Why it pays to observe everyday objects
The invitation is a curious one. Singaporean writer and performer Ang Kia Yee is asking audiences to pay attention to the lives of everyday objects and to see them in fresh ways.
Her offer comes in the form of an experimental theatre performance, Loving Things, which is presented as a series of videos. In them, she interacts with mundane objects such as fruit, household items and plastic bags, sometimes knocking them over playfully, sometimes picking them apart. In one poignant scene, she kneels in the rain, brewing tea with an electric kettle and rainwater.
The vignettes stand alone as random occurrences. The decision for the performance to have no plot is deliberate.
Ang says: “We want viewers to experience the show as a series of passing moments without a dramatic arc. We want them to reflect on the feelings these objects elicit, and to consider how these objects fit in their lives.”
Besides spotlighting the worth of inconspicuous objects, the performance also uses the items to provoke reflections on pressing issues such as climate change and plastic pollution. The performance also explores the grip that inanimate objects has over mankind; in a monologue, Ang compares the time that styrofoam takes to decompose to the time required for a human body to go through the same process.
Ang says: “Loving Things is ultimately loving, welcoming, and hopeful. It sees the darkness of things right now but believes in our ability to empathise and extend care towards inanimate things.
“If we set aside our sense of superiority as human beings, we will see how precious and powerful (inanimate) objects are too.”
The Loving Things series of videos is available for download from the project’s website until August 2021.
Catch the performance of Loving Things here.