01 June 2017 / 7 – 9pm
This exhibition is an attempt to confront the influences on societal sensibilities. Two bodies of work, Good for Nothing and Museum of Modern Sympathy, are the manifestations of the artists’ comments on what defines an individual’s behaviour in today’s society.
This exhibition is a showcase for the two recipients of the Kwek Leng Joo Prize of Excellence in Still Photography 2016 – Pang Yun Jing and Kevin Fee. Initiated in 2009, the award was established to recognise photographic excellence among students at NTU’s School of Art, Design and Media.
Good For Nothing (Performance Art)
Most believe that to idle is to let life pass unfulfillingly, that idleness is partaking in futile and repetitive activities that ultimately amount to nothing. Idleness is frowned upon, while white-collar employment is often lauded as the highest achievement of modern capitalist society. An individual’s worth seems inherently tied to his/her employment status. Good For Nothing, a performance piece by Pang Yun Jing, is a pseudo-company in which the artist is self-employed, engaging in mundane and mindless tasks within a generic office environment. This performance satirizes society’s obsession with being productively occupied, pandering to the expectation that to be considered successful, one must be working regular hours in an office daily. Yet what does it mean to be productive? Is time considered well spent only when we are productive? Is mindless work productive, or simply another form of idleness?
Museum of Modern Sympathy
The Museum of Modern Sympathy by Kevin Fee is a fictional archive of the sympathy in the modern society. Sympathy is almost always in the form of a response, which is very easy to do as it also sets up no obligation to forming a connection. Fashionably on a superficial level, the demonstration of sympathy often influences many aspects of our life, endorsed by the powers of impression. Modern sympathy has become a social currency.
Many campaigns have further contributed to the rising demand for modern sympathy with their efforts in encouraging it. Without proper consideration for its role and application in the society, we could lose its emotional values to materialistic ones. The overwhelming frequency of its misplaced practices might also lead to our loss of tendency to empathise.
“Empathy fuels connection, sympathy drives disconnection.” – Brené Brown