Asian Cultural Council – Phantoms and Aliens | The Invisible Other
Taking the lead from pervasive beliefs and superstitions in Southeast Asia about otherworldly beings, Phantoms and Aliens | The Invisible Other broadens the perception of phantom as invisible spirit to explore another, subtler dimension of invisibility, that is, social invisibility originated in discrimination and alienation. Featuring works that span documentary photography and oral history, to painting, mixed-media and video installations, the overarching focus of the exhibition is to consider the invisible other in society: the people, or communities, that live on the margins because of ethnic, gender, religious or cultural differences. These individuals are but phantoms, alienated from the wider society – they are invisible, yet, they exist. By migrating from the inside out in the attempt to map alienation from multiple angles, Phantoms and Aliens | The Invisible Other is devised as a trilogy unfolding across Richard Koh’s three galleries located in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Taking the form of a chapter at each location, the three chapters combined are intended as interconnected chambers to share knowledge in relation to specific concerns of life at the periphery. The Kuala Lumpur chapter deals with the notion of belonging to a land, which is imagined, or desired. A Land of Ghosts by ACC alumnus Aung Myat Htay looks at the social and cultural representation of the self in multiethnic Myanmar through the lens of spirituality and folklore. Black Landscapes by Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mai, on the other end, continues the artist’s investigation on the lives and beliefs of displaced Vietnamese refugees to Cambodia, specifically those settled in the Tonle Sap area. Conversely, Lim Sokchanlina’s Black Book Project compiles the wishes of Cambodian migrant workers in Malaysia. Accompanied by pictures of their dreams, Black Book Project functions as repository of the migrants’ wishes and desires.