2020/July— NUS Museum prep-room conversation online
Conversation with Johann Yasmin and Kirti Bhaskar Upadhyaya webinar started as Insta-stories at NUS Museum during Corvid lockdown.
The conversation with Johan and Kirti revolves around the time I have spent in Yogyakarta. During the lockdown in Singapore, BLM was unfolding on USA TV screens and much pointing out of Singapore Chinese privilege was on social media in SG.
Recalling how I made a video work (KungKum 2010) in Jogja and later on a long- table dinner- performance (Boxing Day, 2016) made me conscious of how I was behaving like a white man in Jogja. I was being white raja commissioning works amongst the natives, Even as my intent was seemingly "doing good" engaging on issues of feminism, and researching colonial Java.
Do I possess an exotic gaze of a white man? Did I become the white man? Having failed to be socially accepted as a gay couple in a WASPy neighbourhood in Vermont.
I intimated that I saw Raffles' year in Benkulu as a time of remorse and regret. The year he founded SG, but ran off to an island closer to Java, whose grandeur of Java aristocracy still dazzled in his mind. he knew he was the tiger in the Sultan's Rampogan spectacle, the envious wanna-be ruler of Java.
The dinner performance moved into the back burner. The Raffles furoshiki (Fallen Tigers) has also slipped as a fabrication project. Only one commodified object materialised: Minyak Ular Raffles (Raffles Snake Oil) faux labels,