7th Havana Biennial -  Home November 2000 - January 2001Home
Amanda Heng - Statement
Amanda Heng Interview by Pat Binder and Gerhard Haupt.
A. Heng: "Narrating Bodies" is an ongoing project. I have been working with my mother since 1996. The idea is to reconnect with my mother in order to find out about myself. Of course it's not just about myself. It's basically about identity, but related to many other aspects - for example: our cultural identity or our national identity in relation to the political situation in Singapore; also, my mother's generation and my generation's developments, for instance in terms of gender identity. The question is: how do I reposition myself as a woman in this very new country, Singapore, which is basically an immigrant country with people from India, China and so on? The problems with dealing with our traditional heritage from China and this very new high-tech situation now in Singapore - I'm trying to reconcile that and reposition myself.

The work here uses old and new photos and reconstructed photos. The focus was looking for some kind of contact between my mother and myself. I enlarged these old photos by using laser print and rephotographing them with the present body. There are many, many different kinds of photos I used, rephotographed and put together. The process itself was important. It's a kind of active process in remembering or reconnecting or reconstructing these relations.

Binder/Haupt: How is your performance related to the piece? Is it a part of it or independent from it?

A. Heng: It is very much part of it. When you deal with photographs, whether new or old, you are dealing with a two-dimensional plane. But with the objects and my body, it gives a different time dimension. The old photographs are in the past and new photographs represent another time-space and now doing a performance with my real body takes place in a live, real time.

Binder/Haupt: What is the situation with performance in Singapore now from your perspective? Is it as difficult as in 94 or so?

A. Heng: Yes, in a single Singaporean context, it is still difficult but it is beginning to open up. I think what is important now for people is to talk about it. What we try to do is to perform more and discuss it so the people come up with a better understanding of what performance art is.

Binder/Haupt: Could you still have a real problem in your country with a performance like this one here?

A. Heng: I think you can do a performance now, or find your way and strategy to do a performance in an art context, for example at art exhibitions or art events, but you still need to get a license from the institution. You don't get funding from the national art councils. We're trying to change this wrong impression so that we can get funding for performance art. We still have to work very hard for that.

© Interview, photos:
Gerhard Haupt & Pat Binder,
Universes in Universe
Amanda Heng

Amanda Heng
Heng - 1 Tour

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