Thursday 13 November 2014

10 Questions with | Melvin Tan

1. Tell us about yourself in a sentence. 

Hi, I am Melvin Tan, a visual communications graduate from NTU ADM with interests in art & graphic design.

2. How did you end up in Curating Lab?
I knew of Curating Lab from my peers and thought it was a great programme to learn about exhibition-making. It suited my interests and the programme commenced at the point of my graduation. I applied and got through!

3. What has been your moment of Curating Lab so far?
Photo credit: Bernice & Samantha

Yesterday team CCA (Bernice, Samantha, Kenneth & myself) met at Liang Court to eat some Japanese food, but only after 8:30pm because it is 50% off. Then we proceeded to sit on the dark side of a pedestrian bridge along the river of Clarke Quay with Asahi Beer cans in our hands to talk about the exhibition. —I don't think there was a particular moment in the programme but making new friends, learning to work with each other and eventually warming up to each other is most precious.

4. What is FOCA? How does it work?

Free of Charge Artshow (FOCA) is an independent collective of five individuals who organize group shows addressing shifting concerns within, or running parallel to dominant cultural discourse, by way of documentation, dialogue and community building.

Nothing is really ‘free of charge’ irl, but I remembered we began with intentions of doing exhibitions by means of sheer generosity within the community. Free of charge can also mean ‘not controlled by certain responsibilities’, ‘not subjected to rules of’, ‘not fixed on one’s impetus’… etc. We like that.

5. What should I know about your exhibition?
Photo Credit: Jonathan Tan

Who’s Looking: Surf & Turf looks at the engagements with art today by different art audiences. It is a very loaded exhibition that engages with multiple entry points and elicits tangential discussions. We are happy with all the different readings people have with the show.

There is a post-event publication currently being done and we are working with a designer to come up with a digital/printed format that is going to be really crazy and exciting.

6. You co-curated the show and contributed artworks. How did this work out for you?
Photo Credit: Jonathan Tan

It went smoothly. I think it’s okay to contribute an artwork as part of the organizing team. What was critical was having to handle the workload and to make sure that the contribution was also meaningful.

7. What are you up to at present? / What’s next for you?
Currently I am mostly focused on my job and seeing where opportunities and my interests lead me to. I will just continue to work hard, maintain a sane level of creative urgency and stay grounded.
You can check out my art here. I deal with visual culture, aesthetics & the web. (My current research deals with the sublimity of cuteness.)

I also work for a bag design/manufacturing company called Uyii check it outz. Just for all you Curating Lab fans reading, you get 15% off all bags if you key in the code: curatinglab2014. Discount lasts for one month.

8. Favorite Book.
Photo credit: Experimental Jetset & Metahaven

I should have received my copy of All Possible Futures by Experimental Jetset now and will probably be reading it. Its writings are based off an exhibition on speculative design. Oh also I will kill to get a copy of Uncorporate Identity by Metahaven (Daniel van der Velden and Vinca Kruk).

Artwork of the moment.
Photo credit: Mike Goldby

 At the moment all the canvas stretch works by Mike Goldby.

Favourite local art space.
Photo credit:

NUS Museum.

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