Thursday, June 27, 2013

Event: Face-to-Face with Loh Kah Seng, author of Squatters into Citizens: The 1961 Bukit Ho Swee Fire and the Making of Modern Singapore

Select Books and NUS Press are pleased to invite you to:

Face-to-Face with Loh Kah Seng, author of Squatters into Citizens: The 1961 Bukit Ho Swee Fire and the Making of Modern Singapore, on Saturday (6 July) at 5:00 pm.

The event will be moderated by Lai Chee Kien, Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore.

About Loh Kah Seng
Loh Kah Seng is Assistant Professor at the Institute of East Asian Studies, Sogang University. He co-authored The University Socialist Club and the Contest for Malaya: Tangled Strands of Modernity (Amsterdam University Press and NUS Press, 2012) and co-edited The Makers and Keepers of Singapore History (Ethos Books and Singapore Heritage Society, 2010).

About Squatters into Citizens
The crowded, bustling, 'squatter' kampongs so familiar across Southeast Asia have long since disappeared from Singapore, leaving few visible traces of their historical influence on the life in the city-state. In one such settlement, located in an area known as Bukit Ho Swee, a great fire in 1961 destroyed the kampong and left 16,000 people homeless, creating a national emergency that led to the first big public housing project of the new Housing and Development Board (HDB). HDB flats now house more than four-fifths of the Singapore population, making the aftermath of the Bukit Ho Swee fire a seminal event in modern Singapore.

Loh Kah Seng grew up in one-room rental flats in the HDB estate built after the fire. Drawing on oral history interviews, official records and media reports, he describes daily life in squatter communities and how people coped with the hazard posed by fires. His examination of the catastrophic events of 25 May 1961 and the steps taken by the new government of the People's Action Party in response to the disaster show the immediate consequences of the fire and how relocation to public housing changed the people's lives. Through a narrative that is both vivid and subtle, the book explores the nature of memory and probes beneath the hard surfaces of modern Singapore to understand the everyday life of the people who live in the city.

About Lai Chee Kien
Lai Chee Kien is Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore. He is a registered architect, and graduated from the National University of Singapore with an M Arch. by research [1996], and a PhD in History of Architecture & Urban Design from the University of California, Berkeley [2005]. He researches on histories of art, architecture, urbanism and landscapes in Southeast Asia. His publications include A Brief History of Malayan Art (1999), Building Merdeka: Independence Architecture in Kuala Lumpur, 1957-1966 (2007) and Singapore: Towards Another Botanical Age (2008). His latest book is Cords to Histories (2013).

Date and Time
Saturday, July 6, 2013
5:00pm

Location
Select Books
51, Armenian Street
Singapore 179939
Tel: (65) 6337 9319



Thursday, June 20, 2013

Event: Meet-the-Authors - Joshua Comraff and Ong Ker-Shing, authors of Horror in Architecture

Select Books is pleased to invite you to a Meet-the-Authors session with Joshua Comraff and Ong Ker-Shing, the authors of Horror in Architecture, on Saturday, July 6, 2013, at 3:00pm.

About Horror in Architecture
“There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportions.” – E.A.Poe Ligeia

This book looks at horror and its architectural analogues. These are buildings in which normal anatomy becomes strange: extra pieces appear, holes open where they should not, individual objects are doubled or split or perversely occupied. Conventions are refigured, showing a shift from 'natural' norms to new possibilities. 

Through an investigation that spans design, art, and literature, this book attempts to depict horror in its many tropes and forms - and in so doing to identify a creeping unease at the very centre of the modern architectural project. 

About the Authors 
Joshua Comaroff and Ong Ker-Shing are the founders of Lekker Design (www.lekkerdesign.com), an experimental design office. They met as students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and set up Lekker in 2002 to pursue research in the design of buildings and landscape. Their work includes experimental private houses, arts facilities, and varied design work for clients such as Herm├Ęs.

