`Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints.` This is the unwritten code followed by urban explorers, who sometimes risk their safety and even their lives to explore abandoned spaces within the city. Singapore’s reputation as an urban metropolis disguises the many hidden abandoned spaces which serve as doors into the unknown and these forgotten places hold decades worth of history and stories from people who have come and gone.
Hidden Spaces aims to bring forth these structures and engage the public in in exploration beyond the urban cityscape, through the unpolished lens of the explorer and the experiences that come with visiting these abandoned sites. Ultimately, redefining the perceived identity of a tourist and create an alternative local history learning experience.
The explorers who participate in the underground act find beauty in the layers of accumulated graffiti across the dilapidated walls, multi-hued peeling paint, antique objects, bleak quotes and initials left in the dust on a broken stained glass window and physical manifestations of memory that abandoned, impermanent urban spaces can hold. These details are often deemed as unsightly by the general public, but for urban explorers, these places serve as sanctuaries of silence where the exploration of the unknown comes to life and breaks the cityscape’s modern culture that embraces the new, polished, uniform, and mundane.
This exhibition aims to illuminate the history of Singapore’s forgotten past through the analysis of abandoned structures which, hidden from the view of the public, hold rich stories of the past and act as puzzle pieces in the evolution of Singapore. The Hidden Spaces project aims to bring photographical and contextual documentation of these spaces to the public and raise awareness of such forgotten sites.