The journey becomes art at Asian transport exhibit

Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:17am EDT
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Transport is all about speed, convenience, predictability and the destination. Or is it?

A group of Southeast Asian artists would rather commuters slow down, focus on the journey, its impact on the environment and the urban landscape, and also take note of the emotions and the transience of life we often take for granted.

"We are all sharing one world," says Vietnamese photographer Tung Mai, one of 15 artists taking part in the "TransportASIAN" exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum.

"My main purpose is to ensure visitors become aware of the speed of their lifestyle, to slow down and to spend a little time to care for others, especially the less fortunate."

A play on words, the exhibition in part documents the history of transport in Asia through images, video and installations that also explore the process through the themes of time, space, action and fiction.

There is Tung Mai's photo wheel attached to a bicycle which visitors are asked to pedal backwards, not forwards, and the huge canvas-like works of Singaporean Samantha Tio who spent six months photographing lit-up vehicles on the night-time streets of four Asian cities, often up to six hours at a time.

"Transportation is a very relevant theme for contemporary Asia, where we have metropolises booming at unprecedented rates. Speed and progress are buzzwords for our leaders," Tio said.

"But it's when we slow ourselves down that we can actually appreciate and see. It's an amazing spiritual process."   Continued...