Retirement Plan

Retirement Plan

Everyday Museum
SAM Singapore Art Museum,

A performance along the Singapore Rail Corridor by Tini Aliman and Cristiana Cott Negoescu

retirement plan/pelan persaraan is an homage to the human and non-human beings that resided in, traversed across, perished within or were displaced from the Rail Corridor. This performance, conceived by sound artist Tini Aliman and performance artist Cristiana Cott, asks: As we connect to the ground on which we walk and pay attention to the soundscape of local sites, can we discover who was here originally, how they arrived and for what reasons? Can we also shift away from the binaries that structure colonial thought, such as self/other, human/animal and culture/nature?

Before the introduction of the national archival system, songs and melodies were modes of ancestral storytelling and served as historical documentation of lives and events. The postwar years ushered in the radio as a form of mass media and popular entertainment in Singapore. This performance references the format of Radio Malaya, exploring how sound can conjure memories that resist the state’s built environment, art historiography and cultural history, providing alternative narratives that shape both community and nation.

retirement plan/pelan persaraan is inspired by The Everyday Museum’s self-guided audio trail episode Speaking of which: A Living Blueprint, which features sound compositions and field recordings, also by Tini Aliman.

“This was cute, intimate, subtly transgressive 30-min performance work—Tini, barefoot on a pimped out mobility scooter, played the sound of the old KTM train leaving the station (clang! clang! clang!) & drove deeper into the Rail Corridor Park, where Cristiana sat on a bench—then she cleaned Cristiana’s limp hands & feet, brushed her hair, fed her Milo & biscuits, hauled her onto the scooter & pulled her along like she was a rickshaw puller, while Cristiana read excerpts of a Nuraliah Norasid SFF story into a mike, losing energy & doubling over every coupla minutes.

I read this in through a colonial/racial lens at first: was preservation of the Rail Corridor’s historical & natural heritage akin to sucking up to white masters? (The mid-century archival recordings, including of LKY’s independence speech, kinda added to that interpretation.) But looking at the title, & considering how one of the last audio excerpts was from the naturalist Subaraj (I think?), it probably makes more sense to think of this as an act of gritty empathy: can we think of heritage preservation the same way we’re bound to care for our seniors?

Also part of the spectacle: confused joggers & cyclists, staring at us every few minutes. This is why we take contemporary art out of the museum.”


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