[Talk] Instructions Not Included: Grounded Conversations with Dennis Tan

Held in conjunction with the ongoing exhibition, “There are too many episodes of people coming here …”, NUS Museum presents Instructions Not Included by Dennis Tan as part of the Grounded Conversations series.

Focusing on his kolek boat included in the exhibition, Tan will draw on his collaboration with a group of boat-makers from Keban, Riau Islands of Indonesia as a way of articulating his mode of working that is intuitive, adapting and shared. The artist will speak about how certain misinterpretations and hunches become shaped into opportunity to understand another’s culture of making objects. In his reconstruction of the Keban’s version of the sailboat, Tan investigates ideas of inter-generational exchange of skills and knowledge and how this enables cultural continuities.

About the artist
Dennis Tan (b. 1975) went to an arts college in Singapore and graduated with a diploma in Painting. Tan subsequently took on further studies in Environmental Design and Architecture in Australia. Tan is a bricoleur whose practice involves thinking while making as he tinkers with found objects and the environment as a gestural structure. His works have been featured mostly in exhibitions in Singapore and Australia since 1997. He was the founder of the artspace The Other House as well as Harou - an atelier that builds, makes, tinkers and designs while enjoying wonky architecture gestures. Tan was part of running Mettleworks, a co-shared space for makers in Singapore.

A current thread in Tan's practice evokes an interest in communities off the coast of Singapore that live through circumstances such as the reconstruction of a floating fish farm and the boat-building tradition. Working around terrains of water, his constructions involve the use of makeshift, found materials and adapting to the work processes of these communities. His work manifests as impermanent by nature and vernacular in its construction.

About the exhibition
“There are too many episodes of people coming here...” builds on the previous exhibition’s interest towards the textuality of exhibitions, bringing in additional materials by artists Charles Lim, Dennis Tan and Zai Kuning as a means to rewrite and open up newer points of departure. Each work or project may be considered in its own right and contexts, or may be read simultaneously as episodic units of meaning. This inclusion of newer materials by the aforementioned artists generates a new complexity for the exhibition, but at the same time points to the very conditions of the exhibitionary medium.

About the series
Presenting a series of distinct projects on how art practitioners have begun to adopt comprehensive paradigms in their fieldwork methods traditionally associated with anthropological and historical research, Grounded Conversations brings together practitioners from the contemporary art world to unravel this ‘anthropological turn’.

Image Credit: Dennis Tan
Thu Nov 10, 2016
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM SGT
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NUS Museum
Instructions Not Included (Thurs, 10 Nov, 7pm) FULL
Venue Address
50 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119279 Singapore
1. Car/taxi: By Clementi Road, first entrance from the highway. The museum is right after UCC. 2. Kent Ridge MRT: Internal Shuttle Bus D2. 3. Clementi MRT: Svc 96. 4. Kent Ridge Terminal: Svc 151.
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