Fringe Foreword

LET'S WALK Sean Tobin Artistic Director, M1 Singapore Fringe Festival

This year’s festival theme is drawn from Amanda Heng’s work, Let’s Walk. It is the first in our new thematic series of programming inspired by the iconic works of Singaporean artists.

Amanda has conducted a range of different walks over the years as part of her practice. Like many of Amanda’s works, Let’s Walk is a work that invited the public to actively participate in art-making with her. It was their shared engagement, public action and reflection; their seemingly simple act of walking together that was an artistic statement. It was strikingly visible and fully embodied. A quietly uncomfortable provocation and protest.

In most major cities of the world including Singapore, walking in public spaces is not a very social or consciously collective activity. In fact, in the age of long working hours and the ubiquity of smartphones and shopping malls, we walk on the city streets alone, staring into lit screens for connection elsewhere; we gaze into shopping windows, in search for something that might boost our bearing in society. Aside from festivals, parades, or protests, walking is presently about switching off and rushing from point A to B. This detached movement as part of a human herd contributes to our loss of mindfulness and true connection with those around us.

This is one of the many reasons why an artist such as Amanda is so important. She insists that we engage with one another. The politics and aesthetic of her work are rooted in human connection, mutual exchange and most importantly, in the everyday.

Amanda reminds us that art is not only constructed for expensive frames, hung in marbled halls with under tight surveillance, or in the auction houses for the world’s elite. Rather, art can be embodied in the people around us, the clothes we wear, the conversations we share. Our natural and constructed surroundings. Our daily pleasures and struggles.

Amanda will have a very important presence in our line-up this year, as she holds conversations about her work, as well as the lives and works of other local artists. They will be contemplating the connections between art and everyday life. Look out for Amanda walking and talking. And join in when you can.

We are proud to present a range of exciting works created locally, as well as works from Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, New Zealand and Spain. Each of these works confronts us with questions about the body, gender, beauty and equity. They draw on fantasy, fiction and history, and the very real present day-to-day. They artfully present notions of walking and journeying in myriad ways.

Check them out and see you at the Fringe!

For more information about Amanda Heng's work Let's Walk, please click here.