags itself with me trying worriedly to understand it “correctly” and “meaningfully”. This is a persistent issue that I believe I, and other non art-critics/ art students, consistently face when encountering the seemingly highbrow world of art. After spending almost 3 months as a Museum Outreach intern, I can safely say that although I have not come anywhere close to pondering intellectually about the art histories of Ng Eng Teng or Cheong Soo Pieng, I would like to think that I have now at least scraped the surface of understanding the skills and strategies required towards thoughtfully communicating an exhibition to a wider audience, by way of public programmes that complement these curated exhibitions.

At the beginning of the internship, one of the main questions that were provoked during curatorial tours and reading programmes, was the issue of exactly who the NUS Museum was reaching out to? In other words, what was the branding of the Museum and what sorts of people do we want visiting the museum? Was it the “general” public at large? Art lovers and/or an academic crowd? Eventually, upon conversations with curators and my outreach supervisors, the answer that seems to be teased out was that the NUS Museum’s primary crowd would be students and lecturers—members of an academic community. To this end, as a Museum Outreach intern, my main job expectation was to engage participants of the Museum in meaningful and interesting ways, by way of helping to conceptualise and execute programmes such as talks, workshops, and film screenings, as well as generate written publicity material. I see the Outreach team as effectively managing the “middle men” role between understanding the workings of curatorial minds, and translating these complex and dynamic ideas into a manner that suits the purposes and usages of its audience.


Of course, this all sounds like very important and serious desk-bound things to do, which no doubt all adds to an enriching experience for an intern, but on some days, us outreach interns get whisked off to the museum to help out with wardening guided visits and school tours too! These are not only great fun because you get to interact with people ranging from adorable young schoolchildren, all wide-eyed with wonder and natural curiosity, to tertiary students and university professors, invigorating in their thirst to further academic knowledge. This is immensely fulfilling because it is nice to see people be genuinely interested and pondering about art, and honestly, the best sort of workplace fulfilment there is (well at least for me). One of the more memorable times I can recall about these school tours was an overseas visit by a Hong Kong high school. Without warning, me and a fellow Outreach intern, Jiayi, got suddenly roped in to assist as interview subjects to the high school students. This was intimidating to say the least, because there we were, two shy interns, having to be interviewed impromptu about our lifestyles as Singaporean students, and be thrust into an uncomfortable position of temporary-role-models reflecting studious and well-adjusted university undergraduates.

There we were, standing awkwardly, flanked by Hong Kong high school students eager to ask questions.

I jest. It is not all that terrifying most of the time.

In happier times, talking about textiles to the girls from Marymount Convent School!

Apart from observing tours and school visits, I also helped out with writing content for both online and offline platforms. I was tasked to write an article about the opportunities available at the NUS Museum for Artzone, a print publication produced by the NUS Centre For the Arts. This was particularly interesting for me as I had the task of interviewing two former NUS Museum interns who had written their honours thesis sparked off from interest towards the research they had done during the course of their internship. As an undergraduate student about to embark on her final-year thesis, this definitely struck a chord with me. I also enjoyed researching about the history of the NUS Museum and using this information to write an Infopedia page on the NUS Museum, which I hope, will generate interest and awareness of such an underrated treasure as the NUS Museum.

Once, I even helped out as a reception staff!

I would like to think of my time as an outreach intern as having the privilege of attending a buffet table of ideas, experiences, and conversations—at the end of the buffet, I feel extremely stuffed, satisfied, but yet still craving for more the next time. Benefitting from the company of really interesting and bright young interns (Emma, Derong, Jia Yi, Venessa, Yee Ting) also enriched this journey. These are friendships and newly-built networks that have become valuable to me. Not to end this entry on a cliched note, but this experience has honestly opened up my eyes to the industry; the ways and workings of museology. I may have left my internship at the NUS Museum, but I definitely will continue to explore opportunities into art and heritage!


To read Jeanette's article in the latest issue of Artzone, copies are available at the NUS Museum, University Cultural Centre, and CFA / OSA brochure stands around campus! 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Heritage Community Series | Herbs, Spices, Fruits & Flowers: What goes into the Peranakan cooking pot?

Blending of spices, galangal, turmeric and shallots in a mortar and pestle.
Image courtesy of Mr Louis Chan.

