Calvin Chua was recently featured at the Visual Arts exhibition for Singapore Encore in Brussels on Wednesday, 25th November 2009 at the Musical Instruments Museum. This event was organised in partnership with the Singapore International Foundation and the Singapore Embassy in Belgium. In attendances were about 150 dignitaries from the diplomatic, business and cultural sectors of Belgian society.
The object, Field of Engagement, reveals a “field” of information on [re:act]’s various projects (indicated as overlapping ripples) depicting their influence and impact. The rectangular cut-outs are mini video screens showcasing selected significant projects. Similarly, [re:act]'s vision of engaging social issues within the architectural field, can only be uncovered through a sensitive process of observation, analysis and implementation. We have selected three significant projects at different levels of engagement and perspectives are selected to provide insights into issues of conservation and planning within Singapore, ranging from an intimate and personal video in an attempt to save the remaining rustic charm of colonial houses and the community at Seletar Airbase; to a video which showcases design proposals by youths at a workshop, Design my Place, conducted to uncover 'hidden' issues within their urban neighbourhood environment. One thesis of theirs is to examine critical pactice against the practice of engagement. Specific buildings and projects do not matter as much as a focus on strategies and policies that can generate a whole series of projects, which then take on a life of their own and evolve over time, adapting to changes in the social and political culture. While working on this object for the Venice Biennale, it allowed them to critically reflect the representation of their socially engaged projects in a formalized installation. Given the fact that their projects do not have specific aesthetics, they took on an approach of representing our projects in terms of values of influences and impacts.
Field of Engagement was presented at the SINGAPORE SUPERGARDEN, Venice Biennale 2008.