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Plague and Locusts 2020. October. Veronyka Lau

Eat, Veronyka Lau 2020 In conversation with Veronyka Lau, learning about her art practice and about herself.

"I came into art rather late in life. I was in animal activism and was a martial art instructor before art and it was through the connections made in civil society and the art community in Singapore that I became interested in the contemporary art scene and inhabiting this curious space of art/not art. My first projects were with a group in Singapore called Post-Museum that makes art with a strong collectivistic approach. Because of the pandemic, it was inevitable that many artists, including myself, started exploring digital presentations in a serious way. I am part of a performance art collective - Wuwei Performance Series - that holds live performance events throughout the year. Our last three events were presented online with artists attempting to continue their practice in their homes in front of a camera. I've personally found that it opens up new intersections between artistic action and video art and with it discourse about whether these adaptations invigorate or reduce the art forms. 

Besides performance, I presented two physical works during circuit breaker, Singapore's version of a lockdown, one in support of a charity raising funds for the migrant worker community and the other an initiative to bring art to the streets. Under these circumstances, there was little alternative than to use found materials around the home when art supplies became unavailable, nor was it possible to actively find other objects. It makes me contemplate more about the fluid elasticity of life distilled consciously or unconsciously into a reductive domestic. Before the pandemic, I have been exploring environmental and sustainability themes and the pandemic has brought urgency to abstract ideas. Community, mutual aid and mutual support in art making, organisation and beyond are also becoming central themes as we face a more uncertain future. 

The introvert in me has definitely enjoyed the circuit breaker more than I really should! I acknowledge this with equal amounts of relief and guilt. I feel a sense of urgency to keep working, learning, researching, connecting and organising. This event is too big and too far-reaching to not respond with massive human effort. I've always had a pathological ability of shutting out the world to focus on what I want to do. It has boded me well in these months. I'm alive when I work!

My ability to continue art making and explorations in these months has been possible because of the community around me that has made a difference in these uncertain times. Our relationships and art practice were never predicated on the material (money), with many of us already breaking with the conventional, exploring art in unexpected spaces, togetherness as art and embracing a more sustainable lifestyle. It's made it possible to stay free even when the situation threatens to constrict.  [Art] can provide us with a new global outlook on connectedness and resistance post-Lockdown if we allow it in. Change is its own violence. It also opens up a fleeting window for us to fully inhabit, respond and apply our every fibre to question, connect and carve out new possibilities as the world becomes irreversibly changed. I feel a sense of urgency about this. 

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