D  E  N  S  E


JUL 23 2000 Straits Times Life!
  Art on flickering screens

  A bold presentation of video art titled Dense features the works of
artists Heman Chong and Tan Kai Syng.


BY DAY, 23-year-old graphic designer Heman Chong plies his trade in
multi-media firm H55. At night, he is an artist,
  pondering over ideas that he seeks to express through art in its various

  The bespectacled Temasek Polytechnic graduate has dabbled in still
photography, and is the website curator for The
  Substation's online journal, Geograffiti.org.

  He also writes for several achitecture and interior magazines here.

  In the past year, the multi-talented artist has ventured into a
relatively new medium of expression, video art. His first
  presentation was called Molotov Cocktails and featured last August in
Brainstorm, a theatre festival organised by The
  Necessary Stage.

  His second and latest installation is currently being shown at the
Alliance Francaise de Singapour's Societe Generale Gallery.
  Titled Pale Testament, it was inspired by the works of the late French
semiologist Roland Barthes.

  Semiology, in a nutshell, is the study of rules and conventions of
different societies which trigger certain social and cultural

  Chong's presentation is unique collection of three videos projected on a
set arranged to resemble a dark hotel room. Random
  images are screened on a table-top, a bed and a television set in front
of a couch.

  ""This installation is based on four main themes: Intimacy, Isolation,
Anonymity and Identity.

  ""I used the configuration of a hotel room because it is a temporal space
where people come and go, a place which is
  accessible, reusable but not functional for anything else apart from
tentative accommodation,'' he told Life! in an interview.

  ""I've added a soundscape that plays a repetitive series of prank calls
to suggest the idea of humans who are connected, but
  who are anonymous and, ultimately, estranged,'' he added.

  The collection of videos took six months to shoot and cost him a mere
$3,000. When asked what his objective of producing
  the video clips was, he explained: ""I'm trying to portray the lifestyles
of a breed of people who have no day or night, who
  function out of cycle, who, for example, have liasons with strangers in
hotel rooms, who form a subculture of the
  anti-social, who simply can't adjust to the order of our society.''

JUL 23 2000

  Lecturer's first love in between lessons

  TAN KAI SYNG already has a hectic daily schedule as lecturer at the Ngee
Ann Polytechnic Centre for Film & Media

  But the 25-year-old Shell-National Arts Council scholarship holder
nonetheless manages to squeeze in time between lessons
  to engage in her other love -- making videos.

  She returned from Slade University in London with a fine arts degree 18
months ago.

  Her graduation piece, a trilogy of video clips collectively titled All
Change!!!, won the third prize in the Experimental Video
  Category at the 1999 San Francisco International Film Festival.

  Tan has returned to the Alliance this year with Chlorine Addiction, a
reflective collection of 10 three-minute videos of her
  re-acclimatisation and re-integration into life in Singapore.

  ""The central metaphor is that of a swimmer trying to complete as many
laps as possible.

  ""I tried to cover as many different topics as possible, I tried to look
at things from as many different angles as possible,''
  she explained.

  ""I returned to Singapore a year and a half ago and these videos seem
scatological and chaotic because they are an expression
  of my attempt to settle back in and reorganise the events around me,''
she added.

  ""Things were both strange and familiar to me at the same time. The Hello
Kitty craze, the Singapore Kindness Movement,
  the Great Singapore Sale.

  ""I was restless and I wanted to record what I saw and thought.

  ""The raw footage is an honest and unpolished presentation of my
experiences as they were.

  ""I'm quite a technophobe,'' she confessed, ""but I'm exploring the new
medium of digital video and this collection is my
  way of questioning its plausibility as an art form.

  ""I've learnt that unlike film, video is indeed very accessible.

  ""Digital cameras and home editing systems are affordable and not at all
difficult to obtain nowadays.''

     Together with Tan Kai Syng's Chlorine Addiction, Heman Chong's Pale
Testament will be presented at the Alliance
  Francaise de Singapour's Video Art showcase, Dense, from July 22 to Aug 12.

Heman Chong aka NoSleepRequired

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Alliance Française de Singapour presents

D  E  N  S  E

featuring 2 new video installations
Chlorine Addiction and Pale Testament
by Tan Kai Syng and Heman Chong

22 July - 12 August 2000
(Except Sundays)
10am - 7pm
Société Générale Gallery
Alliance Française de Singapour
1 Sarkies Road
Nearest MRT station is Newton