Interview: Boedi Widjaja of Drawing Cage

Tell us more about the installation.
There are two projection-mapping installations at the exhibition. Both works are poetic expressions of time-space in the city. The first installation, titled Path. 5, Silent Conversation with a Friend, involves projecting text and video onto 13 sheets of drawings on paper that’s mounted on a wall, referencing the number of times I have moved as a foreigner in Singapore. The work speaks of time-spaces in friendship and the transformative potential. The second installation, titled Metron, is essentially a metronomic clock that doesn’t tell time but rather suggests its passing. 

How do the projectors contribute to your work?
The exhibition is held at a former military barracks that offer interesting and at times, challenging spaces. For example, Path. 5 is installed in a room that’s only 1.5m wide. I needed a reasonable sized projection area. This is where the Canon XEED WUX 400ST full HD short-throw projector comes in handy—I was able to achieve a 1.7m wide projection area using a throw of 1.4m. Similarly with Metron, the high-resolution, short-throw projector allows for a compelling presentation of the work.

What is it about John Cage that inspires you?
The man was all about taking chances and making mistakes, so that is pretty inspiring to me.

How did your childhood experience in Surakarta influence your work?
I wish I knew. This is an ongoing question that I continue to ask myself, through the process of making art, one work at a time. Having said that, Drawing Cage seems to be concerned with certain peculiarities of the city, in particular the linearity of its physical environment and the non-linearity of its time. My childhood in Surakarta, being a rustic and much less urban place than Singapore, more or less contributed to this concern found in my work.

What strikes you most about people in general from all your years of observation? 
I find everybody I have met in my life to be creative in their own way. For instance, I invited my friends to draw a one centimeter line in 4’33” for the making of Path. 5. It was an eye-opener to see the many ways in which such a line can be drawn.

Is Singapore a good location to do art? What could be improved?
Singapore is currently a very open and global city in Asia to base my art practice, given that my concerns revolve around Asian cultures, the city, home and identity. Having more centrally located art studios with low rent would be great.

Drawing Cage runs through January 24 at The U Factory. #01-06, Blk 38 Gillman Barracks. Free.