Early Internet Art in Malaysia 8

I had begun my practice as an artist in the late 1980’s with a series of paintings and had moved onto a more self-consciously critical performance/ installation practice when, in 1995, I found the World Wide Web, with its capacities for instantaneous connectivity, hypertextual linking and multimedia convergence. I then transferred my practice to this new medium and between 1996 and 1998 made two web works and La Folie de la Peinture (1998), is the second of these. It is archived in fragments on the Wayback Machine.

At the center of this work was a remediation of a set of installation photographs, linked in such a manner as to represent movement through the space, with the experience of each ‘work’ recast as a multimedia experience (WAV, GIF, MOV and VRML files). The text (hypertext) was an integral part of this web work and in it, I set out some contextualizing ideas. These ideas were also presented within a wider theoretical framework in a paper titled Toward a Universal Theory of Convergence: Transcending the Technocentric View of the Multimedia Revolution presented at INET 1998 in Geneva. These points originally made in 1998 are presented below –

* With the emergence of abstract colour-field painting, the placement of works on the gallery wall became integral to the presentation and, in the light of this transient ‘installation’ aspect of the presentation, photographic documentation began to take on a new significance.

* While the ‘installation shot’ confirms the uniqueness of the ‘site’ of the installation, this photographic documentation leaves its own mass (mechanical reproduction) condition unindexed and has, quite surreptitiously, become the ‘extended’ medium, of installation art.

* As bandwidth increases and multimedia technology goes online, fluidly articulating the remote experience of image, moving image, text and sound in an interactive ‘virtual reality’, it will become increasingly difficult to differentiate between an actual place, person or thing from its image or representation.

* As the representations contained on the multitude of servers on the Internet exist in virtual proximity, ‘here’ and ‘there’ have been brought together in the ‘now’ of fiber optic connectivity. The instantaneous connectivity of computer mediated communication, appears to have eliminated geographical distance and the modern/ postmodern distinction of ‘site’ and ‘non-site’ is no longer be meaningful.

https://web.archive.org/web/19990826231718/http://www.kunstseiten.de/installation/

https://web.archive.org/web/20160103142357/https://www.isoc.org/inet98/proceedings/7c/7c_1.htm

Early Internet Art in Malaysia 6

In 1998, I made my 2nd web art work titled La Folie de la Peinture (The Madness of Painting), fragments of which are archived on the Wayback Machine site. This was a comprehensive, if condensed, articulation of my critique of the movement from modernist abstraction, via conceptualism, to the photographic ontology of postmodern installation and performance art. My own practice had been evolving along this trajectory until, in the mid 1990’s, I found the World Wide Web with its capacities for instantaneous connectivity, hypertextual linking and multimedia convergence. La Folie de la Peinture was featured in the 2nd Multimedia Asia Pacific Festival (MAAP) 1999,: COLLAPSING GEOGRAPHIES online exhibition which was part of the Third Asia Pacific Triennial, Screen Culture and Virtual Triennial program.

The opening image of this navigational work was a direct flatbed scan of a bottle of Cuvée Tradition French wine that we had recently consumed. The two hyperlinked hotspots on the image that took the user through to the rest of the work were a ‘black square’ and the word ‘ZIP‘, references to the endgame in American hard-edged abstraction. Black square took the user through to a set of photographic images, remediated documentation, of an installation made at the Tower House Studios, Goldsmith’s college, London in 1991. These images were linked in such a manner as to enable a simulation of the navigation of the space and the experience of each ‘work’ in the new web ‘space’ as a reinterpretation in multimedia for online viewing. This part of the web work was augmented with physical objects from the original installation and a new desktop VR interface, when La Folie de la Peinture was presented at the Substation, Singapore in 2001 in a two-person show with Joe Lewis titled, Layers … Reality … Memory.

ZIP‘ took the user through to a modified image of a vulgar performative intervention I made in 1995. at the site of Bernard Tchumi’s architectural reification of the deconstructive ethos at the Parc de la Vilette, Paris.

https://web.archive.org/web/19990826231718/http://www.kunstseiten.de/installation/

https://www.maap.org.au/exhibition/maap-1999-collapsing-geographies/

http://tschumi.com/projects/3/


0 Performance

This video documents a performance at the Aliran Semasa symposium held at the National Art Gallery in 2013. This performance marked my Malaysian homecoming after ten years away in Western Canada.