Date: 19 August 2015, Wednesday 
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Venue: NUS Baba House

FULLY REGISTERED
Limited to 30 pax. To register, email babahouse@nus.edu.sg

CLICK TO ACCESS EFLYER

Discover the variety of ingredients that goes into the Peranakan cooking pot. These fresh and dried herbs, spices, fruits and flowers may include tiny but potent purple shallots, tart and sour green baby starfruits, sticky and sappy unripe jackfruit, and deep indigo blue pea flowers. Come and listen to Peranakan cook and archivist, Louis Chan, as he shares with us his journey into the world of Peranakan cooking and the use of these ingredients. There will also be a short demonstration on how spices are traditionally prepared in a pestle and mortar. 

About the speaker 
Louis Chan is a sixth-generation Peranakan with roots in Malacca but was born and bred in Singapore. He has a keen interest in authentic Peranakan cooking and has been learning the art from his senior family members and friends for the past three decades. He is especially interested in documenting and replicating dishes & snacks as they were originally prepared a bygone generation of Nonyas. A lawyer by profession, nothing delights Louis more than to cook and serve traditional Peranakan food to family and friends. 

About the Heritage Community Series 
Encouraged by the growing community of Singaporeans actively committed to exploring history and raising cultural awareness, the Heritage Community Series is introduced as a platform where independent researchers, heritage enthusiasts and collectors share their encounters, perspectives and experiences.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Diary of an NUS Museum Intern | Chua Chen Wei

Note: Diary of an NUS Museum Intern is a series of blog posts written by our interns about their experiences during the course of their internships. Working alongside their mentors, our interns have waded through tons of historical research, assisted in curatorial work, pitched in during exhibition installations and organised outreach events! If you would like to become our next intern, visit our internship page for more information! 

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Chua Chen Wei is a 1st year NUS student at the Faculty of Arts and Social Science. In May 2015, she joined the NUS Baba House team as an Outreach intern, assisting in the conceptualisation and execution of Baba House Outreach programmes, and learning how to conduct heritage tours for the Baba House. In this blog post, she reflects about her internship experience over the past summer.


Starting a post like this is always difficult, how does one even begin to summarize as amazing an experience as this internship? Having been given the opportunity to meet so many interesting (and by interesting, I mean crazy) interns, the chance to work alongside the most patient and thoughtful colleagues, as well as the chance to be involved in so many enriching activities, I have truly enjoyed and grown so much from being the Outreach Intern for the NUS Baba House.

This internship has not only opened my eyes to how a heritage house is run behind the scenes, but it has also given me a fresh look into the curatorial process adopted by the museum.  But on top of that, one of the most fun things about this internship was conducting heritage tours for the Baba House. Being both a warden and a guide gave me a look into what goes into the day-to-day upkeep of a heritage house. From the smaller artefacts, to the big pieces of furniture and even the very walls of the house, every little detail was treated with the utmost care and respect. And a house such as the Baba House, not only requires such treatment, but deserves it as well.  


In preparation for the tours, not only was I able to dig deeper into Peranakan culture, and discover more about this unique facet of Singapore’s history, but I was able to share my knowledge with people from all over the world as well. Seeing the looks of wonder on the faces of our visitors always reminds me to treasure the rich history and heritage we have locally, and to not take any of it for granted. To learn to look at the familiar with the curiosity and interest of someone seeing it for the first time was one of the most rewarding takeaways from this whole journey with NUS Museum.


In addition to the tours, I was also involved in the various events held at Baba House, such as the book launch for the two new publications Inherited and Salvaged, as well as Peranakan Communities in the Era of Decolonization and Globalization (available for sale at the NUS Museum). For the book launch, there was an exhibition set up in Baba House displaying the portraits that were used in the book, and being involved in the setting up of the exhibition really opened my eyes to what the preparation process is like for a small exhibition.

The amount of detail and care the curator, Su Ling, put into setting up the whole space just goes to show how much effort and thought is needed to see an exhibition like this come to fruition. From the placements of the portraits, to the pasting of the wall text, to the lighting and logistics, every detail was thoroughly planned and executed. Many a time, Su Ling would not hesitate to request something be redone if it was even just slightly below her standards, and to me, this sort of perfectionism and attention to detail is very inspiring; it shows an earnest pride and a fierce commitment to one’s work that moves me to want to apply this same work ethic in any project I take on in the future.


