Even though they reside in different continents, Sarah Choo Jing and Jérôme Philipp still managed to collaborate and produce a piece for aedge 2019. Fascinated by notes and connections between strangers, they have constructed a work showcasing the potential narrative that is yet to be discovered. A presentation of documentations and remnants of notes left behind by strangers in various hotel rooms, This is where it begins. is a culmination of an accelerated intimacy between people. STAR corresponded with Sarah on behalf of the duo on the process behind both the artists and the work.
The telling of a memory, of course, betrays it. – 20:51
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
STAR: Why did you decide to use strangers’ notes from hotel rooms as a medium to convey interpersonal connections?
Sarah: I am drawn towards people because I crave for a kind of accelerated intimacy or connection with these strangers. I believe we all come from varying backgrounds, we have gone through different experiences and hence have different stories to tell. I am curious about the narratives that are not spoken, accounts hidden beneath layers.
A momentary place of transit, the hotel can be seen as an empty shelter. This place is representative of space between boundaries, wakefulness and slumber, working and restful, solitary and inhabitation, lust and apathy. The rooms emanate both a presence of absence and an absence of presence as travellers check in and out. The rooms are reassuring duplicates of each other, providing an enthralling sense of anonymity amongst the lone occupants.
I believe we all come from varying backgrounds, we have gone through different experiences and hence have different stories to tell. – Sarah & Jérôme
STAR: What do you hope your audience will walk away with after viewing your work?
S: Most of my pieces express my reflections on personal experiences. I don’t particularly seek to speak about specific experiences and particular narratives. Instead, I prefer to draw on situational emotions and then re-interpret and re-present them to my viewers. I’ve always admired writers and poets who are able to transcribe their inner thoughts so accurately that their accounts become revealing and disconcertingly moving. I suppose this is what I hope to achieve with my images; for the work to be so compelling such that it encourages the viewers to ask questions, to interpret and not take what they see at face value.
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?
S: It is always impossible, until it is done.
You can view Sarah and Jérôme’s final work at the SOTA Art Gallery from 6 March – 15 March 2019.