I appeared at the event wearing a brand-new Rockmount Western shirt with tags intact. As the symposium began, my mother the late Sathiavathy Deva Rajah was invited on stage, to give me a traditional Indian/ Hindu blessing by placing chanthanam (sandalwood paste) and kunggumum (red turmeric powder) on my forehead. Then, facing the audience, I remove the shirt, draped it on a pre-installed hanger at the back of the stage and my mother consecrated it with the same chanthanam and kunggumum. The shirt was left hanging for the duration of the symposium and then presented to the gallery.

1 Keling Maya
2 Cyberspace
3 Model
4 Heterotopia
5 Rajinikanth
6 Heroes
7 Telinga Keling
8 Keling Babi
9 Duchamp
10 MGG Pillai
11 Pantun
12 Praxis
13 Dochakuka
14 Post-tradition
15 Philosophia Perennis

Conceptualism Podcast

A marathon podcast with Afraaz Mulji. We had a great time, 3:05:33 worth of talk! Can you handle it!

Relevant Links

Koboi Balik Kampung
https://koboibalikkampung.wixsite.com/series

Berhijrah
https://koboibalikkampung.wixsite.com/berhijrah

The Failure of Marcel Duchamp
https://niranjanrajah.wixsite.com/marcelduchamp

A Fish in Formaldehyde is Fine
https://niranjanrajah.wixsite.com/fishinformaldehyde

The Discoveries 6

This is a view of the Afonso de Albuquerque park a from the Presidential Palace, no less! This image is from a book on the Belem Palace by Jose Antonio Saraiva that was presented to me by … well the Palace! … Oh all right! by a kind lady at the Palace bookshop with whom I had had a great conversation about the Koboi Project. It really made my day, and more than made up for being turfed out of the Park and banned from performing there by the Palace guards! In fact, this perspective shows how much the park is an integral part of landscape architecture of the palace grounds. And also how much my flag and megaphone would have been in the awareness of the security personnel, the staff and maybe even the occupants of the palace over the last year. I got away with performing right there by the monument a few times in July 1998 and in June this year before I was told that I had to seek official permission through my embassy as I was within the security perimeter of the palace.

Image: from Belem Palace by Jose Antonio Saraiva

Performance Masterclass

vexillationOr perhaps ‘Post Photo-conceptual Performance’ … a tag I have been developing to locate my practice at the junction of photography and performance. While the tag needs much refinement, I think the praxis itself seems now, after 5 years of the Koboi Project, to be reasonably developed. I had the privilege of delivering a Masterclass in Performance Art as Faculty at the International Ismaili Diamond Jubilee Arts Festival in Lisbon, which ran from the 5-9 July 2018.
See https://koboibalikkampung.wixsite.com/nuntengporta/masterclass

In this class, I shared my preparations for two impromptu photo-performances that took place at the Alfonso De Albuquerque Monument and the Discoveries Monument in Belem on 7th and 8th July 2018, respectively. I took the workshop participants, who were amateur and professional artists from the global Ismaili diaspora through my preparations for the two street interventions. They participated in my search for a meaningful action. We began the class within the designated presentation space and finished outside absorbing the architecture Portugal Pavilion and the masterclass itself into the spectacle and symbol of the event. In the light of his exercise and the images it produced, I have clarified for myself the stations of my process and have articulated them in a set of 12 words and images.

Ulagam Ulagam

discoverydetailUPCOMING: The next Koboi performance will take place at the Discovery monument in Belem, Lisbon between 5.30pm and 7pm, 8th July 2018. For details please visit https://koboibalikkampung.wixsite.com/nuntengporta

 In this  performance I will attempt to find an image, provisonally titled Ulagam Ulagam. I make reference to another representation of mastery over the world by way of a song from MGR’s Ulagam Suthum Valiban (World Perambulating Young Man), a blockbuster of Tamil cinema from 1973. In the performance I will raise my Pazaham Neeyappa banner with its image of Tamil movie SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth at the sites of the monuments. The audio component of the performance will include Fausto’s A Guerra é a Guerra [fromthe 1982 album Por Este Rio Acima.(Up this River), the Ulagam Ulagam soundtrack, a cello rendition of Jinkli Nona by Tara Rajah, and verses from Kalau Roboh Kota Melaka and Ulagam Ulagam spoken in Portuguese by Hugo Moss. Jane Frankish will read selections from her Poems on the megaphone. Cards presenting the state flag of Melaka will be distributed.

