by Jeremy Fernando
Yanyun Chen - Archived Presence, 2013
It is in front of you.
Tall, broad, strong — wider than any other. The pavilion beyond all pavilions.
Only you cannot see it.
Not because it isn’t there. But because, at any one point, someone is blind to it. Today it is you. Perhaps it even chose you.
So, let me see it for you.
You walk in.
Quite immediately, turn right. Not because you choose to—it is just how the path blows you along.
There is a certain lightness; one not usually associated with a place better known for being harsh, calculating, methodical—draconian even. Ironic considering it is a place of transit, movement, flows. But, then again, it is not a flow for the sake of drifting; not an appreciation of flowing. In fact — and facts are everything here — the very notion of drifting, the drift, would very much be frowned upon. For, that is too reliant on chance, currents, on being carried by, towards, from—a movement without a designed, designated, path. Without which, one can never know, decide, whether it was a good, successful, move, or not.
You hear laughter; it rings loud—like the belly laugh of Ubu Roi. A laughter that is nothing more than just laughing: full of sound and fury … Rather difficult though to tell where it is coming from. Sound seems to bounce around the corridors; everywhere and nowhere at exactly the same time.
Completely appropriate though: faced with such absurdity one can only either laugh or cry.
A sign. Far left.
Promising. Vowing even. Keeping in mind there is no time frame to vows: that you can never know if the promise is kept—perhaps it will be, just not yet. Thus, you can never accuse another of breaking their promise to you.
Especially if the other is an object.
But, perhaps it is only an object that can keep a promise to you. After all, only objects can be whatever you want them to be. However, this is premised on — and which promise isn’t premised on something — you being the one who writes that promise, that object itself, into being.
Opposite, a mirror.
You keep one eye on the mirror, as you watch yourself go by.
With an exhalation you betray yourself.
After all, no one can disappoint you like yourself.
But, at least this would be, is only done, on your own terms, within your own boundaries, premises.
Hauntings. Not so much by spectres from elsewhere, but from, of, your self. By you who never quite let the object remain an object, by you who thought you could actually speak to, know, an object.
And perhaps, in revenge, your haunt that never lets you forget not just that that it was once home, but that it was never — and that there can never be, that there is no such thing as a — home.
That your haunt is always also haunted.
Which might just be why it is always there, but can never quite be seen, never quite be known.
So, perhaps you have no choice but to take on faith what I tell you. Even if you might be experiencing these feelings as you go through the space, this place—the pavilion that I am now calling, naming, the Singapore Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
A pavilion that was never there, will never be there—and thus, perhaps has always already been there.
Not that I have ever seen it.
I am as blind to it as you are. But, it is not as if it picked me. Today is your day: your blindness is yours alone, only for you.
What I am now telling you is something I have once been told. Through writing, in writing, as I am now writing to you —