Height brings to mind the many instances when we look up into the sky and space, imagining the world beyond, before and after. It also reminds us of the times we stand atop a mountain above the clouds, absorbing the panoramic sight of our environment, appreciating the scale of humanity in relation to the history of time. In this section, teacher-artists imagine the future space, while referencing the familiarity of our past memories and present situation. Our future is the evolution and product of the choices we make today, and we make them with consideration of the circumstances of the present and lessons learnt from our past. The pandemic may have been an unwelcome disruption to our lives, but it has also offered us a pause from our fast paced routine to take stock and reflect, affording us an open space to envision and wonder.
When Circuit Breaker was enforced, our society almost came to a standstill. While our frontline workers and essential service providers continued to ply the streets to ensure that our basic needs were met, most of us stayed indoors, working and studying from home. Strangely, this closeness made us more aware of and rediscover the lives of our family members and neighbours. A family spending so much time together became a surreal experience. It made us wonder about the people around us, how they cope and live, will there be a tomorrow? Esmond Loh’s painting, Home, presents a voyeuristic insight, portraying various stories of individuals and families living in an imaginary building. It details the subtle nuances of our mundane existence and ponders the definition and expectations of home.
In response to the prevailing pandemic situation, numerous protocols and restrictions were introduced that expanded and compressed the space and distance between people. The constant changes, reversal and extension give rise to a sense of confusion and limbo where plans are made and unmade, actions are always in a flux of start-stop-reverse-pause-restart. Seeing the parallel of this helpless state to the cut-scenes in retro arcade video games, Tay Li-Cheng has ingeniously captured momentous scenarios and common experiences in nostalgic 8-bit animations in P(RE)SS START, to illustrate the changes to our social norms and realities in this pandemic. As we snigger at the whimsical absurdity that has become familiar and ordinary, we muse on how the future will perceive our behaviours and choices.
Diana Ghazali’s drawing Halt illustrates the role art plays in illuminating the realities for our children and audience. A muted but haunting street scene from a classroom window presents the conflicting needs of our living space. The pause that brought an uneasy silence to the construction sites and traffic lifted the smokescreen of rapid development, revealing the transformation of our landscape. Do we resume and cruise ahead or to create a new road? It begs us to reconsider choices we make for our future generation.
The use of technology and innovation has transformed all aspects of our lives and reality. It enables us to mediate challenges and invent new opportunities. It creates new spaces and it is the language of the future. We see this also explored and investigated in the following works: Moving Bloom, Latitude; Longtitude; Fortitude, GrARffiti and Sims Possible.