 Ulagam Ulagam

Ulagam
Azhagu kalaigalin surangam
Paruva chilaigalin arangam
Kaalamey odivaa
Kaadhaley thedivaa

World!
A cavern of beautiful art
A hall of youthful forms
Time … advance on me
Love … come seek me

Mundo!
Uma caverna de arte bela
Um salão de formas joviais
Tempo… avança em mim
Amor…venha me procurar

 உலகம்
அழகு கலைகளின் சுரங்கம்
பருவசிலைகளின் அரங்கம்
காலமே ஓடிவா
காதலே தேடிவா

 

Malaca Malaca

papan dijawaKoboi performance: 4.30 – 6.00pm will take place at the Alfonso De Albuquerque Square and the in Belem, Lisbon, 7th July 2018. For details please visit https://koboibalikkampung.wixsite.com/nuntengporta

The Alfonso de Albuquerque square is located in front of the Belém Palace in Belem Lisbon. Alburquerque the Second Governor of Portuguese India and the conqueror of the city of Melaka. AT the centre of the square is an impressive monument to the Governor by Silva Pinto and António Augusto da Costa Motta that was completed in 1902. The monument carries a bronze statue of Afonso de Albuquerque on a column with four reliefs on the pedestal. The four relief panels are – the defeat of the army of the king of Hormuz, the entrance of Albuquerque in Goa and the handing over of the city keys, the embassy to the king of Narcinga Lisboa and the taking of Malacca.

Discoveries Monument

Ulagam Ulagam

UPCOMING: Impromptu Koboi performances will take place at the Alfonso De Albuquerque and the Discoveries monuments in Belem, Lisbon betwen 7- 9th of July 2018. For details please visit https://koboibalikkampung.wixsite.com/nuntengporta

The monument to the Discoveries was initially a temporary edifice built for the Portuguese World exhibition of 1940. It was reified as a permanent monument to Portuguese marine adventure and power by the far-right imperialist Second Republic government that ruled Portugal from 1933 to 1974. It was completed in 1960. I will erect my Kabali banner in the vicinity of the monument and in my performance, make reference to a rather different representation of mastery over the world by way a song from MGR’s Ulagam Suthum Valiban (World Perambulating Young Man), a blockbuster of Tamil cinema from 1973. On a personal note this intervention brings together fragments of knowledge and memory from my childhood in Malaysia – history lessons, local tourism, globetrotting relatives … indeed, I was taught about the great European voyages of discovery and conquest. The film song I use, Ulagam Ulagam, and its visual elements are also resonant for me – Subang International airport in Kuala Lumpur, Tiger Balm Gardens in Singapore and Expo 70 in JApan … one of my uncles went and brought us some souvenirs. The idea of globalization was just taking shape in the time of the film’s release tourism and it seems to me MGR was looking back up the marine telescope of Discovery via his images of global tourism.​

Ulagam
Azhagu kalaigalin surangam
Paruva chilaigalin arangam
Kaalamey odivaa
Kaadhaley thedivaa

World!
A cavern of beautiful art
A hall of youthful forms
Time … advance on me
Love … come seek me

Mundo!
Uma caverna de arte bela
Um salão de formas joviais
Tempo… avança em mim
Amor…venha me procurar

 உலகம் அழகு கலைகளின் சுரங்கம்
பருவசிலைகளின் அரங்கம்
காலமே ஓடிவா
காதலே தேடிவா

Koboi Project Masterclass

portugal pav

The Koboi Project will be the basis of a Masterclass at the International Ismaili Jubliee Arts Festival at the Portugal Pavilion in Lisbon on the 6th July 2018. This class is part of an extensive visual arts programme which runs from the 6-9 July. I shall be presenting the praxis, poetics and politics that constitutes my work by sharing and explaining my preparation for street interventions that will take place in Belem between the 7th and the 11th of July. I will lead the workshop participants on a search for a meaningful action at the junction of art and everyday life, between performance and photography, and between intervention and conviviality. I will articulate a theory of performance without proscenium and a methodology for enacting contemporary rituals. We will begin the Masterclass within the designated presentation space of the Portugal Pavilion and finish outside absorbing the architecture Pavilion itself into the spectacle of the event.

https://prodesk.jubileeartsfestival.org/artist-events/