This internship was rewarding in so many more ways than just the job scope, the people I got to meet and the conversations I had with them broadened my horizons in understanding what museology means to different people. The Reading Programme was particularly meaningful, as not only were the discussions with the fellow interns and Michelle really intriguing as we explored the history and the role of a university museum, but we also got to meet and talk to different curators with different scopes of interest.

Though I was not directly involved into any of the curatorial processes in NUS Museum, meeting these curators allowed me a glimpse into their artistic thought process as they conceptualize and set up the exhibitions. This opportunity was invaluable to me as I feel that this curatorial spirit is not just applicable in the museum setting, but also in many other aspects of life. The interpretation of material that they are presented with, as well as the presentation of that material to a certain audience, are essential skills that are useful in both one’s personal and work life. Having the chance to talk to so many creative minds, I realize how one-dimensional my previous impression of the curatorial process was, and while I can’t say I am an expert now, this internship has really opened my eyes to the nitty-gritty that goes on throughout the whole process.

In addition to this, I also had the chance to participate in the execution of other events under NUS Museum, such as the Children’s Season. For the Children’s Season, though it was tiring, with all the setting up and subsequent cleaning up, it was really delightful seeing children and parents coming together to do something together. It is particularly rewarding when you get to see the kids not only have fun doing the activities, but also learn to appreciate the art they are learning about. It was awesome being able to witness first hand the results of what museum outreach is supposed to achieve: a greater awareness and appreciation of the arts.

I was fortunate enough to get the chance to participate a little bit in one of the activities, and though my final artwork was no masterpiece, it was an enjoyable and meaningful experience nonetheless. Here I am looking like a proud parent, showing off my mediocre calligraphy; I was obviously oblivious to the teachings of the calligraphy master who was leading the class. 


All in all, this internship has been hugely rewarding in so many ways. And it would not have been nearly as great without the people whom I have had the honour of meeting through these 3 months. Poonam and Fadhly, if you guys read this, you guys have been my heroes. Thank you both for being so patient with me, and basically being the best supervisors anyone could ask for. Su Ling, your dedication to your work and your generosity to those around you never ceases to amaze me. Michelle, thank you for arranging so many interesting activities for us interns, they really helped to broaden our horizons and get greater exposure to the Singaporean art scene. And of course, this internship would not have been the same without my fellow interns, Emma, Jeanette, Jiayi, Jean-Pierre, and not forgetting Yeeting, Venessa and Linh. Lame jokes and delirious crying aside, you guys are seriously the best. As clich├ęd as it sounds, this internship passed in a blink of an eye, and I could not have wished for a better experience anywhere else. Baba House, I’ll be back!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Malaya Black & White | Wit's End (M18)




Register: witsend.peatix.com

*Film is M18. Patrons under 18 will not be permitted entry. Age check will be conducted at the door; please bring a valid photo ID for verification purposes.

Sporadically released to US drive-ins and grindhouses in the mid-70s and then retitled G.I Executioner by Troma in the ‘80s, when it became something of a VHS hit, this bizarre independent film was actually shot in Singapore in December 1969. It’s based on a story by American war correspondents (Ian Ward and Keith Lorenz) hoping for an update of Casablanca for the Vietnam-era. Instead, in the hands of notorious purveyor of perverse schlock, Joel M. Reed, it’s a dire mish-mash of spy movie cliches, Ed Wood-level performances and shameless sexploitation, with a strain of homophobia that reaches hysterical levels. A demented ‘bad movie’ masterpiece and an extraordinary portrait of a city desperate to be in the movies. You have been warned!

This screening is part of the 'Beyond Saint Jack' segment under the NUS Museum's Malaya Black & White film series.

About ‘Beyond Saint Jack’ - The strange cinematic visitors of Singapore and Malaya
Singapore/Malaya’s heyday of foreign production from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s led to a motley filmography of B-movies, commercial disasters, miscellaneous TV episodes, lost films and bizarre curios. While they resist canonisation, these films are a fascinating portal into how the region was perceived by the rest of the world both before and after the end of the colonial era; and the eagerness for Singapore and Malaysia to be represented and acknowledged by the West. A recurring motif of their narratives is the Western visitor in Singapore. This season of 10 films showcases the predecessors and descendants of Saint Jack (1979): old hands, good men, legal aliens, rugged individualists, ex-soldiers, detectives, has-beens and rock stars. Characters who have found themselves ensnared in traps beyond their control, stumbled across exotic, bewildering cultures, or entered zones of erotic possibility.

