It was during a delightfully sumptuous feast at Tiong Bahru Market with my friends when one of them quipped that it was the last day for the ADM Show at Gillman Barracks – an exhibition showcasing the blood, sweat and tears of the graduating batch of NTU’s ADM students. My interest piqued, I dragged my unsuspecting friend to join me in viewing the pieces.
Little did I know I would run into my club’s Vice-Chairperson and end up agreeing to help do a write up on my experience in the exhibition (sigh). But in all honesty I was more than happy to take up the task, due to how grateful I felt strolling through the galleries.
Creativity was the name of the game here, where I was treated to a buffet of pieces that stretched through almost all kinds of mediums you could think of. From a helpless robotic vacuum cleaner to fashion-week-worthy clothing wear. From a satirical post-anthropogenic cookbook to a drop dead gorgeous pixel art game (seriously, I wasn’t a fan of such games before but I just might be converted).
It’s difficult for me to put a finger onto which piece was my favourite, but if I had to make a choice the one that stood out the most to me would have to be the artist book “I’ll Always Be Here For You” by Crystal Sim. It’s a book that sought to express Sim’s personal struggle with self-harm; and does a very poignant job at doing so. The clothbounded book alternated between ambiguous black and white pictures and various textiles as one flips through the pages. The textures that Sim used matched the corresponding picture, serving to weave a story together as it devolves into a spiral of uncontrollable despair – with pages literally turning darker.
Thankfully, the book ended on a slightly less disturbing note, which I hope represented Sim’s path towards recovery. By the end, I realised that I had momentarily been sucked into an alternate dimension; a place where I was in close and intimate contact with the deepest and darkest recesses of the author’s mind.
This whirlwind of an experience wasn’t exclusive to this installation alone. Countless of others similarly transported my mind to ethereal spaces, reaffirming my belief in the efficacy that art can have in conveying messages to people. It was also a heartening experience to see an exciting local art scene emerging before my very eyes, teasing me as to what we can truly make in this little red dot.
I’m certain that I’ll attend next year’s show on the first day!