Recently my artwork ‘Pass it On’ has sent me on a journey all over Singapore, where I gradually gathered 8900 saga seeds meeting all sorts of characters and hearing many stories along the way. Below is the entry in my seed-journal about my second seed collecting mission, written earlier this year.
DAY 2 (SEEDS 3-703): A KINDLY PASSER-BY, A BUSKER AND A HOMELESS UNCLE
My first seed collecting mission earlier in the year had not seen much success, but I persisted. Setting out into a dryer, sunnier day, I went to a newly recommended location in central Singapore.
I felt a wave of relief as I spotted a bright red dot nestled in the grass. So here was one seed, where were the rest? Crawling around in the green fronds, I attracted the attention of a passing man who knew of course what I was searching for. With palm outstretched, he offered me three seeds he had found on the pathway. Thanking him for his kindness I did not mention that he would also become a part of my artwork.
Next, I was approached by an elderly uncle, in scruffy clothing. Awaking from his nap on the bench, this kind homeless man had come over to talk with me, and tell me his favourite places for finding the seeds. His advice was spot-on, and his story was wonderful and heartfelt. He told me about the areas he likes to stay in, the ones where he gets peace, and the ones that have been ruined by the noise and disruption of new building developments. On his advice, I collected 400 seeds over the next hours.
Emerging from the grass, slightly more muddy but with a full bag of seeds, I got into a conversation with an elderly busker. He wanted to tell his story, and talk to me about how he grew up in Singapore. He had advice on the seeds and their uses, and an invitation to come and support him busking at Boat Quay. In fact, he had three small packages with him – saga seeds he had collected earlier from various secret locations, contained in empty tobacco packets. He was willing to sell me these for a dollar each. At first I was not sure if buying them may be untrue to my mission of seeking the seeds myself. But then I realised, the wider mission is to let the seeds guide me, to learn new things, engage in conversations with all sorts of new people and learn their stories.
So by the end of the day I was in possession of a total of 700 saga seeds.
See all the stories or search for a specific seed number here:
ABOUT THE ARTWORK:
Pass It On began with the idea of creating little points of knowledge and connection, which form a narrative from one place to the next, and beyond. Referencing the evolution, shift and migration of many things, the installation seeks to create a space in which to consider the positive and negative effects of the process of change, the fluid nature of culture, knowledge, memory and history. The resulting sculpture involves 8900 hand-numbered saga seeds – tiny red particles which the audience are invited to take and pass on.
Visitors to at Displacements exhibition are invited to pick up a seed from the artwork, and treasure it and it’s story: DISPLACEMENTS, until 23rd June, www.13Wilkieterrace.com
Tell me your own saga seed story in the comment boxes below.