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Art What!: Sea Currents and Synchronicities 2020 at the Substation (Singapore) and The Lobby (Perth)

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Jen Datu⁣. 2020. Lost in translation (detail). Karaoke microphone, iridescent curtain. Dimensions variable

The inaugural edition of cross-country arts festival Sea Currents x Synchronicities (ScxS) will take place across Perth and Singapore from 16th to 30th September 2020. ScxS aims to explore and build on connections and synchronicities between the arts communities in Singapore and Perth through a collaborative series of events. Aimed at exploring the future of creative work under the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisers hope that the festival spurs Perth and Singaporean cultural connections, colonial histories, and provides a seed for future potential reimagining.

Shauna Goh, Raw. 2017. Matilda Bay, Perth

As Arundhati Roy writes in her essay ‘The Pandemic is a Portal’, “… Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks, and dead ideas, our dead rivers, and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it …”

With that in mind, ScxS was formed as a means to reimagine the world around us in relation to how COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. The programme will also be held in partnership with Cherish by her and beinthe.SPACE. Cherish by Her, previously known as AFBATT, was established in 2018 by Shauna Goh. Goh currently collects works by contemporary female creatives presented in ground-up initiatives, and hopes to embolden and elevate the work of another through cultural observations and facilitating a positive impact on emerging art practitioners. Goh is also the brainchild behind the ScxS arts festival.⁣

Jen Datu, Endless Grind. 2020. Video still. ⁣

Australian-Filipino performance/installation artist Jen Datu and photography/mixed-media Singaporean artist Akai Chew’s works will take centrestage at this inaugural edition of ScxS. Datu’s practice is informed by personal experiences and observations that arise from social engagements, and utilises Fluxus principals to examine the systems and superstructures that lie below the surface of the everyday, curiously questioning and reflecting upon the use of body gestures and familiar forms, most recently in environments of employment and how our readings of spaces and culture critically affect how we perform and interact with one another. ⁣Chew’s practice and interests involves cartography, psychogeography and urban exploring, and has previously exhibited at 8Q SAM, The Substation and VADA in Singapore, as well as the Powerhouse Gallery in Launceston and Dark MOFO / Panopticon II in Hobart. ⁣⁣

Sea Currents and Synchronicities 2020 simultaneously runs at the Substation (Singapore) and The Lobby (Perth) from 16th to 30th September 2020. For more information, visit their respective social media pages here (The Substation) and here (The Lobby)

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