Living a HDB Life by Shin Lim

HDB Life
HDB Life by Shin Lim – all the items here were photographed by the artist

So this is a pretty fun idea by Shin Lim of Original Studio (and also the folk who created alter:sg, an alternative travel guide to Singapore available in The Occasional Traveller Shop) for the Noise Singapore 2013 Festival Showcase: The Apprenticeship Programme (TAP) Exhibition.

In tiny Singapore, a good portion of our population live in Housing Development Board (HDB) flats, large blocks of apartments stacked on top of each other – unless you’re rather rich, you’ll probably stay in one of these at some point in your life. In this interactive photography project, Shin created a HDB block of her own, nondescript and uniform looking, and then went around Singapore photographing the various items that one could find outside in your typical HDB corridor.

HDB Life
HDB Life – A HDB block does kinda look like that from afar, not many are 20 storeys high, though that’s changing in recent years (see: Duxton Hill)

As you can see from the flyer, she found a whole myriad of random items, from chairs, to prayer altars, and even random animals, which she transformed into individual stickers and gave the audience free play to add to her work, by creating their own doorways and scenes.

It’s a really entertaining piece, and while you have fun deciding what to stick and where to stick it, it’s also nice to see what weird things you can find in an average corridor. Some of the items are quite commonplace like potted plants and doormats, but others are more bizarre, like giant stuffed animals or weird old furniture.

HDB Life
HDB Life – a visage created by Shin herself – in case you’re wondering, that’s a dog in front of the doorway, it didn’t turn out so well in clear sticker form!

I had several opportunities to talk to Shin about this work, and some factoids I can share are that this particular doorway repeated in the artwork can be found somewhere in Dakota, on the east side of Singapore. Another interesting note is that while walking around the households in Punggol, she found that practically every household owned the same doormat, albeit in different colours!

It’s a simple piece, but I like how it makes one think a little bit more about our everyday life in Singapore while having some fun with it. Definitely the type of art I can appreciate.

Check out her work at the exhibition which will be on till 1 September at Singapore Art Museum’s annexe 8Q (8 Queen Street) on level 4 – the stickers have all been stuck, so while you can’t contribute to the artwork anymore, but you can still admire the little things about it! You can see a lot of rather creative placements of stickers – I noticed a lot of upside down pots and flying furniture – turns out people don’t like stuff to be stuck on the ground!

HDB Life
HDB Life – The Completed Work! I stuck in about 2-3 pieces myself 🙂

Disclaimer: I am involved with Noise Singapore this year as a part of my day job like I was with the Singapore Arts Festival last year, but I’m sharing about it because some of the stuff I’ve seen is pretty amazing and it would be a pity not to tell you guys about it!

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