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Arts hub, phtooey!
April 4, 2010, 18:15
Filed under: Uncategorized

They say:

“The Art In Transit programme marked the first time art was customised to be integrated into the architectural finishes of a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system. With the placement of art in the spaces frequented by the public, Art in Transit encourages the appreciation of art by the general public, adding vitality and character to the experience of travelling by public transport.”

NE10 – Potong Pasir

Point of View by Matthew Ngui

“Installed at carefully chosen spots in the station, the pictures and words come together to form images of surprising detail and depth.”

Now, observe how “carefully” the artworks were chucked into secluded corners of the station – corners which would never receive human traffic at any time of the day.

Also, in the midst of taking photos of these artworks for my school project, I was stopped by a station attendant who made a big fuss about how I couldn’t take photos of “architectural structures” in the MRT station. (I only had one photo left to take damn it!)

Me: It’s for a school project.
Him: You can’t take photos in the MRT station. It’s sensitive.
Me: How is it sensitive?
Him: Taking photographs in the station is a sensitive issue. You are not allowed to do it.
Me: Why? I don’t really see the problem.
Him: (Repeats above, louder this time as if I hadn’t heard him) Now come with me, I need to take down your name, NRIC and contact number.

Which makes me wonder WHY ON EARTH they bothered to install art in the MRT station if alarm bells immediately start ringing whenever they see someone (oh a potential terrorist?) happily snapping away at the artworks.

“Art in Transit encourages the appreciation of art by the general public” – oh really? What I see now are fragments of potentially good art thoughtlessly inserted into a dead space, with no one paying any heed except for the surveillance cameras – only that their eagle eyes are trained on troublesome people who DARE to disturb the sensitive balance of harmony in the MRT station!

It’s laughable to think about all these grand schemes of making Singapore an “arts hub”, when such attitudes towards art still persist. All the talk about “adding vitality and character to the experience of travelling by public transport”, when they’re content with (or are even happier when) people breeze past the artworks without a second glance.

“If you want to take photographs of these artworks, you have to get official permit first. Ask your school to write a letter to us, then after we grant you the permit, you can take your photos.”


9 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Did they allow u to keep the photos that u already took?

Comment by kristy

yup, he didn’t ask for the photos. some of them are here :-)

Comment by zhree

i can’t believe they did that. i have taken tons of photos of the station during the time ti was helping out with the mrt tours. and no one said anything. i think they were just in a bad mood and needed someone to bug. hmmpf!

Comment by shuning (lim)

haha i guess it could be worse, at least they didn’t try to confiscate photos.

i just wish they didn’t insist on doing everything by the book, like asking people to go through the whole tedious process of getting official permit just to take a measly photo (who would do that!)

Comment by zhree

zheng jiayin is MIA. but why recently so enthu on your blog!!!!!

Comment by `jiamin


Comment by zhree

omg there is even evidence that i saw this post (i posted :D ). you still asked if i knew about this . hahahaaa

Comment by `jiamin

yah i remembered afterwards >:-D (haha at that moment you also forgot!)

Comment by zhree

(i forgot i ever commented on this exact post) But i said i knew about it !!!!!!! that means i didnt forget about reading it -.=

and LOLS you were online at 10

Comment by `jiamin

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