Beyond Saint Jack is guest-curated by author and critic Ben Slater, who will be present to introduce and discuss each film.


About Ben Slater

Ben Slater is the author of Kinda Hot: The Making of Saint Jack in Singapore (2006), a major contributor to World Film Locations: Singapore (2014) and the editor of 25: Histories and Memories of the Singapore International Film Festival (2014). He’s also the co-screenwriter of the feature film Camera (2014) and a Lecturer at the School of Art, Media and Design, Nanyang Technological University.

To find out more about the Malaya Black & White project, please go tohttps://malayablackandwhite.wordpress.com/

Friday, 31 July 2015

Grounded Conversations | A stroll through dense green with Hong Sek Chern


Date: Saturday, 15 August 2015
Time: 2.30 - 4pm
Venue: NUS Museum

CLICK TO ACCESS EFLYER

CLICK TO ACCESS FACEBOOK EVENT 
Free admission with registration at http://densegreen.peatix.com.

Held in-conjunction with the ongoing exhibition, Scholars & Ink: Artists from NUS and the Alumni, NUS Museum presents A stroll through dense green by participating artist Hong Sek Chern, part of the Grounded Conversations series. The talk's title was derived from the title of a painting Dense Green Covering the Spring Mountain by Ming Dynasty painter Dai Jin. Using this as a starting point, Sek Chern will initiate a walk through some key ideas within the genre of traditional Chinese ink landscape painting and the artist's negotiation of past tradition with current concerns. The Scholars & Ink exhibition runs till 23 August 2015.

About the speaker
Hong Sek Chern graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 1995 with a Diploma in Fine Art and from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 1998 with an MA in Fine Art. She is interested in exploring various themes within urban settings in her paintings and likes to work with various painting media such as traditional Chinese ink, oil and acrylic so as to explore the painterly qualities these mediums offer.

About the Grounded Conversations series
Presenting a series of distinct projects on how art practitioners have begun to adopt comprehensive paradigms in their fieldwork methods traditionally associated with anthropological and historical research, Grounded Conversations brings together practitioners from the contemporary art world to unravel this ‘anthropological turn’.

Image: Detail of Dai Jin's Dense Green Covering the Spring Mountains, hanging scroll, ink on paper, 141 x 53.4cm, collection of Shanghai Museum.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Conservation & Restoration of 157 Neil Road | Preserving the 19th Century Townhouse Architecture

CLICK TO ACCESS E-FLYER

Date: 5 August 2015, Wednesday 
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Venue: NUS Baba House

EVENT IS FULL
Limited to 45 pax. To register, email babahouse@nus.edu.sg

Have you ever wondered about what it takes to restore a delicate heritage building like the NUS Baba House? How does one balance between conserving the house, while meeting the needs of its intended new role, and aspirations of its community? 6 years after its opening, what are the on-going challenges in maintaining this heritage house into the future?

Come and hear about the challenges and the processes first hand, from Mr Kelvin Ang of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), who was the conservation consultant for the house. NUS and the URA were the architectural, engineering and conservation partners for the restoration project.

About the speaker

Mr Kelvin Ang is currently URA;s Director of Conservation Management. He has a decade of experience in both architecture and conservation planning. URA is Singapore' national planning authority, which included planning for urban conservation. He obtained his Graduate Diploma in the Built Environment (Architecture), and subsequently an MSc. in Sustainable Heritage, at the Bartlett School, University College London , UK.

Kelvin has led a multi-disciplinary team to deliver several successful projects covering research, planning and policy matters. His current portfolio includes the cultivation of greater awareness of our conserved built heritage, as well as enforcement work.

Malaya Black & White | The Virgin Soldiers (M18)



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*Film is M18. Patrons under 18 will not be permitted entry. Age check will be conducted at the door; please bring a valid photo ID for verification purposes.

