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Art In The Commons: Data Visualising Jurong

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The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) will be offering family-friendly art exhibitions and activities in collaboration with artists and the wider community across physical and virtual spaces this school holiday. These include a new community-based initiative, Art in the Commons: Data Visualising Jurong.

Working together with multiple partners to co-curate impactful art and experiences, their new multi-year programme, Art in the Commons: Data Visualising Jurong, celebrates Jurong as a community playground where people live, work, and play.

Co-creating artworks with students and communities for Art In The Commons

Art in the Commons features a series of community-based, participatory art programmes developed together with community partners. To kick off this initiative, SAM has partnered Science Centre Board on Art in the Commons: Data Visualising Jurong, to explore community interests within the Jurong district.

The initiative, supported by Tote Board Singapore, will take place over a period of three years. It invites communities to co-create artworks with local artists and explore the intersection between the arts and the sciences, with each annual edition featuring a different artist.

Art In The Commons Data Mining Jurong, 2021

Data Mining Jurong, 2021
Image courtesy of the Artist

The inaugural edition is a collaboration with Singaporean artist and Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) lecturer Debbie Ding. Alongside her students from NYP’s School of Design and Media, the works feature the changing identity of Jurong – from an industrial estate to a vibrant hub of industry, commerce and residential units. Ding and her students – sketched out an alternate reality – based on ideas gleaned from public consultations with the communities in Jurong.

Ding’s artwork, Data Mining Jurong, surfaces questions of what Jurong is, was, and might become. It represents Jurong’s past through the imagined discovery of oil buried in deep time and consists of two projections.

The first provides the narrative for an alternate reality of Jurong, in which the imagined past haunts the present realities of Jurong. The second is an interactive work where audiences can take a slow descent down a mysterious, cavernous mine shaft. Objects embedded in the rock strata are created based on an online public consultation conducted with the residents of Jurong and commuters who either work in or frequent Jurong.

In going through the repository of objects contributed by Jurong locals, Ding’s artwork provokes deep reflections on the neighbourhood as visitors discover the different things that made, and make, Jurong. For families with young children, Data Mining Jurong gives the younger ones a glimpse of the transformation of their neighbourhood, while encouraging them to imagine the future of Jurong.

Where to see Art In The Commons

The exhibition will open on 26 November 2021 at the Science Centre Singapore.