Grey Projects


If Not, Accelerate by Kent Chan [2016]

[12.05.16 — 11.06.16]

“Now let me explain to you what riding on a lorry is like. It is an incredibly tactile and bodily experience. You feel the city. You are the pulse of the city coursing through its veins at its prescribed kinetic limit and damn it's rough.

Kent Chan, from his upcoming short story

If Not, Accelerate is a solo presentation by Kent Chan that examines the issues of migrant labour in Singapore through the matrix of the polis, the Greek word for city.

As the etymological root of the words ‘police’, ‘policy’ and ‘polity’, the polis is the default site of politics and its many entanglements. It provides the conceptual linkages needed to excavate the historic and contemporary links between Singapore and its large migrant labour population. In a city-state founded as a trading port but also serving the dual role of a penal colony, convicts were brought to build the very foundation of the city. Beyond their role in the ceaseless construction of the city, their status as indentured workers simultaneously defines the obverse to the constituted power of the land.

Through an assemblage of videos, writings and objects that problematise the representation of migrant labour, If Not, Accelerate presents an attempt to unravel a city, its socio-economic politics, anxiety and trajectory.

Kent Chan (b. 1984) is an artist, filmmaker and curator based in Singapore and Amsterdam. His practice revolves around our encounters with art, fiction and cinema that explore the links between aesthetic experience and knowledge production, with particular interest in the relationship between moving images and the modern city. The works and practices of others often form the locus of his works, which examines the ambiguity that lies at the interstices of art (making) and daily life. His works have taken the form of film, text, conversations and exhibitions.