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 this 26. February 2022 we desperately were searching for answers. With a feeling of “there is something happening of historical importance for humanity – right now!“ we walked from the Yishun Pond Park along the kanal to the river mouth (Sungai Khatib Bongsu). At the end of the river in the middle of the mangroves, in between of forest and sea- there is coordinate 42.
Even on weekend mornings the area was very noisy. The heavy traffic street was just drowned by jackhammer and other noise coming from a fast developing area. It was hard to see and hear something else on this straightened river full of concrete and lacking of flora and fauna. The questions swirled in our heads. Nonetheless there have been some birds making some loud noise on a tree branch. Two male Asian Koel were arguing and whitewashed therewith the background noise.
After years of pandemic, is the world facing now a period of war? Are the provokes in front of Europe now the thorny wedge between East and West. What can we do in our here and now? We walked along this straightened river on our given path. We crossed one, two streets and suddenly the path stopped. The specified route along the concrete river just ended and we were standing in the grass looking to a river spreading out with hundred arms into the forest. The sound of circadas was overwhelming and in the distance we could see birds, fish and “who knows” animals which were busy undulating the plain dark green water surface and waggle trees. In this unreachable wild distance was coordinate 42, according to Douglas Adams “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything”.
But if the answer is just in front of us, we have to leave the paved way and find the lane within the nature.
In this artwork I wanted to map the paved way, the overwhelming sounds and the questions and answers, which keeping us alert that day.
The poem on the left side is written in the ancient seal script.
I would translate the poem like this: “Noisy cicadas make the forest more quiet, birdsong makes the mountain more still.”