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.
This coordinate was not an easy one and it took some time to process. Time passed on and in a retrospective this coordinate had a lot of impact on me.
Al, who motivates me enormously lately to keep the project going, was choosing a coordinate in the very north located on Punggol Barat Island. On Google Maps it seemed straight forward and we walked from a bus station crabwise along the street and shore, seeing fisher boats, otters and hidden prayer altars until we came to a green patch and to the end of Singapore.
Suddenly it was pouring rain 🌧️ and it did not seem to stop. At the beginning we walked further with our umbrellas ☂️ and kept on documenting the area and looking for the exact spot. When we reached the coordinate we were wading through mud and water almost washed us away from the island. The cloudburst was so heavy that we could just stand and wait until the rain eased after a while to find back to firm ground.
Soggy and happy that we found our way back to the street, Al gave me a red rope he found around the spot. I collected a seed pod from a tree along the way.
I don’t know why, but during this storm on the shore I had a feeling of the universe is expanding as it should. When there was only shades of gray around me and the view was blurry, things became simple and clear – even colorful in a way! It might have to do with the fact that there was nothing around grabbing our attention or that it was still a nice walk, but on this day it was easy to accept to be a part of an ever expanding universe.
The experience reminded me on the famous poem of Max Ehrmann, the Desiderata.
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, 1948
It took me a couple of months to process this experience into an artwork.
Expanding Universe 2022, 174 cm x 114 cm
(glass beads, embroidery, leaf metal, fluorescent acrylic paint on canvas)