Amanda Lim - Curation

Our project will be exploring physical barriers to interaction - how anti-social behaviour is manifested in architecture and design. The following 2 visual images presents both a technical take on a photographic style we would like to explore, and a cultural exploration behind our society’s anti-social mentality towards outsiders and how that is demostrated.

1. Black and White Analog Film

Credits: Amanda Hibbert Photography, 4x5 Film: Treasure Island, San Francisco Bay


This photograph was taken by Amanda Hibbert, as part of a series of black and white photographs taken in a 4x5 film format, depicting a cold, and almost desolated picture of the San Francisco Bay area.

The monochrome film takes away the distraction of colour, allowing us to focus on the finer details in the photo, intensified by the super rich blacks and stark highlights. It also draws our attention to the shadows cast by the roof, creating a foreboding presence, and to the parallel lines that depict form. These lines create a sense of rigidity and coldness, and the one point linear perspective forces our eyes to move towards the vanishing point in the centre — a dark, unknowing space.

The grit and grain unique to film further adds character and density to the photo, by enhancing the textures found on the gravel ground and on the peeling walls of the shack, harking at the wear and tear and slow disintegration of the place.

This style and technique of photography is what our group would like to emulate as we photograph physical entities in Singapore that form barriers to isolation.

2. The Isolation of Dormitories

Credits: Wee Keng Hor, Foreign Workers in Singapore: Life on a Sunday


This photograph is again taken in black and white film, and it is meant to represent a typical Sunday of a migrant worker living in a dormitory in Singapore.

Apart from the photography techniques previously discussed in the first photo, the monochrome in this photo goes further in bringing across a tiredness and loneliness in the eyes and body language of the two main subjects.

The poor and meagre living conditions in the dorm and the drastic contrast between these dormitories and the private housings of Singaporeans harks at a cultural issue of Singaporeans isolating and excluding these migrant workers from society.

Confining these foreigners to only conducting their activities in dormitories is akin to social segregation, an isolation from the rest of the community. And ironically, these dormitories are gated compounds whose security serves, not to protect those inside, but to protect those on the outside, as though a prison.

This reflects a cultural mindset in Singaporeans, one of anti-social behaviour, having grown so accustomed to protecting our individual well-being that we’re beginning to lose our multi-cultural values of equality, and are now isolating an integral community from the rest of society.

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