¥ou'll never walk alon£ 4:42, video in colour with sound

Above: Documentation of (i.) ¥ou’ll never walk alon£ (ii.) Lost and found: imagining new worlds, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE College of the Arts, 2019.
Photography: Ken Cheong

...

Dearest things that are stale,
and yet of potential meanings, 

I’ve become demons of men.
To think I’ve procured you from
the dullness of the musty thrift stores
and not giving much concern of where you came from,
or who possibly conceived you.
Let alone your purpose,
all in the name of art.

Well, for some of you,
you came from private collections,
seized assets,
confiscated goods from customs offices,
or unused equipments
and things from evidence lockers,
found and unclaimed items
declared lost by unknown custodians. 

From that circulation,
you found yourselves
congregating here.

Assembled here
despite the differences
of your forms and materials.
I’m not sure what to name you as yet. 

I hope you
will get comfortable
in this temporary home.

I’m thinking of a name for you.
I’ve lost myself
in the abyss of my findings.
I’ve lost myself thinking
of ways to assemble you
for this performance. 

No one wanted to bid for you
but I did and I am lost for reasonings.
I am not born privileged 
but I understand that I am privileged 
to be given expenses
by this institution to procure you.
To conceive you, 
as an object of art.
We’ll let the world decide. 

Maybe I am attracted
to the dullness of your colour,
or the stains
that make you uglier than others.
You look aged,
stale and definitely
stained by your previous custodians.
Perhaps that is why they discarded you.
Perhaps that is why no one wanted you.
You turned bad, ugly
and unwanted. 

I fell asleep
most of the time in the ballroom,
awaiting for your lot number to appear. 

I remembered,
all those in attendance,
just like Raphael said,
“They have a certain air, a hostile one.”

They definitely had that swagger,
but majority are from a specific ethnicity.

You know,
I’m not allowed to bid?
It is against my faith.
As for me,
it is forbidden.
Yet I did what I did,
all so I could get you closer to me.
All so,
you would not be discarded and cremated.
All so, 
your dust will not be converted into soil
at the western edge of this island. 
All so you will be remembered as art. 

I hope the cold
in the basement is not distancing
your memory of me.
I remembered caring for you,
having to distance
my skin with a layer of latex
in between us,
just so the longevity
of your expiration is extended.
I am certain the guardians here do that too,
just so you would be preserve beyond your expiration. 

I have memories of this basement.
I heard the guardians
who traverse through this space gives enough care,
at times with a zest of playfulness,
but that they caress you with much soul. 

Call this your new home.
A temporary one,
after this performance of yours,
I’ll lay you to rest
before your next circulation commences.
I wish you will remain
in the same condition
just as when I released  you
to the world.
Perhaps by then
you would have acquainted yourself
with the other atoms,
things, items, artefacts
or gestures
that are filling this space
or decorating its dull white walls
and grey floor. 

There are things amongst you
that are called artefacts
while you still await for your veneration.
Perhaps
mainly due to a doubtful provenance
- speculative even -
or the markers
that I’ve irresponsibly made ambiguous.
(Only to protect you) 
There are things too
that are central 
to an institution’s collection.
Most of which
were obtained through bequests,
or purchases that came
from various parts of Asia, 
at different times as well.
Perhaps they came just like you,
from spaces where biddings
are made for your survival. 

My curiosity in assembling you
as such is to draw a possible map,
a relation to a place they’ve named,
Asia.
Possibly too from here
I could understand
how it is related to its stubborn child,
Southeast Asia
and this country we call
Earth.
I’d like to think of this 
skimming the streets with you
as a way to confront ourselves
with the complexities of
identities, histories, politics,
culture, and whatever pragmatics
we aspire to free ourselves from. 

I’m interested to know you,
but from a distance.
I’d like to know you
from what others are writing,
describe you as and are possibly singing of you. 

A Shama bird once told me,
that artefacts from this space are conventional.
The system is also conventional
that it needed more prodding
for us to saunter to the moons ahead.

Free us from the shackles
that bridge us from any categorisations.
I see you as something
unique and with potentialities
beyond the prescriptions ascribed to you.
You are beyond the square they placed you in. 

How is the climate in the basement?
You are probably sheltered
with the right temperature for this humid place.
I’m not sure if it is still necessary
to preserve you through this act.
I wondered if I could bring you out
to see how the world is in constant change. 

After your performance
I’ll bring you out to have fish soup
from the kopitiam across this building.
Perhaps a pint after that?
Or if you are abstaining
from the indulgences of this world,
I know a place where we could have
a good cup of kopi peng,
or teh ais limau,
or maybe bandung?
There’s also super cooler.
It’s good for this monotonous
and dreadful humidity.
We could have it siew dai too.
Perhaps I could learn more from
listening to you speak of your time here.
I will speak less.
I’d like to introduce you to my friends
and see if we could all dance quietly
despite our differences.
You, me, them, us...
We are atoms in constant collision,
trapped in rooms labeled for
simplification of the complexities. 

Perhaps your silence is allowing them
to write or sing of you
in ways you never imagined.
You consented them
to ascribe you
to any categories
that fulfils their desire.
Empty signifiers, are we?
Or perhaps
you’ve come to the point that
you could not care less
of what others say of you? 

I am here to remember you,
where you will never walk alone,
I am here to remember you,
where you will never walk alone,
in the darkness of this scorch earth. 

Your friend, 
Fyerool Darma 



...


Above: A narration from ¥ou’ll never walk alon£
4:42, video installation with sound
and objects procured and assembled
from public and police auction on tv stand


Credit

Reader: Fyerool Darma (with sound edit by karat)
Music: karat's Suar$warga (After Saleem's Di Pintu Mahligai/At Heaven's Gate), 2019
Vocal: vvin$ton r£d
Edited: Lim Tong High