A while ago I reached out to my friend Loo Zihan, asking for an interview regarding his upcoming show, I Am LGB. He refused—he said his team would only take interview requests as a collective, and that I could either choose to interview the (fictional) artist Lan Gen Bah or the LGB Society of Mind (LGBSM).
I decided to go with the LGBSM, since that felt like the less obvious choice. I emailed over a series of questions, and I was given my answers accordingly.
NYS: What is the Lan Gen Bah Society of Mind? When and how did you form?
LGBSM: The LGB Society of Mind was established on 24 January 2016. The society consist of individuals interested in the the dissemination of LGB Si Xiang. The society is particularly interested in reconstructing the links of LGB's oeuvre to the subliminal political economy of covert action. The organisation is therefore ‘tactical’ and non-hegemonic (rather than ‘strategic’) in Certeau’s use of that term. The LGB Society of Mind is structured on the form of the cadre units during the Yan’an period of the revolution and later during the Cultural Revolution. LGB was herself a member of one such unit during the Cultural Revolution.
NYS: Who is Lan Gen Bah? Why is s/he such an important artist and thinker?
LGBSM: You are asking about the process of self-recognition or interpellation. LGB has the potential to be you if you will allow the you that you recognise as ‘you’ to engage in 检讨 (jian tao) or self-criticism, self reflection. LGB is no more or less important than you.
NYS: Why have his/her contributions not been more recognised in Singaporean/Malaysian art history?
LGBSM: National, ideological and geographical boundaries limit and restrict the potential of works that fall outside these borders. LGB Si Xiang (thought) is not easy to comprehend at first glance as it is experiential. Cultural artifacts which are ‘recognised’ as important are not the ones that concern us. Rather, we are concerned with the codes and structures of deep-consciousness, and the subliminal messages of the unconscious mind, particularly at the moment of its self-recognition or interpellation. Consider for example the rhythmic interference pattern in our video.
NYS: What is the LGB Library? What is your favourite book therein?
The LGB Library is a collection of reference materials assembled by the LGB Society of Mind. The most significant book on the society’s research is Marvin Minsky’s Society of Mind (1986, Simon and Schuster, New York).
NYS: What do the members of the LGB Society of Mind have in common? How do you work together? How do you survive?
LGBSM: Members of the LGB Society of Mind thrive on difference. Members pledge solidarity-solitude in relation to each other. The society survives by being both singular and plural. The moment of indoctrination into the society is the very moment of liberation from it.
NYS: What is being suppressed from our conversation?
LGBSM: Thoughts that were not liberated.
NYS: Should we be afraid?
LGBSM: Embrace oblivion and the unknown.
NYS: Your video very glitchy ah. Not professional. How?
LGBSM: The society does not wish to comment on this.
NYS: You have sold out two of your shows, I’ve heard. What should audience members do to prepare themselves for our encounter?
LGBSM: Please verify with the ticketing department of the Singapore International Festival of Arts on the status of our ticket sales. The society cannot claim credit or take responsibility for the consumption of this experiment.
Audience members should monitor our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/iamlgb/) in preparation for our encounter.
NYS: Is there anything else the readers of this blog should know?
LGBSM: The LGB Society of Mind believes that you will make the right choice.