What artists are reading in the time of COVID19
Books are a great way to experience new worlds, ideas and realities, especially during this stay-home period. If you are looking for suggestions on books to pick up and kickstart your reading habit, take a leaf from the book of these three artists – Woong Soak Teng, Sebastian Mary Tay and Loh Xiang Yun. They were participants of the artist-led book sharing programme What Artists Read series by homegrown contemporary photography gallery DECK.
Woong Soak Teng, 26, artist
Being Ecological by Timothy Morton
I borrowed a copy from the library before the “Circuit Breaker” as the title is interesting. I like that Morton writes intimately and uses layman analogies to relate complex ideas. This is unlike many eco-related books that drown you in facts and academic language. Reading it is like having a long conversation with a friend who keeps challenging your perspective. Sometimes you get along, other times it’s argumentative. I recommend this to anyone who is curious about living a more conscious life.
Sebastian Mary Tay, 30, artist and lecturer
The Weird and The Eerie by Mark Fisher
Fisher discusses weird and eerie ideas associated with works of fiction in the 20th century, which is fitting for our times, given how the current pandemic seems to be both weird and eerie. I very much enjoyed the wide variety of fictional works covered by Fisher in his analysis. The book also provides a model of analysis for our current reality, which seems to be unfolding like fiction. This book is an absolute treat for anyone who enjoys contemplating the many contextual layers in 20th-century films and literature.
Loh Xiang Yun, 32, Scientific Botanical Illustrator & artist
If Memory Serves by Sacha Guitry
I lead a busy life, so I chose a book that is easy to start during the Circuit Breaker, in the hopes of continuing this reading habit when life starts to normalise. This book was recommended to me by Kittiphol Saragganonda, a writer and owner of an independent bookstore in Thailand. The book consists of stories that are easy to grasp, and I enjoyed its discussions on a wide range of topics about our everyday life. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to start reading again, but who only has small pockets of time.
Responses have been edited for clarity.
For more digital arts and culture offerings you can enjoy from home, explore #SGCultureAnywhere.