The Hollywood studios’ flirtation with shooting in Singapore began with Pretty Polly in 1966 and ended with The Virgin Soldiers in 1969. This time the literary source was Leslie Thomas’s raunchy, pacifist bestseller about loose-end recruits sweating out the Malayan Emergency. Here, an angelic Hywel Bennett plays Brigg, the innocent serviceman, caught up in love, lust, boredom, and eventually violence in Singapore and across the causeway. It was shot in Selerang Barracks and Chinatown in Singapore and Port Dixon in Malaysia. The novel’s episodic structure and matter-of-fact approach to the horror of war proves tricky to translate, but for a film usually marketed as a broad comedy (and there’s plenty of that), it has a powerful anti-war message.


This screening is part of the 'Beyond Saint Jack' segment under the NUS Museum's Malaya Black & White film series.

About ‘Beyond Saint Jack’ - The strange cinematic visitors of Singapore and Malaya
Singapore/Malaya’s heyday of foreign production from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s led to a motley filmography of B-movies, commercial disasters, miscellaneous TV episodes, lost films and bizarre curios. While they resist canonisation, these films are a fascinating portal into how the region was perceived by the rest of the world both before and after the end of the colonial era; and the eagerness for Singapore and Malaysia to be represented and acknowledged by the West. A recurring motif of their narratives is the Western visitor in Singapore. This season of 10 films showcases the predecessors and descendants of Saint Jack (1979): old hands, good men, legal aliens, rugged individualists, ex-soldiers, detectives, has-beens and rock stars. Characters who have found themselves ensnared in traps beyond their control, stumbled across exotic, bewildering cultures, or entered zones of erotic possibility.

Beyond Saint Jack is guest-curated by author and critic Ben Slater, who will be present to introduce and discuss each film.


About Ben Slater

Ben Slater is the author of Kinda Hot: The Making of Saint Jack in Singapore (2006), a major contributor to World Film Locations: Singapore(2014) and the editor of 25: Histories and Memories of the Singapore International Film Festival (2014). He’s also the co-screenwriter of the feature film Camera (2014) and a Lecturer at the School of Art, Media and Design, Nanyang Technological University.

To find out more about the Malaya Black & White project, please go tohttps://malayablackandwhite.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Malaya Black & White | Paper Tiger


Register: papertiger.peatix.com

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Made during the peak of the 1970s ‘adventure movie’ boom, where motley groupings of ageing Hollywood stars got rugged with machine guns in semi-forgettable films, often shot in exotic locales. Here, the backdrop is Malaysia, fictionalised as ‘Kulagong’, and the stars are David Niven and Toshiro Mifune, in a story about an ex-soldier turned child’s tutor who’s forced by circumstance to prove whether he is the man he claims to be. The director, Ken Annakin, was returning to Malaysia as a setting two decades after he made the Malayan Emergency melodrama, The Planter’s Wife, and the film’s soundtrack is by jazz piano supremo Roy Budd.


This screening is part of the 'Beyond Saint Jack' segment under the NUS Museum's Malaya Black & White film series.

About ‘Beyond Saint Jack’ - The strange cinematic visitors of Singapore and Malaya
Singapore/Malaya’s heyday of foreign production from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s led to a motley filmography of B-movies, commercial disasters, miscellaneous TV episodes, lost films and bizarre curios. While they resist canonisation, these films are a fascinating portal into how the region was perceived by the rest of the world both before and after the end of the colonial era; and the eagerness for Singapore and Malaysia to be represented and acknowledged by the West. A recurring motif of their narratives is the Western visitor in Singapore. This season of 10 films showcases the predecessors and descendants of Saint Jack (1979): old hands, good men, legal aliens, rugged individualists, ex-soldiers, detectives, has-beens and rock stars. Characters who have found themselves ensnared in traps beyond their control, stumbled across exotic, bewildering cultures, or entered zones of erotic possibility.

Beyond Saint Jack is guest-curated by author and critic Ben Slater, who will be present to introduce and discuss each film.


About Ben Slater

Ben Slater is the author of Kinda Hot: The Making of Saint Jack in Singapore (2006), a major contributor to World Film Locations: Singapore(2014) and the editor of 25: Histories and Memories of the Singapore International Film Festival (2014). He’s also the co-screenwriter of the feature film Camera (2014) and a Lecturer at the School of Art, Media and Design, Nanyang Technological University.

To find out more about the Malaya Black & White project, please go tohttps://malayablackandwhite.wordpress.com/