(Single channel video, duration: 15’50, digital prints, dimensions variable 2014)
Exhibited at Busan Biennale 2014, South Korea
A man wakes up. He is in the forest, but it may as well not be. He is to be the founder of Singapore, Sir Stamford Thomas Raffles.
Commissioned for Busan Biennale 2014, To the Eastward (The Lines Divide) is a filmed theatrical piece about the founding of Singapore set in the city-state’s few remaining forests. A narrative imagined from the written documents and correspondences between Raffles, his superior and his various associates. It puts into focus the legacies of the men most involved in the founding – Raffles, William Farquhar and Tungku Long.
The forests prominently form the backdrop for the film, its mystery and complexity parallels the very nature of history – it may be examined and studied, but never truly known. It is a site that held the fascination of both Raffles and Farquhar. The work examines not just the role of the English, but also that of the Dutch in Singapore’s founding.
A conflation of art history with history, the narrative unfolds alongside encounters with artworks from past and present, as well as historical objects.