AiRx: Angles of Incidence

Angles of Incidence is the result of the third Singapore International Foundation-British Council Artist-in-Residence Exchange (SIF-BC AiRx) programme featuring Singaporean artist-architect Randy Chan and British artist Philippa Lawrence. Following residencies and interactions with communities in each other’s cities – Singapore and London – Chan and Lawrence have created a site-specific collaborative installation which launched at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 14 January 2014 -23 March 2014.

“Angles of Incidence comprises reflective multi-faceted steel pods placed beneath the canopy of an 80 year-old Kapok tree to create a dynamic relationship between the installation and its environment. Visitors will experience the oscillation between the installation and nature as the reflective installation merges into and emerges from the landscape.” Tolla Sloane, Curator

Being Singapore’s first nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the gardens provides a befitting backdrop for both artists to create a temporary installation in response to the universal themes of heritage, memory and identity.

The installation is a result of site visits between London and Singapore, conversation between Randy and myself and is a response to the two cities, the two sites and to the notion of the importance and significance of the ‘garden’ in its broadest context.

Angles of Incidence: Randy Chan and Philippa Lawrence

We are be delighted to align and develop our collaboration alongside Swarovski.Incorporating large crystals into the work strengthens existing concepts, adds another dimension and offers opportunity for further development.

Crystal subtly amplifies light, beauty, charm and creates magic across the ‘site’.

The work: is a family of elements: a ramp, a series of angled rhizomes, a symmetric bead and a new concept created by the dimension offered by crystal as ‘portal’. The crystals draw attention to the unseen, to the microcosm; they echo our starting point of the found bead under the bandstand, which drew Randy and I together on our first meeting. Personifying beauty, they fascinate and offer a glimpse into ‘another dimension’.

Concept:

  • To unify the space, connecting and engaging people in that site
  • Bringing light to a shady place in the garden
  • The crystals endorse our first narrative based upon two found beads in the garden.
  • Celebrates the garden, nature, the tree, the bandstand and the history of SBG.
  • Is the embodiment of an engagement with issues of how a space is used, is read, accessed and understood?
  • We aim to offer a contemporary enquiry into site that embraces philosophical discourse and addresses two cultures through the work of two practitioners.
  • In its presentation it invites, engages, and bridges art, architecture, object and site: relating to the bandstand and to the Kapok tree.
  • It is dynamic,challenging & site-responsive.

Angles of Incidence are planes of perception. The title suggests a rise and fall in understanding, suggests a sense of multiplicity in lines of thought and suits the ‘machinic’ assemblages.

The ramp, the rhizome, shards and the bead is a family:

  • The ramp changes perception, of the space and how we experience it. Being  ‘up’ we rise to meet the tree, ‘we’ feel connected and also separated, powerful and even librated.
  • The rhizome is part of a sequence, suggesting a continuing cause and effect and these elements embody metaphoric qualities.
  • The singular pod is a link to the first narrative, to the found bead, and to the individual.
  • The shard like ‘Portals’: are an invitation, creating wonder and bringing an intimacy and detail into the work.
  • These shard like embedded forms link the sites, echoing the view from the Thames and London’s varied skyline.

The artist Robert Smithson was a key figure in defining the development of the idea of an artwork as an environment that should include the spectator. I seek to make work to include and connect the viewer. I consider the word interface as an analogy for art referring to ‘surfaces’ forming a common boundary, a meeting point, an area of contact between objects, systems, subjects, environment and people.

And to make a work that reveals and exposes rather than impinge or impose.

The ideology behind these developments is to create something that is a rationalization of an engagement with issues of how a space is used, is politically charged, read, accessed and understood. To offer something that is contemporary, both in an enquiry that embraces philosophical discourse and in a presentation that invites, engages, and bridges art, architecture, object and site.

The development uses elemental, first principles.
It unifies the space rather than being housed within it, and is dynamic.

Making informs thinking and thinking informs making.
Angles of incidence are also planes of perception. The title suggests a rise and fall in understanding, suggests a sense of multiplicity in lines of thought, and suits the ‘machinic’ assemblages. It recognizes an influence from the rhizome philosophy of Deleuze and Gilles and is a visualization of ‘the semiotic chains, the organization of power, and circumstances that relate to art, science and struggles within our society’ which they discuss.

The ramp, the rhizome and the pod: is a family
The ramp changes perception, of the space and how we experience it.
Being ‘on high’ we rise to meet the tree. Things change, ‘we’ feel connected and yet also separated, ‘we’ can feel powerful and even librated.

The rhizome is part of a sequence, suggesting a continuing cause and effect and these elements embody metaphoric qualities.

The singular pod is a link to the first narrative, to the found bead, and to the individual.

Statement
We acknowledge and respect the shared journey in this collaboration and the many opportunities it continues to provide for connection and growth. The work naturally comes from us both, the product and synthesis of observation, cultural observation and shared humanitarian and environmental concerns. It symbolizes and expresses an exploration of ideas and meeting points creating angles of coincidence, convergence and divergence, and is informed by a narrative lead by conversation, experience and creative vision.

The context of site extends to the respective cities and their relationship to the political, social and economic welfare of their respective inhabitants.
Some of the questions that are to be addressed when making work for the public and the two sites include:

Who is a garden for?
What issues are there in its ownership and access?
What is its role?
Who are the public? Is it those geographically local, those that visit or pass through?
What is the intention of the work – what is its role in creating association, opening debate?
Can it connect people to a place and to each other through a shared experience?
What are the preceding memories and experiences of that place?

I am an artist increasingly worked with ‘land’, questioning and responding to shared spaces and their history and memory. The environment humans inhabit, make and change and our relationship to issues that are related to how we live and work in an increasingly fragile world.

My work explores how man harnesses, changes and exploits his environment and in its physical manifestation I raise our awareness of a growing separateness from ’natural’ or wild’ spaces. Space is aligned to our unconscious and the untamed and unknown parts of our minds and psyche. My work provides an interface: a common boundary between systems and environments, concepts and people, creating a place where ideas and matter converge, and communication and interaction can occur.

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