Joshua Comaroff is an architect, landscape architect, and academic geographer. He has a Master of Architecture and a Master of Landscape Architecture from Harvard, as well as a PhD in Geography from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Ong Ker-Shing is an architect and landscape architect. She has a Master of Architecture and a Master of Landscape Architecture from Harvard.

Date
Saturday, July 6, 2013
3:00pm to 4:00pm

Location
Select Books
51, Armenian Street
Singapore 179939
Tel: 6337 9319


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Books on Contemporary Art in Asia

These are recent additions to our wide collection of titles on contemporary art in Asia:

Contemporary Art in Hong Kong by Caroline Ha Thuc. The last decade has seen Hong Kong blossom into one of Asia's true artistic hotspots, with its galleries, art projects and fairs now flourishing along with local and international audiences. At the centre of this cultural renaissance are the artists themselves - working as both products and interpreters of Hong Kong's complex historical legacy. Though often finding themselves at odds with society's values, they have developed a wholly unique genre of art that acts as a vital bridge between a place and its people. The artist interviews in Contemporary Art in Hong Kong expose the countless links between history, culture and identity as well as Ha Thuc's conviction that art not only reflects society, but can also mould it.

The President's Young Talents 2013. Inaugurated by the Singapore Art Museum in 2001, the President's Young Talents is Singapore's premier commissioning exhibition, featuring the island's most promising artists under the age of 35. Selected by an independent curatorial committee of local art professionals, this year's PYT features new commissions from Boo Junfeng, Liao Jiekai, Zaki Razak, Grace Tan, Ryf Zaini and Robert Zhao Renhui. The catalogue features a dedicated section for each of the six artists, including curatorial essays and artist interviews, as well as showcasing previous works and the new PYT 2013 commission, offering a comprehensive overview and insight into the art-making processes of some of Singapore's most talented contemporary artists today.

Today and Tomorrow: Emerging Practices in Malaysian Art. This book offers a glimpse of the Malaysian art scene in the making, seeking out and briefly documenting practices and tendencies that have emerged over the past several years which have captured the attention of contemporary audiences. It showcases the works of game-changers and risk-takers in a shifting art ecology with the greater aim of capturing the spirit of a rising generation. Artists featured in the book include recent winners of The Young Contemporaries and Malaysian Emerging Artists Awards. Many of them are painters but there are also those focusing on photography, sound, street art and design as well as performance, installation, video and object-making.

New Faces New Works: China Contemporary Art by Zhao Li. New Faces, New Works: China Contemporary Art is edited by Zhao Li, a leading scholar of the Chinese contemporary art environment. In this book, he brings together critics, curators, media professionals and art professionals from around the world to nominate and select the most important events, phenomena, artists and artworks to emerge in Chinese contemporary art in 2010 and 2011. The results have been compiled into three sections of the book: "chronology," "new works from old faces" and "different works from new faces." This book will give readers a firm grasp of developments in Chinese contemporary art and provide them with solid recommendations for collection and investment in this field.

Tomorrow, Today: Contemporary Art from the Singapore Art Museum (2009-2011) edited by Tan Boon Hui and Joyce Toh. This is an essential guide to SAM's contemporary art collection. The works featured were brought into the collection from 2009 to 2011, following SAM's transformation into a contemporary art museum. There are over 300 fully illustrated artworks, including significant and iconic pieces from emerging artists and senior art practitioners from the Southeast Asian region, as well as China, India and Japan. This guide is an accessible resource for all artists, curators, critics and writers and art lovers interested in the region and Asia's contemporary art scene.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Talk by student photographers Nurfasihah Binti Abdullah and Nur Shafiqah Binte Md Abu Bakar

Here are photos from the talk by student photographers Nurfasihah Binti Abdullah and Nur Shafiqah Binte Md Abu Bakar on their photography project and exhibition at Select Books, titled Pulau Ubin: The Last Kampung - A photoessay by Nurfasihah and Nur Shafiqah, held on Saturday, June 15, 2013.

