A Wide Field of Contestation

Of course – as usual, Singaporean authorities had to remove the whole damn thing. Paint void decks? I think we (and our artists) deserve more than that, although that’s a nice gesture of recognition from the government. Even if it might have taken a prestigious, farty design award to open their eyes towards the viability of art in Singapore…still, it’s a good start.


A Wide Field of Contestation
by Y.S. Pek


1 by TSE Hao Guang (1)

Tucked away on the twentieth floor, just in view from the lift landing, a staircase glistened. For seven days.

Two weeks ago, I came upon two Straits Times press photographs of Priyageetha Dia’s “golden staircase.” One taken at its foot, the other from head down. The pictures were made after it had turned dark outside. It looked like a crime scene, whose culprit, caught red-handed, was the image’s dully gleaming subject. In the overexposed whiteness of a third photograph, made and shared by a dedicated blogger, the staircase was, conversely, almost too ethereal, evenly washed out by a postproduction filter.

It must’ve been a thing of beauty, nonetheless. In between harsh camera flash and artificial dematerialization, there would have been something gorgeous about the thing itself, in all its visual excess. Having only seen online images of the work, I cannot…

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