Weekend at The O.P.E.N. with the 89pluses

Noorlinah Mohamed - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Images by Olivia Kwok
Text by Koay Yi Ling

For the weekend of 5 and 6 July 2014, The O.P.E.N focused on #Digital Legacies and more specifically, on the ‘89plus’ – those born on or after the year 1989. The year 1989 was a watershed year in the political as well as technological worlds. In fact, many have dubbed it the ‘Year That Changed the World’, or rather, the world that many have come to know.

Major events that occurred that year are now imprinted in the historical consciousness of the world, and not to mention, multiple textbooks. Some of the significant political events are, the fall of the Berlin Wall that led to the eventual end of the Cold War; Tiananmen Square protest; the rapid development of technology with the World Wide Web and the consequence of internet culture and living digitally. The concentration on the 89plus generation is aimed at understanding how these events have shaped the psyche, thinking and practice of the generation born within that period.

5 July 2014, Saturday

Space 3 awaiting the Brunch Talk with Ho Rui An and Matthew Claudel with Being 89plus.

Matthew Claudel (left) and Ho Rui An (right): The first session on #DigitalLegacies. Brunch at The O.P.E.N: Being 89plus began.

Ho Rui An, an artist and writer, discussed how themes such as nationalism, knowledge, space and social cultures, have influenced his
work. Art and artists are indeed part of the community, not apart from it. 

Matthew, a designer and architect, presented the projects he has done in Singapore under the MIT Senseable City Lab. Some of the amazing stuff that he has done with big data: Link Twitter post patterns with people's state of emotion and a bicycle wheel that will foster the realization of green cities.

Q&A session was very lively with many pertinent questions asked.

5 July 2014, Saturday

Ho Rui An curated two panels for The O.P.E.N.

Panel #1: Local/Knowledge with panelists art critic Lee Weng Choy, cultural research specialist Brigitta Isabella, film-maker Grace Teng, writer Amanda Lee Koe and architect and researcher Matthew Claudel. Moderated by Ho Rui An.

Local / Knowledge convenes some of the most exciting protagonists of the 89plus Generation — the generation born in or after 1989 — in a panel that investigates what it means to produce knowledge around the concept of the local. Focusing on longitudinal and collaborative modes of research carried out by key members of the 89plus Generation in Southeast Asia, it looks at how a younger, more mobile and more cosmopolitan generation negotiate their relationship with locality, whether through the construction of new corpuses of knowledge, the practice of forms of fieldwork and ethnography, or the development of new tools and technologies.

Ho Rui An began the panel with Lee Weng Choy. Art critic Lee Weng Choy discussed the ways art locates us within today's globalised art world dominated by large-scale biennales and festivals.

Brigitta Isabella, a writer and researcher from Yogyakarta, tackled the ways through which youth is politically constituted as a demographic category in contemporary Indonesia.

Grace Teng showed a film about a musical performance by Singaporean students at the University of Pennsylvania featuring some elements of Singlish. This is followed by a dialogue with Amanda Lee Koe on the notion of language, identity and social transformation. 

6 July 2014, Sunday    

Panel #2 Commentary was led by Ho Rui An, with a panel of speakers Tan Zi Hao, Fahmi Reza, Netwit Chotiphatphaisal, Pumiwat Rangkasiwit and Raksha Mahtani.

Commentary investigates how the 89plus Generation — the generation born in or after 1989 — engages with new forms and avenues of socio-political critique. What are the roles and responsibilities of the critic in today's networked environment, where “comment is free” and where opinion does not just respond to but also increasingly shapes the contemporary moment? Focusing on Singapore and the wider Southeast Asian region, the panel further examines how online media has been mobilised for the production of critical discourse and is changing the form of political agency in the region.

Zi Hao, a multidisciplinary artist from Malaysia, was the first to speak. His performance-lecture covered the theme of human relation, both emotionally as well as the physically. 

Fahmi Reza, a self-taught graphic designer, arts worker and political activist from Malaysia was next. He discussed the use of social network platforms such as Facebook in organising political participation and information dissemination in Malaysia.

Ho Rui An moderating a discussion with Thai students activists Netwit Chotiphatphaisal and Pumiwat Rangkasiwit (far right) with a translator Pimsiri Petchnamrob. 

Raksha Mahtani read out her poetry to a very attentive crowd.

The entire panel gathered to interact with the audience during the final question and answer session. Moderated by Ho Rui An.

Copyright 2014. Arts House Limited.
Unless otherwise stated, other images by Jeannie Ho