THE RIVER RUNS THROUGH: Investigating the role and influence of the Singapore River in the works of Cheo Chai-Hiang and Debbie Ding to evoke memories and shape identity
The thesis explores the use of Singapore’s historical icon, the Singapore River, to evoke memories and shape identity in the artworks of Singaporean artists Cheo Chai-Hiang and Debbie Ding.
The author examines how the artists have applied Henri Lefebvre’s theories on space and Merlin Coverley’s research on psychogeography in their creative designs to engage audiences and tap on their memories to create new or imagined ones to shape identity for the future.
This paper also explores the practice of psychogeoforensics, a neologism to define a practice of investigation in order to document and map fragments of Singapore’s lost past in the hopes that the preservation of these artefacts would be a source of historical objectivity, culture and knowledge. In pursuing their intended objectives, the artists have created a tabula rasa for their viewers to confront and think about issues such as personal and national identity, as well as social concerns affecting memories and identity.