Palimpsest

Art

2016 / Potong Pasir, Singapore / For OH! Open House

The vernacular and increasingly extinct form of the wayang stage sits on what is left of Bidadari before the coming of the new estate. It recalls the history of Potong Pasir, which, along with Ang Mo Kio, was once famous for its Cantonese operas. This traditional wooden structure is a form of architecture without architects, an art of building by non-specialists based on cultural use. Here, it is reimagined as a palimpsest – something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form, much like Potong Pasir itself. The stage is a manuscript, with more and more layers of texts added. Veils, alternative entrances and stairways cover and uncover the 10m by 10m stage, simultaneously providing us glimpses of internal structure and external viewpoints looking out to the field. The stage, in fact, is only the beginning. The story lies beyond.