CIRCUIT#1 is a collection of artefacts by Singaporean independent artists working with contemporary performance. The online exhibition is curated by Dance Nucleus and supported by the National Arts Council (Singapore) through the Digital Presentation Grant.
CIRCUIT#1 is in good part a response to the 2020 ‘circuit breaker’ in Singapore, during which all residents were ordered to self-isolate and work from home for 7 weeks as a nationwide effort to counter the spread of the coronavirus. Then, as live artistic events were cancelled, artists – now literally ‘artists-in-residence’ – had to improvise novel ways of harnessing digital infrastructures, and to re-negotiate time and space in both quotidian and abstract senses, in order to continue with their research, creations and productions.
The materials in this exhibition do not constitute completed works of art per se, especially when the circuit breaker had obligated many artists to deviate from their initial plans and find alternatives to their initially intended modes of operation. ‘Artefact’ is a term used here to denote what is neither documentation of the artistic process nor artistic ‘product’, but may be used as a ‘third term’ as it were, to describe the different creative outcomes (that sometimes yield fruitful surprises) from the studies that artists had made as they navigate practical constrains faced over 2020.
In exhibiting these artefacts, CIRCUIT#1 also seeks to propose new potentials for dance and performance in Singapore. The intention is to expand the scope of choreographic praxis, and go beyond dichotomies of research and creation, process and product, rehearsal and presentation that have been taken for granted in the performing arts. Instead, different mediums – photography, video, text, drawings, etc – could be seen as varied ways of inscribing dance (corresponding to the -graphy suffix in ‘choreography’). In this expanded treatment, dance and performance, which are in essence about multi-faceted human experiences, can become practices in contingency, adaptability and potentiality; the very qualities needed in the time of COVID.