This Used to be a Kopitiam (Urban Renewal)

This Used to be a Kopitiam (Urban Renewal)
Script bound in Kangxi Stab Binding contained in Traditional Coffee Pot
Exhibited at Art Stage 2014 (Art Apart Fair, 3rd edition) Parkroyal @ Pickering

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The work builds upon the destruction of the humble coffee brewing pot, a visual symbol synonymous with the traditional kopitiam in Singapore. The cutting and unfurling of the vessel is severe and irreversible; but it also allows a new function– that of a receptacle for the book to emerge.  


The proposed book is a hand-typed copy of Kuo Pao Kun’s play, Kopitiam which talks about the drastic urban renewal schemes of the 1980s and the lament of the vanishing landscapes and trades, such as the traditional kopitiam.  Yet it is not a call to resist change but a reminder not to forget the past.  


The book in the altered brewing coffee pot recalls the history of the hotel’s location on Upper Pickering Street. The development of the hotel is the result of various changes in the plot over the years, such as the destruction of the old Central Police Station, the demolition of the former Ministry of National Development and the removal of the old shophouses and SIT flats. Without cutting and peeling away the old, the new will not appear. Likewise, without removing the old, how can the current hotel be standing in its stead?


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