At the talk, Nurfasihah and Nur Shafiqah shared their reflections about why an island like Pulau Ubin is a treasure for our national and natural heritage, and answered questions from the audience about how they explored Pulau Ubin, did their research and put together their photoessay.







Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Event: Talk by student photographers Nurfasihah Binti Abdullah and Nur Shafiqah Binte Md Abu Bakar on Pulau Ubin

Select Books is pleased to invite you to a talk by two student photographers, Nurfasihah Binti Abdullah and Nur Shafiqah Binte Md Abu Bakar, on their photography project and exhibition at Select Books, titled Pulau Ubin: The Last Kampung - A photoessay by Nurfasihah and Nur Shafiqah.

At the talk, Nurfasihah and Nur Shafiqah will share their reflections about why an island like Pulau Ubin is a treasure for our national and natural heritage, and why the unique way of life on the island needs to be preserved despite rapid modernization.

Nurfasihah Binti Abdullah, 17, is an Arts student at St. Joseph’s Convent. She has practiced photography since 2008. She quotes Soren Kierkegaard, a philosopher from Denmark, who said, "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forewards" and adds, “To me, keeping the wild and nature alive, we have to understand how Pulau Ubin lived through the years. And as the photographer, I shouldn't be indifferent to things that may be extinct.”

Nur Shafiqah Binte Md Abu Bakar, 17, is a Malay Language Major at St. Joseph's Convent. Her interests include photography, arts and languages. She finds education and family as the most important things in her life. Shafiqah has practiced photography since 2009 and continues to enjoy it. “It helps me to relax and I learn a lot from my surroundings when I'm engaged through photography.”

The debut exhibition by the two young photographers also features selected pieces from guest photographers Dr Chua Ee Kiam and Marcus Ng, and is curated by Debby Ng.  It will be held till 30 June 2013.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Exhibition: Pulau Ubin: The Last Kampung - A photoessay by Nurfasihah and Nur Shafiqah

Select Books is pleased to host an exhibition of photographs by two student photographers, titled Pulau Ubin: The Last Kampung - A photoessay by Nurfasihah and Nur Shafiqah.

Nurfasihah Binti Abdullah, 17, is an Arts student at St. Joseph’s Convent. She has practiced photography since 2008. She quotes Soren Kierkegaard, a philosopher from Denmark, who said, "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forewards" and adds, “To me, keeping the wild and nature alive, we have to understand how Pulau Ubin lived through the years. And as the photographer, I shouldn't be indifferent to things that may be extinct.”

Nur Shafiqah Binte Md Abu Bakar, 17, is a Malay Language Major at St. Joseph's Convent. Her interests include photography, arts and languages. She finds education and family as the most important things in her life. Shafiqah has practiced photography since 2009 and continues to enjoy it. “It helps me to relax and I learn a lot from my surroundings when I'm engaged through photography.”

This debut exhibition by the two young photographers also features selected pieces from guest photographers Dr Chua Ee Kiam and Marcus Ng, and is curated by Debby Ng.  It will be held till 30 June 2013.

Guest Photographers
Dr Chua Ee Kiam is a Clinical Associate Professor with the Dental Faculty, NUS and Honorary Museum Associate with the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research. He believes that nature conservation is only possible if we are able to see what we are bestowed with and understand the intricacies of the relationships of living organisms. He has produced six coffee table books on nature, including Pulau Ubin: Ours To Treasure and Chek Jawa: Discovering Singapore's Biodiversity.

Marcus Ng is a freelance writer focused on Singapore’s natural and human heritage. He is the author of Habitats in Harmony: The Story of Semakau Landfill and A Ride to Remember: The Story of Mount Faber and Singapore Cable Car. He is an avid nature blogger and photographer.

Curator
Debby Ng has documented the natural world and its relationship with society and humanity for over a decade. She is the author of Life of my Sisters, a photographic documentary about the education of young women in Nepal. Debby has taught photojournalism to young women since 2011, with the intent to stimulate social awareness.