10 Questions With Khairuddin Hori, The Curator Behind The Travelling ‘Atypical Singapore’ Exhibition

Best known for his multidisciplinary and unconventional approaches to curating art, Khairuddin Hori, Director and partner at Chan+Hori Contemporary, is bringing his expertise to Atypical Singapore. An art and augmented reality (AR) technology showcase in Yangon, it is part of the Singapore Festival held by the Singapore Tourism Board from 30 November to 2 December 2018. 

Happening along the iconic Bogalay Zay Street, the works of seven handpicked Singaporean artists will offer visitors a glimpse of Singapore’s arts eco-system through sculptures, animations, performance art and moving images. We chat with Khairuddin to find out more about this cross-cultural exchange.

Hi, Khairuddin! Can you describe Singapore’s creative scene in three words?

Evolving, diverse, and multi-faceted.

You mentioned evolving. What are some of the ways that local art has been exploring daring concepts in their creations?

Singapore artists have been known to constantly look for alternative methods of creation such as performance-based work, using the latest technologies and engaging with international art communities. Our artists are among the first in the region to utilise built-in AR platform on Facebook.

The use of AR sounds exciting. How does it enhance a piece of art work?

To give an example, the use of AR technology can bring the works of artists’ to life in a medium that allows for an interactive experience and new perspectives of art.

Atypical Singapore at Moscow’s Design Factory Flacon in September

Does that mean that any form of technology can be incorporated into art?

For the artists, the work comes first. As such, any other technology platforms that they incorporate must first and foremost be relevant to the art making.

Tell us more about the exhibition at Atypical Singapore. We heard that they will include the AR elements you mentioned?  

We designed AR ‘calling cards’ which contain artists’ information and scan-enabled QR codes that link to the latest integrated interactive technologies on Facebook. Visitors can bring a part of the exhibition home and share it with friends and families.

Work by Speak Cryptic

How is Yangon’s Atypical Singapore going to be different compared to the previous run in Russia?

Each edition of Atypical Singapore is presented in response to the given site. As the curator, I re-organise the presentation of all artworks in response to these landscapes in ways that would best benefit the visitor’s experience and the representation of artworks by our artists.

In the case of Yangon, our ‘gallery’ is a living, breathing street, where people live and work, whereas in Moscow, it was set in a colony dedicated to art and design.

What was the thought process in curating the works of the seven local artists?

Atypical Singapore is an effort to showcase artists who are outside the mainstream. We wanted to provide access and share the continuous passion and work by emerging artists who are primarily out of the market, possibly perceived as being a little edgy.

What makes the works of these artists so special such that they will be able to offer unique perspectives to visitors?

As an example, three of the artists presented – Gerald Leow, Muhammad Izdi and Daniel Yu – are self-taught and have never gone through systematic education in art colleges. These are artists whom I believe have various values to share and will strive further in their artistic practice regardless of fame or fortune.

Work by Gerald Leow

How has it been like working with Singapore Tourism Board on Atypical Singapore?

As a curator, I have enjoyed working with STB on Atypical Singapore. The team has been extremely open, respectful and supportive of the ideas that the artists and I presented to them.

There are many places in the world where the local art culture is one of the main draws for tourists. Do you think that this will also be the future for Singapore?

Yes. As a regional hub for the arts with strong ties to the international arts community, Singapore has a burgeoning creative scene with many emerging artists and Culture Shapers. Our home-grown creative point of view and voice stem from our diverse local communities, shaping a distinctive Singapore cultural experience. With platforms like Atypical Singapore, we aim to give the world a glimpse of the attractiveness of these unique offerings.

Atypical Singapore is happening at the Singapore Festival along Bogalay Zay Street in Yangon, Myanmar from 30 November to 2 December 2018. Follow the event page for more details.

Ron likes cats, films and books. When not day-dreaming about retiring as a full-time cat lady, she usually finds herself taking long bus rides while (spoiler alert) reading up film synopses on Wikipedia.