2014, Time-Stamp Machine, cards, instruction sheet, Machine 15 x 16 x 19 cm, Cards 10.5 x 7.5 cm

By KAREN YEH, National Junior College, Art Teacher

The viewer enters the site and sees the time-stamp machine. He or she draws a card from the stack and stamps the date/time of arrival to the exhibition. Before leaving the site, the viewer stamps the card again, and brings the card away as a physical record of the date and time spent at the exhibition space.

Intrigued by the means through which institutions attempt to collect data and assess the audience-ship of exhibitions, this work questions and expands the qualification of cultural impact on the general public. Moving beyond quantitative measures, dialogues that transpired between and within individuals in reaction to the art experienced would be more telling indicatives of the extent of success of hyphens one forges with concepts, aesthetic appreciation, personal and collective histories as well as values or beliefs.

Here the viewer is invited to extend his or her memory, dialogues and thoughts over the duration spent at the exhibition space by bringing away a part of this work that memorialises the in-between. Subverting the institutional practice of analysing collective data to qualify cultural impact with this fragmentation of data amongst individual viewers, the viewersultimately continue more meaningful processes of hyphenation outside of the exhibition space with their personal slices of data.

Lesson Ideas for Untitled (Time-Stamp Machine) (2014) by Karen Yeh

This lesson is suitable for students in: Junior College One/Two

Name of artwork: Untitled (Time-Stamp Machine)

Name of artist: Karen Yeh

School: National Junior College

Possible Guiding Questions


1. What do you see or recognize in this artwork?

2. What would you consider the medium of the work to be?

3. Where do you think the time-stamp machine is usually found?


4. How is the site relevant to the artwork?

5. What aspect of Singapore culture does it remind you of? Why?

6. What do the cards and the viewers’ format of interaction with the artwork remind you of? How do you relate to it?


7. What puzzles you about the work? Whatelse do you think is happening in this artwork?

8. What do you think is significant about the act of taking the card away?

9. Why do you suppose the artist made the artwork? Was it in reaction to something? What are the possible issues or ideas involved?

Possible Elegant Art Tasks

Starting point: artist as origin

In this lesson idea, students could be asked to think aboutperformance art, and time-based media. By exploring the works by Teh Ching Hsieh, Erwin Wurm, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, and Karen Yeh, discuss the motive behind the making, and the social issues that drive them. A possible elegant art task could be:

Construct an interactive situation using found objects and text to address ONE concern you have with an aspect of Singapore culture.

Points to note:

– Identify your concern through reflecting on personal museum or gallery visiting experiences

– Justify your use of materials

– Propose specific situation(s) in which viewers are going to encounter your work

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