This blog post is part of the Random Sampling Singapore project. The Project aims to sample 100 places on the island of Singapore over a one year period in order to gain an unbiased and holistic view of the city state.
On a late November evening I picked up my friend Esther Ng from work at the Heritage Conservation Center (HCC). She is a paper and photograph conservator and I met her there 7 years ago when I was working on a project at the HCC. From a lunch buddy soon it developed into a deep friendship. I love to talk with her about conservation topics which always evolve into fundamental questions in philosophy that can’t be answered easily. So we have to meet once more to discuss it on and on.
But that day I asked her to walk a coordinate nearby. It was easy to convince her to participate at the project, as she is familiar with the approach to sample materials and investigate to get a deeper inside.
The coordinate #24 is hidden in a hedge at Jln Terusan road, a heavy traffic road with lots of trucks and noise. We couldn’t enter the industrial building there, but we examined the hedge carefully.
That day Esther sampled some leaves of the hedge and a plastic stripe from the grass next to the hedge.
We crossed the street to an idle field right opposite of the coordinate. The meadow was fenced with sheetings, but a wide gate was inviting to look into the meadow. A peaceful green field was in the midst of the noisy industrial area. Esther mentioned that she remembered there used to be a bus terminal when she was a child. I asked her if there was a lot of change in this area compared to her childhood, already knowing the answer. Esthers Singapore when she was a child must have been so different. When I am home in Tyrol (Austria) it feels like nothing has changed. I guess that’s my impression because the gigantic mountain landscape is not changing at all. Even though the tyrolians are busy at developing their vallies and towns, the scenery never felt much different. The solid mountain masses of the tyrolian Alps give me always a feeling of stability and endurance.
Esther was bending down, playing with a “touch me not” plants (mimosa pudica), which are growing all over the field. At this game with the mimosa plant I spent so much time with my daughter when she was little. I guess every child in Singapore played with that plant and was fascinated from the reflex of the plant to close their leaves by contact. Maybe also something sturdy and stable all humans growing up in Singapore have experienced.
Inspired by the play with the “touch me not” plant I created this artwork on paper. Definitely on paper, as my friend Esther, the paper conservator and her colleagues at HCC teached me so much about paper that I am now more confident with that material. Thank you for that!
Already at #0_the starting point in the French embassy the “touch me not” or mimosa pudica plant got my attention. There I mentioned my fascination of this plant because of its unique behavior of closing their leaves during night time, whereas the French scientist Jean-Jacques d’Ortous de Marian could proof plant’s behavior according to time and gave an major impulse to research about the circadian rhythm.
Thoughts during the process of painting:
The mimosa pudica gives space. Every single leaf has its own position. They sometimes almost touch one another, not to crowd but more to greet or support each other. So that every single one can reach sunlight. During night or when threatened (by touching) they mingle together and keep each other grounded and protect themselves.