- We are Grieve Perspective, an art collective that is bedevilled by our own dark art.
- Collective creativity is as deterministic as writing a novel with an Ouija board. It is not consensus that determines our trajectory but the invisible hand of another party and the needs, wants and desires of this agent are only visible through a post-mortem. The only surety of this unsafe method is the reliability of our tools and imagination.
- In the markets of Farrer Park, one of Singapore’s less rational districts, feng shui wheels can be bought inside which a compass has been set, its function being to navigate safe passage round the two pillars of Southeast Asia’s neurosis: fortune and death.
- With these twin instruments of navigation directing our hearts and minds we made our way through the system. We learned the rules of rule breaking and our time as disciples of art was ninety per cent a destructive experience for which we are mostly grateful. Coherence came after as a consideration of disease; our art given form after we acquired the mad craft of celebrating our sickness.
- We know that it is also possible to have too much health and the obscene fecundity of the tropics can surprise those who are not used to it. Throughout Singapore, life is being passed from the dead to the living: leave a chicken sandwich alone on the ground for two days and you will return to find it thick with ants.
- We have gained almost complete dominion over our wilder side and only white men want to visit our jungle, mistaking it perhaps for a glorified version of their nurturing forests. We know it for what it is: a steam-driven rendering plant transmuting the unguarded organic into compost. That which we have not cut down we unsentimentally turn over to the military to be used as their stomping ground.
- But we do have shopping malls, growing as quickly as our jungles once did. Despite their bombast, Singapore’s malls deliver what is to Western eyes a threatening lacklustre, an embodiment of the nothingness at the heart of an apocalypse without apocalypse. The idea of Apocalypse has less purchase here because our future is guiltless, or where at least the guilt is someone else’s.
- We are in a young country born into end times and we are in a hurry. Our skies are famously clear, our buildings sanitised and our people law-abiding but our collective blood is three shades darker than you might imagine and our hearts, which are pragmatic yet sentimental, beat twice as fast.
- We articulate with high-end motion compositing software, a technology that lives in a zone between filmmaking and animation yet is neither. Offering pixel-perfect control over every aspect of a film’s appearance, the compositor is god. In skilled hands these technologies impart life to the raw stuffs upon which they work: a re-animation, rendering them alive/ not-alive. We love our digital tools and prefer the composite's morbid allure to the plebeian vulgarities of film, which we consider our enemy and prejudice.
- On the back of this slippery celluloid beast we ride our way into men’s hearts through the lies we have carved into its surface with our canny digital voodoo. The digital medium is at heart a printing medium and as such suits our need to disseminate and multiply. We love the fact that a thing endlessly repeated becomes meaningful by virtue of its concrete insistence yet also meaningless by the same measure.
- Video loops are a recurring feature of our work. This running on the spot is just another manifestation of our desire for travel to impossible places. Men can go to the moon and come back with samples, photographs and one-day even snow globes, but death is beyond tourism. An altogether titillating restriction also presents itself: that we may observe death but we cannot go there and observe it. Such an idea refuses purchase: our minds slide off its surface and we are left with its shadow, not its thing.
- Grieve Perspective, as our name obliquely implies, are navigating through loss to a point of critical distance. In feeding off the dead we must, of course, be careful that in the process we do not catch any of their diseases.
- We have, however, our own healthy crop of infections coursing through our veins – vital components of who we are. We are proud of these pathogens and cannot consider a life without them, for if there is one thing that we have learned when examining our limits, it is that we should celebrate them.
- This is, by the way, a manifesto, so in the time honoured tradition of that art form we end with a list of unreasonable pronouncements:
- The West! We have the name and address of your locksmith; you will go home tonight and find that you have been locked out.
- The Past! We look down at your hands, and see naked sock puppets flopping haplessly, shouting directions to places already gone?
- The Dead! We coat our bodies with the black juice of your exudation. Thus glamoured, your arrows bounce off our skin!
- The Optical! It is our job, duty and furious pleasure to sully you with our splendid tools, and we piss on all those who value your accident-wrought form.