IF NOT ACCELERATE
(Two channel video, duration: 37’42, 2016)
If Not, Accelerate is a project that examines the issues of migrant labour in Singapore through the matrix of the polis, the Greek word for city. The etymological root of the words police, policy and polity, the polis as the de facto site of politics and its many entanglements provides the conceptual linkages to excavate the historic and contemporary links between Singapore and its large migrant labour population. Founded as a trading port, whereupon convicts brought to the city-state - in its dual role as penal colony – had built the very foundations of the city. Beyond their role in the ceaseless construction of the city, their status as indentured workers simultaneously defines the obverse to the constituted power of the land.
The titular work is a video wherein two migrant construction workers and the artist are driven on open-air lorries from the eastern-most point of the island by the airport, towards their dormitory at the western-most end. The video traverses through the many highways, cutting across its financial and commercial centre as a conversation plays out over subtitles on both channels. “BETTER LIFE LATER”, an oft-repeated phrase in the form of neon bulbs mounted on the lorry is emblazoned over the city backdrop.
Video excerpt: https://vimeo.com/286669083