The series looks into the psycho-physical architectures of dwelling. Its primary gesture is in the act of building site-specific, sonic proto-structures with concrete membranes. Recurring materials in this series include salt-infused concrete to coax the phenomenon of salt bloom (efflorescence) over time, and sonic piece Datum, a series of pulses composed from inverse gamelan sounds.
“...the very idea of dwelling inevitably brings with it an essentially topological mode of understanding…and, together with this, of notions such as belonging and identity”1
My art practice looks at notions of place, identity and embodiment. Primarily inspired by my migration experience to Singapore from Indonesia, many of my works engage with questions of home, belonging and memory. Through the architectural installation series Black—Hut (2016 - ongoing), I have been investigating the physical and psychological architecture of home by looking at the built form and materiality of the tropical dwelling typology, and the stories and histories embedded in them. Central to Black—Hut is the evocation of ‘place’, a somatic, site-specific experience that I have designed for visitors to the architectural installations, through strategies such as activating micro climate2 and directing ultra-focused sound.
Where do we begin to think about ‘home’ in virtual reality? If dwelling in the physical world prerequisites “a genuine relation to a place”3, how do we similarly form meaningful relations to a ‘place’ in the virtual world? Complicating the question further is the issue of perception - if a physical place is perceived through embodied experience, how do we dwell in virtual reality? The pandemic has accelerated the global trend towards the digital simulation of physical reality. Immersive virtual reality will be an inescapable dimension, with a time frame sooner than we imagine. In this context, (meta) hut is founded on the urgency to imagine strategies to locate and ground ourselves in a simulated dimension.
(meta) hut extends from the following questions:
1. How do we think about concepts of ‘place’ and ‘space’ in virtual reality?
2. How do we determine a ‘site’ or ‘locus’ in virtual space?
3. How do we think about the identity of a place in virtual reality?
4. How do we discuss tropicality - the representational dimension of the tropics in the virtual space?
5. If “the tropics is as much an imaginative and representational space as it is a physically located” space4 that is entangled with historical sociocultural contexts, how do we manifest these entanglements in the virtual space?
6. If environmental or climatic conditions are the prime determinants for the forms and materiality in tropical houses and housing, what would be the implication to site a tropical dwelling in virtual space?
7. Given the site-specificity of tropical houses and housing that results in diverse architectural expressions, does the virtual space suggest a digital vernacular for a (meta) house?
8. Phenomenology argues (that) human existence is described and understood as embodied, and socially and culturally embedded as being-in-the world5. However, regardless of advancements in immersive technology, the virtual world remains, at least for now, “unnatural” to our perceptual system, complicating and even challenging our mental mode of embodied experience in the physical world. How will this technically impact the strategies for the “construction of newly experienceable places”6 in virtual space?
- Jun 2022