As we become better at counting minutes, are we getting better at making the minutes count? – Matthew
What others tell you may be important, but what really matters is what you tell yourself. – Matthew
A mild-mannered and well-spoken individual, Matthew’s work and personality seem to perfectly fit his subtheme of MINUTE in aedge 2019. Detailed instructions just clear enough to avoid severe confusion line a wall of his exhibit’s booth, with guests standing mesmerised by the blinking dots on the opposite wall in a programme he coded himself. His self-admitted willingness to both teach and learn alongside his students earns him an entire group of them enthusiastically dashing into the vernissage event, excitedly calling his name. Surrounded by his students, smiling brightly amidst shouts of “Mr Lim!”, it is not hard to see how his role as an Art teacher suits him well.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
STAR: Why did you choose the subject matter of time? What was the process of figuring out how the work would take shape?
Matthew: We are all living within dimensions of space and time. For anyone who is interested in ideas – big and small – it is difficult not to wonder about time. Even thinking itself takes time. On one hand, time seems to be something that we all know so well about, but on the other, we find ourselves completely baffled as to why it exists. It is simultaneously obvious and mysterious.
I began with a vague idea of the experience I was going for. With that in mind, I defined a preliminary version of what the work might look like and how it could work. I later bounced this initial idea off of curator Megan Miao and my fellow teacher-artists. They provided me with a lot of useful feedback that I incorporated into my work. Finally, the process of making the work sorted out the details that had previously been overlooked.
STAR: Why did you produce an interactive rather than static piece?
M: To explore the concept of time, it helps if the work itself engages with time. That only makes it a temporal work, however. The interactive aspect of the work is necessitated by the experience of the participant having to toggle between an internal timing and an objective measure of time. In this sense, the visual aspect of the work only serves as a record of the Art experience, which occurs internally.
STAR: If you could sum up in a sentence any advice/encouragement you have for a teacher who hopes to strike a balance between his/her role as a teacher and position as a teacher-artist, what would it be?
M: What others tell you may be important, but what really matters is what you tell yourself.
Want to participate in Matthew’s final work? Come down to the SOTA Art Gallery from 6-15 March for aedge 2019.