Villa Alicia (2011)



6th – 11th August 2011

43 Binjai Park, Singapore

VILLA ALICIA is a site specific work that pays tribute to the act of remembering and to the home of Dr Nalla Tan (88), a prominent physician, who suffers from advanced Alzheimer’s Disease, a few days before the entire 1950s style house is demolished.

The Tan family has made the painful decision to sell the house and relocate this year. This August, the family will shift out and leave behind 40 years of memories, which are embodied in this space.

Out of this family’s relocation was born the opportunity and desire to explore the themes of memory, space and embodiment.

In Villa Alicia, old family photographs from the Tan family’s treasured photo albums are restaged for the camera. Intimate moments recreated by strangers. The different families, in turn, come together to create new memories of past moments. In many ways, these photographs are mirrors. They captured someone else’s experiences, but echo moments familiar to the viewer’s own.

Through the re-staging old family photographs,  Dr Nalla Tan’s personal biography and condition is used as the vehicle for provoking thoughts and emotions about the larger issue at hand: Dr Nalla Tan forgets because of Alzheimer’s Disease, but does Singapore society risk forgetting too in a similar phenomena of forced forgetting through the development of the landscape and destruction of memory-infused materiality?

Installations and soundscapes in different spaces in the house seek to evoke in the participants the range of emotions experienced by an Alzheimer’s sufferer as well as the abstract phenomena of how memory functions.

I see the value in capturing the fragility of memories, people and spaces, through a rare opportunity in having access to the home of a prominent person; the contrast of generations, the new and the old, and the loss faced as memory fails you.

The work is named after the title of Dr. Tan's last novella.

Click to view more images below.

Villa Alicia Poster