While Singapore Art Museum (SAM) undergoes a major building redevelopment, the buildings’ hoardings have turned into a public showcase of commissioned works by local artists. Sub/merged and An Unnatural History are presented on the hoardings around the SAM buildings along Bras Basah Road and Queen Street respectively.

Responding to the site of Singapore Art Museum on Bras Basah Road, Finbarr Fallon draws inspiration from the history of its locale within the Civic and Cultural District to create imaginings around its future.

Sub/merged distracts the viewer from what is happening to the historical building behind the hoarding in the present day by deflecting their imaginations to a speculative subterranean city of the future that lies beneath. The work builds on the rabbit warren of subsurface passages and transit corridors, including Singapore’s 2nd deepest MRT station, at Bras Basah; as well the artist’s earlier world-building in the film Subterranean Singapore 2065 – an architectural film project that offers a speculative proposal for large scale underground living in land scarce Singapore.

In the Civic District, the abundance of national monuments means that plots and building restrictions, such as height for new buildings, are carefully regulated. The detailed sectional illustration on the hoarding envisions a literal deep dive into a delightful world, as an alternative for a site where the sky cannot be the limit. It offers a compelling argument for a thoughtful approach to developing our underground space, as the next frontier for urban verticality.

Sub/merged will offer an augmented digital experience where viewers can engage with the work onsite through AR portals on the hoarding. There will also be an interactive website component.

Finbarr Fallon, Sub/merged, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist.

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