Sunday 21 November 2021

#GTF: Between 01 exhibition | Tan Lay Heong (A response)

You live in the in-between. You've been living there since the pandemic started, since the day the gomen ask you to stay home, stay safe. Lindung Diri, Lindung Semua. The days bleed into each other, the weeks into months, the months into years. It has been eighteen months since you've seen the light.

Who have you really protected?

The plastic boxes pile up in your house, one for every meal. Almost. You can still handle making your own breakfast, when you decide to have it. What's the point? There's no rush hour, you can deal with waking up a little later, working on a slow cup of caffeine, and then having a large brunch delivered. One more plastic box, until all you are is plastic boxes, stacked up in precarious columns, hanging boxes deep on the racks, painstakingly washed to get the oil out. 

Who has your hand-washing saved?

You reach, you grasp. You slip. It's always that way, has always been. Your hands are not strong enough to hold; no one's arms  are strong enough to keep you. Out of the corner of your eye, you see them run. Like everyone has left you. There is no hey let's hang out when you can't; when you're boxed in, boxed out, plastic shoulders slumped. There is no real you. Your conversations stall in the first line. I'm fine. Nothing new. You're more boring than ever.

Who has your isolation helped?

So you live in the in-between, in the shadows. You are a shadow. You are all the things you have forgotten, all the things you have put on hold, all the plans you've shelved, all the hopes you've seen wither. But there is light, and there is dark, and even in the Saturday of the soul, there is hope. Even the dimmest of lights can shine. The smallest leaf still casts a shadow. And maybe in the in-between is where you are finally perceived, when the brightest of lights shine through you.

Who keeps you safe?

But you -

You are

where the light shines through


Photos taken at Between 01, an art installation by Tan Lay Heong (and others!). More info here: 

You can pre-book a viewing slot via this form, but actually... you can also just fill in the form when you arrive. The form offers 1-hour slots, but it's not like you have to turn up on the hour or for the whole hour. There's a 12-minute dance video that is looped and you should probably sit in the little plastic igloo for the surround-sound impact.

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