Pale sun

March 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

My sister, she photographs too. She roams and laughs with her young Italian lover and their friends by an Australian shore. Clicks on no more than a whim. Purity and pale sun in March.

© Ling Ang

© Ling Ang

© Ling Ang

© Ling Ang

© Ling Ang

 

 

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Playground love

February 12, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’m a high school lover, and you’re my favourite flavour
Love is all, all my soul
You’re my playground love

Yet my hands are shaking
I feel my body reeling, time’s no matter, I’m on fire
On the playground, love.

You’re the piece of gold that flashes on my soul.
Extra time, on the ground.
You’re my playground love.

Anytime, anywhere,
You’re my playground love.

~ Air

Be generous with your love | Australia | Summer | 2011

Exile

February 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

I obsessively scour lonely neighbourhoods, organise and reorganise the moving theatre of our physical constructs – at times with a tune in my head, other times with the incessant repetition of numbers (f4, f8, 1/60 sec, 1/500 sec, 200 iso, 8m – ∞), and occasionally nothing but the low hum of dead white noise.

I think that the photographer who roams is consistently on a search for a state of unreality. A conscious search for a state of unconscious displacement. A state where everything that you’ve been taught is real, is suddenly unreal and in a way, irrelevant… the home that you once knew, your family, your childhood friends. And then, when you return from these journeys, to holiday in reality, the very true sense of displacement, which you probably always carried with you anyway, begins to make sense. The home in the suburbs, your neighbours with their yappy dog, the smiling old couple whose names you don’t know who you see when you take out the trash… all of what seemed strange to you in a deep, subconscious sense growing up, becomes strange consciously and so begins to makes sense. Perhaps that’s all we do in a modern age where survival is no longer a simple agricultural struggle. It is to make sense of the way we feel – to turn the external manifestations of our lives into a reflection of how we feel about it on the inside.

The roaming photographer – a part of nothing and yet a part of everything – the one who had no problems with pretending that they were a part of you, of us, and yet held themselves aloof at a very intrinsic level. The one who had no problems getting close and even fewer problems saying goodbye. An exile from the start.

Northern Italy | Winter | 2011

Progress

January 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

How we live, incandescent with foolishness. Bright with our ideas of what we think we want, what we think is great. Our world bound tight with an ethos of acquisition. Every where I look, the paths are laid out. That walkway through the international airport duty free section that you have to pass through in order to get to your gate. The smooth faces of youthful allure, inviting seduction, thickened lashes made for batting, cushiony lips made for kissing… they stare back at me through the shiny surfaces of glowing lightboxes. Perfumes in rows, every colour, every scent, every promise for every love you have ever harboured without gain. So beautiful, all of them.

Our cities, so grand. Monolithic structures side by side in strict proclamations of power, efficiency. “Bring your dollars here” they announce. “Bring your credit and you will be a part of us, this greatness, this pinnacle of civilisation, that will afford you the lifestyle you think those perfumed faces are accustomed to. And you too, with your hidden foibles, your secret humanity, may be able to pass as one of them.”

Bored of stories with a moral, content to see them replayed out in the classical tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, I don’t want to launch into some do-gooder tirade. Only to be labelled hypocrite at the end, if not by others, then surely myself. I want to talk about how in love we are with ourselves and this chase to become an Other. Whiter, thinner, darker, breastier, richer, happier, hot in pursuit. The Other, defined by a self-perpetuating cycle of what we think we want from what we’re told we want. Our self-obsession, energy expended in homage to our own reflections. In love with the bright self we think we are.

Incandescent.

Roots

December 14, 2010 § 5 Comments

My father. All he did was work. Work and spend time with us. I didn’t have him around for half of my childhood, lost to the office in another country, the office that was a home, where he worked, slept, ate. Those long weeks where I cried myself to sleep every time I got scared that he wasn’t coming back. He built for me here. Everything I have.

A shophouse near Clarke Quay | Singapore

Homelanding

December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Where should I begin? After all, you have never been there; or if you have, you may not have understood the significance of what you saw, or thought you saw. A window is a window, but there is looking out and looking in. The native you glimpsed, disappearing behind the curtain, or into the bushes, or down the manhole in the main street – my people are shy – may have been only your reflection in the glass. My country specialises in such illusions.

In summer we lie about in the blazing sun, almost naked, covering our skins with fat and attempting to turn red. But when the sun is low in the sky and faint, even at noon, the water we are so fond of changes to something hard and white and cold and covers up the ground. Then we cocoon ourselves, become lethargic, and spend much of our time hiding in crevices. Our mouths shrink and we say little.

By now you must have guessed: I come from another planet. But I will never say to you, take me to your leaders. Even I – unused to your ways though I am – would never make that mistake. We ourselves have such beings amongst us, made of cogs, pieces of paper, small disks of shiny metal, scraps of coloured cloth. I do not need to encounter more of them.

Instead I will say, take me to your trees. Take me to your breakfasts, your sunsets, your bad dreams, your shoes, your nouns. Take me to your fingers; take me to your deaths.

These are worth it. There are what I have come for.

~ Excerpts taken from Homelanding, in the book “Good Bones” by Margaret Atwood

Body from the reservoir

December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

He told me that he had to pull a body from the reservoir the other day. Bloated, afloat, stagnant water and the tropical green, almost visceral. A concerted effort to remain stoic. It’s all part of the service apparently. Ruff, Shaf and Nat – halfway through their mandatory term in the army.

National Service, Singapore.

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