Goethe-Institut Singapore presents ╡║╞ Studies of Automobility, a solo exhibition by Bruce Quek, as part of the second phase of projects presented at 136 GOETHE LAB. A ponderous dance of vast, multi-lane intersections; twirling, intersecting ribbons of overpasses and underbridges. This is the landscape of automobility, a chorus in concrete, asphalt, and steel. Approaching these structures in mute incomprehension, ╡║╞ is an attempt to understand this dream of fossil-fueled speed.
In 2014, at the launch of the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the goal of a “Car-Lite Singapore”, and the need to develop, promote, and make convenient other modes of transport. He remarked, ‘We have to rely less on cars on the roads because we cannot keep on building roads—more roads for more cars”.
What the Prime Minister did not say–but could be reasonably inferred—is that our reliance on cars, and the consequent need for more roads, have relegated the development of infrastructures for other modes of travel, making them less convenient than they could be. National goals and strategic planning aside, decades of automobile-centricity have become inalienable from our experience of the built environment.
Through a series of composite photographic prints and audio recordings of traffic structures, ╡║╞ captures the disorientation often faced by the non-automobile-enabled when experiencing our hyperurbanised built environment.
“It’s a feeling I’d get now and then, when wandering the city. As if I’d slipped seamlessly into a parallel world where life has wheels, not legs. It happens that I’d heard of RECONNECT at roughly the same time, which turned into quite the opportunity to try and translate that feeling,” says the artist Bruce Quek.
╡║╞ is the final presentation of a series of projects supported under RECONNECT, an open call held last year for incubation projects and new bodies of work; applicants were offered the use of 136 GOETHE LAB to present or develop their projects. Open calls are the Goethe-Institut Singapore’s programme direction for new project 136 GOETHE LAB. Director of the institute, Dr. Martin Wälde, says, “The open call is a way for us to offer this space to the local arts community, as well a platform to discover and present innovative and exciting research through the field of culture.”
╡║╞ Studies of Automobility runs from 30th June to 17th July 2022 at 136 GOETHE LAB, at 136 Neil Road. More information available on their website here