From 15th to 18th March, iconic blue building Centre 42 was temporarily transformed into pockets of spaces for anybody looking to reconnect with nature or the self. Presented by The Finger Players, design collective INDEX gave an invitation to the public to experience the blue building in a completely different way. With the collective comprising of spatial designer Lim Wei Ling, lighting designer Lim Woan Wen and sound designer/music composer Darren Ng, the installation focuses on audience interaction with the design-ccentric space and to create unique experiences for themselves with the elements provided.
With a short welcome note to guide the experience, as a visitor, I plot my own route and engage with the nine separate spaces.
A book to read about windows (to the soul, maybe?) and a pillow to lie on. Under the shade of trees I would barely look at, so beyond my short stature. I looked at the wall right in front of me – cracks, plants and the building next door. I always enjoy the presence of plants, and being high up, the change of perspective was refreshing and surprised me. It really is a privilege to sit somewhere high up and look at the world go on around you from a different point of view.
To speak to the tree. Sit with the tree. Be with the tree.
And maybe during that process, be with yourself.
I quite enjoyed this moment because the mirrors reflected my immediate surroundings, but onto the ground. So I saw buildings and the cloudy sky looking right back at me through this window. A keyhole, possibly, because the mirrors serve as only a glimpse of the world beyond me. I followed its trail along the blue walls to the brick floors, the plants growing from the cracks and into the back of the space. Through a corridor, through my imagination and back into the real world, but with a different perspective.
I lucked out since the afternoon I visited was windy, so the wind chimes were playing. Though distracted by the powerful fan used to keep the leaves dancing and moving, the view was mainly occupied with these beautiful big leaves and the wind chime. Taking in this frame, I rested my back against the rope woven backing and closed my eyes. Focusing on my breathing, I did as the installation encouraged me to and just listened.
Bathtub in the open, a place to lie down and to do whatever you want. I was not brave enough to take a full shower, though it was tempting under the heat of the sun. I washed my feet and just enjoyed the process of it.
Installation of stacked chairs, a couch, a fan to chase some of the midday heat away and white curtains to add to the atmosphere. This room, as its name suggests, is to travel beyond these four walls and to go to different places as the soundscapes guide you. You see ordinary objects being placed in unconventional positions and breaking everyday laws about how they should be placed.
No accompanying photograph, for this is a mind space. A trip within yourself. Led into a dark room where sight is rendered irrelevant, I find a corner for myself and curl into a ball on the cool floor. Though sharing the space with a couple of other individuals, I felt a sense of comfort of not being able to see anyone, not even myself. My physical body almost non-existent and my looks, my insecurities evaporated into the nothingness. It was a pleasure of being more than my body, more than my mortality and just being present. Listening to bird calls, the sound of rain and wind blowing. Freeing and temporary freedom. I remember wishing how it will be so great if I could stay in that safe space forever, beyond the 20 minutes I could spare. Easily one of my favourite rooms, I would say.
Beach vibes without the intense sun and the sand in between my toes. I look up to stare at my own warped reflection off the plastic ceiling. The tiny glass pieces reflect whatever sunlight there is – little strokes of paint made with temporal light. What do I see? Dust, moving spots and if I look hard enough, little finger prints scattered around the panels. Funny how I seldom look up, and when I do, I discover so many ordinary things that stand out. Surprising me and make me stop time for a moment. How curious.
Unfamiliar scent of Singapore’s city life, but a smell familiar to all living beings. I dreamt of the forest – leaves singing under my feet, roots growing into the ground and tall trees growing out of reach. The smell bringing me back to a home I have no memory of. Dried leaves sleeping in the middle of the room. So silent, almost like a reminder of death. However, nothing dreadful came to my mind. But joy. A sense of peace and certainty that every end will bring about a new beginning, a new discovery.
And after this journey of how time is mine to stretch and grasp, I leave with the spaces of the blue building pulsing within my heart. A gift of peace and restored balance of the self, all city noises left behind.
Originally written for Popspoken