Roosting Post 2: Railtrack Songmaps by the Migrant Ecologies Project

Lucy Davis (Creative director), Ya Ting Kee (Photographer), Zai Tang (Composer), Zachary Chan (Designer)

    Research output: Artistic and non-textual formExhibitionSolo art productionpeer-review


    This is a major exhibition for the Migrant Ecologies Project (directed by Davis) and comprises both a retrospective and the latest iteration of a multi-media, sound, visual and textual engagement with a contested zone along the former Malaysian Railtracks at Tanglin Halt*. This is a neighbourhood of Singapore facing considerable social and environmental change.

    The work is conceptualised by Lucy Davis under The Migrant Ecologies Project (founded by Davis in 2010). Key collaborators are: composer Zai Tang, designer Zachary Chan and cinematographer/photographer Kee Ya Ting.

    Tanglin Halt was one of the first public housing development estates in Singapore and evolved over 50 years into a close-knit residential area adjacent to the former Malaysia railtracks in southwest Singapore. Many residents have lived in Tanglin Halt for most of their lives. However, they are currently in the process of moving out of their flats due to projected redevelopment of the area.

    The railtracks themselves date from the British colonial period, and for many decades comprised an important economic and emotional connection between Singapore and Malaysia. An approximately five-metre ribbon of land on either side of the tracks, as well as the railway itself, was owned by the Malaysian state until 2011. This five-metre strip of indeterminate governance, running through the heart of Singapore, played host to a fecundity of human and non-human activities, ranging from the informal to the feral.

    A Migrant Ecologies Project pathway through this troubled nexus of urban nature explores existing relations between humans and birds along the tracks. Evolving over years of listening to birds and developing conversations with humans, our project reveals a rich seam of interspecies communications, projections, memories and song.

    This iteration contains the following new content;

    i) An artist's book compilation of all the research materials from the whole project and Alfian Sa'ats translated compilation of Malay world species specific bird pantuns. Design by Zachary Chan (Crop design) and Lucy Davis. Photographs by Kee Ya Ting

    ii) Two new immersive sound compositions by Migrant Ecologies collaborator Zai Tang

    iii) A one room, sculpture light and shadow installation crafted by Lucy Davis in collaboration with PAN architects Singapore

    iv) A one room immersive installation of animated light and shadow assemblages, crafted by Lucy Davis in collaboration with Kee Ya Ting

    vi) A series of archival bird box installations with 5 books dedicated to key interviewees, co-crafted by Ryan Yeo, Zachary Chan (Crop design), and Lucy Davis

    viii) A multi media web art piece with 32 short films which was soft- launched during the show and which will be released internationally in 2020

    *This research has been ongoing since 2013 and is the third and largest iteration of the work. We received a 100,000 SGD Tier 1 Ministry of Education grant from the Singapore government for the original research. This 2020 exhibition was funded by an international artists commission of 25,000SGD/ 16.500 Euro grant, awarded by The Esplanade, Singapore.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    PublisherJendela Visual Arts Space
    Size45 meter sq exhibition space
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2020
    MoE publication typeF1 Published independent work of art or performance
    EventMajor Exhibition: Railtrack Songmaps Roosting Post 2 - Jendela Gallery, Singapore, Singapore
    Duration: 16 Jan 20205 Apr 2020


    • Art and Ecology
    • local knowledge
    • situated knowledges
    • Shadow puppets
    • light installation
    • art films
    • Southeast Asia
    • Urban nature
    • naturecultures
    • Salvage
    • Resilience strategies
    • soundscape
    • Everyday Animisms
    • More than human
    • Rewildings

    Field of art

    • Contemporary art


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