Inspired by Critique of a Spectacular Life by Chien Swee-Teng, this project questions the use-value of books, the double meanings of the word ‘de-composition’, mass reproduction, and our diminishing notion of the sacred and the profane.

Containing a story of a book anthropomorphized as a woman, and how her existence is akin to a prostitute, the manually produced, A0-sized tome of hand-painted text is illustrated with drawings produced within 24-hours in a dodgy hotel room in Geylang. The full content, only accessible to the audience through scheduled staged-readings performed as a sacred ritual*, attempts to reiterate how aura is compromised or perverted in this pseudo-secular world governed and seduced by the Principles of Technocratic Convenience.

“Bras Basah is a sinful place and all librarians are pimps! In the beginning was the word. And the word was with God. But by making the One into many, the process is reversed and god is turned into a dog. And the pages become dog-eared. And thus, what began as sacred is now profane!!! Oh my dog!”

Chien Swee-Teng, ‘Chapter 11 – Publication is Prostitution’ in Critique of a Spectacular Life (Recto: 1989)

Installation + Performance

Dimensions variable

Collection: Singapore Art Museum