formerly titled Like or Not? and Do you find durians delicious?

Proposal: Version 2.0

Date: August 2002

Artist: Chng Nai Wee



The Esplanade is an architectural landmark in Singapore. The building, with its distinctive dome roofs crowned by triangular pointed shades, has evoked responses of delight and dismay from Singaporeans. The similarity of the form of the distinctive roofs to the form of the compound eyes of the ubiquitous housefly, and the outer coat of the local fruit durian, are powerful images that the minds of Singaporeans on seeing the Esplanade, immediately associate with. It is also the common comment that both Singaporeans who like and dislike the Esplanade make.

The ubiquitous housefly, a vector of disease, an insect that liquifies food by regurgitation of consumed content and that defeacates on the food it feeds on, is viewed as a vile pest by Singaporeans. Yet its compound eyes per se, are capable of a wide range of vision, arming the housefly with an uncanny awareness to elude the assault of the flyswatter, and casting the housefly as a marvelous evolutionary creation of nature.

The durian, with its foreboding and spiky shell, is dangerous when falling from its tree to the ground beneath, and is more repulsive than inviting in its appearance. The pungent smell makes the durian unwelcome in many public places in Singapore, including hotels, train stations, and airports. Yet its creamy bittersweet flesh within has made the durian one of the most popular fruits locally.

These installations, the housefly, and the durian, by their site, and by their largeness, confront the viewer, earnestly prompting the viewer to re-examine why he likes or dislikes the design of the Esplanade. To what extent, do the knowledge of the form and nature of the housefly and the durian, the previous experiences with the housefly and the durian, and the existing affection and appreciation of or aversion to the housefly and the durian have on the viewer's like and dislike of the design of the Esplanade?



Site: A fly in one atrium and a durian in the other atrium of the Esplanade. The fly will be resting at an approximately 45% incline upside down on the interior space frame of the atrium. The durian will be suspended with its stalk seemingly emerging from the wooden core of the Esplanade's wooden walls. The fly will be clinging on to the curvaceous roof nearer the bay of the leading staircase. The durian will be suspended just above the bay of the leading staircase in the other atrium. These strategic placements will elicit perspective appreciation from the viewer who, as he is ascending the stairway, sees a distant small object become larger as closes in.

Material: Realistic color-matching vinyl inflatables that are double-sutured for air tightness for a realistic rendering. The alternative is aluminum-colored reflective foil inflatables to impart an abstract quality to the housefly and the durian.

Size: The fly will be about 30 feet in length, 16 feet wide, and 9 feet high.  The durian will be approximately 36 feet in diameter, and about 46 feet in length.

Weight: The fly and the durian are both inflatables.

Installation: The fly and the durian will be suspended by wires that are anchored to the space frame of the atria. The Esplanade will be responsible for the installation and deinstallation.

Cost: $5,000 sponsorship from the Esplanade.