For its inaugural Art and Science Open Call, The Substation presents the work of photographer Zen Teh in Sensing States: Healing Spaces. After a year-long research process in collaboration with a science professional, Zen aims to explore notions experiencing nature in the context of urban Singapore. Sensing States: Healing Spaces will be a three part immersive experience that hopes to lead visitors on a journey that will inspire them to reconnect with nature. Lee Weng Choy speaks to Zen about this process of collaboration.
Lee Weng Choy: Is the Art and Science Open Call your first time attempt at trying to meld the arts and the sciences?
Zen Teh: Actually prior to that I had been trying to do some arts-sciences collaborations with teachers in school – biology teachers or chemistry teachers – just so that I could understand more about the scientific process. When I was in secondary school, I struggled with choosing my O-Level subjects: should I just choose arts or should I choose science? I was about to drop arts actually, but my art teacher said she would not approve it. So I decided to continue studying art, but I still had an interest in the sciences.
LWC: What are some of the things you hope to achieve through this project?
ZT: For me I am just hoping that the outcome, the work, the exhibition can help to build more understanding about our relationship with nature. This could be through an artistic or scientific perspective of how nature is portrayed. I hope that the show will provoke questions about perception of nature, lead them to develop an interest in the subject.
LWC: When you think about the question of process and research, do you feel that there’s a difference between them?
ZT: Yes, I think there’s a difference. The term ‘research’ does sound a bit more scientific. To me, it seems like that is a process that is quite clearly structured and transparent, whereas the term ‘process’ seems to refer to something more spontaneous.
For myself, I don’t know if I can distinguish between research and process in what I do. For me this is something pretty organic, something that interests me, something that is relatable to my life. The whole purpose of this project, to investigate our relationship with nature is because this is my interest, and this is what I think about on a very regular basis.
For example, I have been a vegetarian for about 13 years. It’s a part of my lifestyle, and a part of everything I do. I guess the process does sort of involve some form of research in a sense that I need to find out more about certain areas. And that is why this collaboration with a science professional is so important.
Exhibition: Sensing States: Healing Spaces
Dates: 10 – 27 October 2015
Venue: ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974
Hours: 10am – 7pm daily