One World | Chu Hao Pei

This work was conceived in A. Farm Residency during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The lockdown forced me to shelf my initial project for the residency. As an adaptation to the enforced confinement during the period, I began collecting the fallen leaves from the tree in the courtyard of the residency space with the help of Thu, A. Farm’s security guard. A manifestation of the daily sweeping by Thu, the work documents and reflects on the daily labour involved in the creation process. 

Contemplating and examining on the collected specimens, I dissected selected leaves to document my time in isolation. As the leaves decay and discolour, they mirror my emotions and the global derelict state during this difficult period. Every frame documents different moments in time, visualising the intangible process. The work’s dual approaches offer a space to contemplate on the labour of everyday action and an environment to experience the unseen around us.

The pandemic shifted my initial plan for this residency and I completely changed and did something more contemplative and site-specific as a result. During the lockdown I watched a lot of films and we played a lot of card games. We also made a makeshift BBQ pit, starting fire from the branches that were fallen off the trees in the residency space. The fire really gave me more motivation during this lockdown. It was both challenging and accommodating but also a weird encounter to be sharing time and space during this period together with our respective differences in living cultures. Conversations were exchanged, opinions were confronted but it was the universal language of food and card games that helped break the differences between us.

Chu Hao Pei (b.1990) is a visual artist born and based in Singapore. Formally trained in Interactive Media, Hao Pei began his practice under the School of Art, Design & Media (ADM) in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His artistic practice is informed by the shifting ecological, social and urban landscapes. By interweaving documentation and intervention as a strategy, he explores conflicts and tensions arising from state’s interventions on nature and culture. More critically, Hao Pei’s works examine loss, or potential loss, of nature and cultural heritage as a tactic to draw our attention to wider issues of environmental and cultural loss, as well as the changing physical landscape.