Scrambling Back in Amsterdam
It has been about three weeks since I got back from New York but it was only the last couple days that I felt like I’m here after returning from Eindhoven and Arnhem for the DAI. It was really nice to see Joost and Rachel in Amsterdam again and I finally sat down for about 9 hours writing my thesis. That was good. I have been busy planning my post-DAI life that I’ve really neglected my thesis for at least 3 months. And here’s what needs to be completed in the coming 6 weeks:
- finish thesis
- finalize graduating presentation at the DAI
- update website
At the moment, I am really tempted to go to Venice Biennale for a few days but that means that I will potentially lose two weeks to work on my thesis because the next DAI week is going to be a week and a half. I regretted like hell two years ago when I missed it and this time, it’s a difficult choice that I have to make, or end up not making.
I’d love to write more but I’m not sure what I can form right now. And I’m panicking once again as the deadline draws near for my thesis. But below are things I’ve been looking at or things I have given some thoughts to:
- How to disobey and get away? How? Against who and what?
- How do the aesthetics of the military enforces state formation?
- What can be considered “peripheral practices”? Selective isolation? Alienation? Self-exile?
So I’ve been reading Gilles Deleuze’s Postscript on the Societies of Control and assessing whether Singapore is a “society of discipline” or “society of control” or, both. Under such conditions, how do we think about ways to disobey, to avoid being governed or bypass governance itself? Tehching Hsieh‘s work comes to my mind. His practice on isolation and alienation wouldn’t have been possible with the strict discipline he went through during his 3 years of mandatory military service. His works are deeply regimented and philosophical. As I write about the “impossibilities and limits of art”, the more I am made to convince the importance of aesthetics and symbolism behind an artistic practice that is at the peripherals art practice itself. How to give form? How to give meaning?
Once again, all these make me think about artmaking. The stakes somehow get higher and higher and there is no way out…
More on Tehching Hsieh’s works:
Deborah Sontag, A Caged Man Breaks Out at Last. February 25, 2009. On New York Times.