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Encounters 12
Press conference, 24 March 2006
City Hall und Tanglin Camp, Singapore

The invitation to the press conference on March 24, 2006 was laid out like a top-secret document to correspond with the “official” character of the site of the event. The City Hall, erected in the 1920s, long housed Singapore’s central municipal administration and facilities of its Supreme Court. Here Japan signed the capitulation in 1945: here Lee Kuan Yew proclaimed Singapore’s internal autonomy in 1959; and here in this building, in 1965, the first government of the completely independent city-state was sworn in.

But now the building is mostly empty; it is to be remodeled into the National Art Gallery by 2010. For now, however, it is one of the settings of the Singapore Biennial, and some artists are creating installations in courtrooms and official offices that are still furnished.

In this venerable building, the organizers and the artistic director announced the now almost complete list of artists, the diverse exhibition sites, parts of the accompanying program, and other details of the first Singapore Biennial. After this brief overture, the audience rode buses through the city past some of the stations of the biennial course to Tanglin Camp. The press conference continued after a short viewing of the military camp, which was set up in the colonial period, now lies amid burgeoning tropical vegetation, and is one of the primary exhibition sites.


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