TAN: For me. My parents met in Singapore, and they had all of us [me and my siblings] here, so it’s where I would call home for the best part of my life. But yeah, it’s a sort of place that you don’t feel a 100% sense of belonging. I always grew up feeling kind of alienated; I didn’t feel like I entirely belong in this place. And then I sort of grew older and learnt to see Singapore as this melting pot of different cultures and as an international hub, where everyone meets.
So, it was that feeling of belonging and not belonging that made you choose the ocean as the main focus point or was there anything else?
TAN: I think that a large part that influenced me into using the ocean as the subject matter of these landscape is also because of the fact that I would self-profess to be an existentialist. So, to me, I like to think about how the universe came about; how humans came from being planktonic organisms that swam amongst the sea before we took a mind of our own, and mutated, and became homosapiens as we are today. So, I think when I talk about human beings in that planktonic state and us as we are today, there’s this sort of familiarity for us with the sea, that’s supposed to a holding ground for all life forms, and yet if we were to be out at sea today with the storms and deep sea levels, we could no longer thrive in that environment anymore even though it has once sustained and nurtured us. There was this line in a Haruki Murakami book, where he wrote, ‘When you’re with people for too long, you want to be out at sea, and when you’re out at sea for too long, you just want to be with people again’. And I think it’s that sense of sentiment that makes me think of the sea as a befitting spot for the series to unfold.The other big thing for this exhibit is the interactive piece. Where did you get the school desk from?TAN: <laughing>
I got it online.