“this land was the sea”: The Intimacies and Ruins of Transnational Sand in Singapore

11 Mar 2022 10.00 AM - 11.30 AM Alumni, Current Students, Industry/Academic Partners, Prospective Students, Public
Organised by:
Cheryl Julia Lee

Singapore’s urban infrastructures—its reclaimed land, gleaming skyscrapers, orderly public housing, and manicured gardens—are central to its image as a successful postcolony and global city. This talk examines the work of the Singaporean conceptual artist Charles Lim and the Cambodian American documentary maker Kalyanee Mam in unsettling and bearing witness to the invisible collateral damage of this spectacle. Lim’s transmedial project, SEA STATE, attempts to catalogue, record, and understand Singapore’s immense territorial changes through a variety of media. Mam’s short film The Lost World follows a Cambodian fisherwoman and the devastation of her native mangrove swamp as it becomes a source of sand for Singapore. These texts are in a transnational dialogue on the scale, intimacies and ruins of the city-state’s rapid development.

About the Speaker:

Joanne Leow lives as a guest on Treaty Six Territory and the homeland of the Métis. She is Assistant Professor of decolonizing, diasporic, and transnational literatures at the University of Saskatchewan. Her most recent research is in positions: asia critique, Verge: Studies in Global Asias, and University of Toronto Quarterly. Her book project, Counter-Cartographies: Reading Singapore Otherwise, is forthcoming from Liverpool University Press in 2022. Her essays, fiction, and poetry have been published in BrickCatapultThe GooseIsleThe Kindling, The Town CrierQLRS, and Ricepaper Magazine. Her ecocritical SSHRC-funded project “Intertidal Polyphonies” is archived at intertidal.usask