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Come cannibalise us, why don’t you?

publication / 2013-14

Book Details:
180 pp, full colour, A5 publication.
ISBN: 978-981-07-9128-5
Designed by Natalie Braune, Hyunho Choi, Ying Tong Tan.
Published by NUS MUSEUM, NUS Centre For the Arts University Cultural Centre, 50 Kent Ridge Crescent, National University of Singapore

“Emerging from an ongoing discussion between NUS Museum curators and artist Erika Tan since 2009 about the multitudinous potentials of the museumized object, the colloquially titled ‘Come Cannibalise Us, Why Don’t You?’ is an artist’s response that revisits through re-use, re-enactment and repatriation, the artefacts and writings from, and referenced in, the exhibition Camping and Tramping Through The Colonial Archive: The Museum in Malaya (2011-2013). In addition, newer artworks developed by the artist include film, objects and works on paper will be shown alongside. The guiding principle being a form of aesthetic cannibalism.” - Erika Tan & Shabbir Hussain Mustafa 2014, Exhibition statement.

Produced as an extension to the exhibition ‘Come Cannibalise Us, Why Don’t You? Sila Mengkanibalkan Kami MahuTak?’ (NUS Museum, Singapore, August 2013 – May 2014) the book extends the ideas within the exhibition around the possibilities and problematics of aesthetic cannibalism in relation to the historic and displaced object. Digital repatriation as artistic gesture, active readership of historic/received narratives and museological issues around interpretation, performing artefacts, and exhibitionary tropes are encountered through the specificity of the Malayan museum and its post-colonial afterlife. Through the incorporation of multiple voices, locations and positions, the book also speaks across and through these specifics to notions of the copy, the remake, revisiting, re-use and to approaches which seek to re-question the museological and anthropological notions of ‘source community’ and ‘local informant’ through the voice of the artist and audience.

A series of commissioned essays, archival collections, exhibition documentation and ‘intertextual dialogues’ form the basis of the book alongside the artist’s work. Contributors include individuals from a range of disciplines and institutions including curators, artists, art historians, archivists, and librarians working across Singapore, Malaysia, America, Europe and the UK.

Contributors: Masturah Alatas, Christina Chua, Dr Kevin Chua, Martin Constable, Lucy Davis, Grieve
Perspective, Amanda Heng, David A. Henkel, Mulaika Hijjas, Ho Tzu Nyen, Nazrita Ibrahim, Zai Kuning, Charles Lim Yi Yong, Janice Loo, Ahmad Bin Mashadi, Clement Onn, Shubig Rao, Shabbir Hussain Mustafa, Adele Tan, Fiona Tan, Kenneth Tay, Wenny Teo, W.Patrick Wade, Wen Lee, Lee Min Wong, Ming Wong, Farouk Yahya, Robert Zhao Renhui.

The book is published by NUS Museum and supported by Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. The work within the exhibition & book is part of Tan’s long-term project, Repatriating The Object With No Shadow, and is supported by the National Arts Council, Singapore, Arts Creation Fund.

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