“This is a writing of light,” so Requiem for the Factory, this wonderfully idiosyncratic and provocative book, identifies itself. And it is a very apt self-description for this work of photography (Kenny Png), text (Jeremy Fernando) and layout (Yanyun Chen), with an afterword by Lim Lee Ching. Thematically, it is a tale that explores “the relationality of the self to her self through the figure of a factory,” in the words of Delere Press. Formally, it is a dialogue between two forms of writing, language and light.
What better way of reviewing it — that is, re-viewing, and so re-writing it — than to take photographs of the artefact and its viewer? Taken with a thermal lens, the photographs allude to the motif of red that recurs through the book, in the image of a red poster and in the textual reference to a red ribbon. Red is the color of anger and blood, but it is also the color of body heat. It is thus a reminder of our warm bodies that wish, but fail, to transcend the manufacture of our time and space.
Photographs by Jee Leong Koh
Requiem for the Factory is published by Delere Press.
Jeremy Fernando is the Jean Baudrillard Fellow at the European Graduate School, where he is also a Reader in Contemporary Literature and Thought; and a Fellow of Tembusu College at the National University of Singapore. He works in the intersections of literature, philosophy, and the media; and has written 5 books — most recently, Writing Death. Exploring his thinking through other media has led him to film, music, and art; and his work has been shown in Seoul, Vienna, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He is the editor of the thematic magazine One Imperative.
Kenny Png is a multi-disciplinary creative who built his foundation on producing, directing, and writing hours of factual content for broadcasters including National Geographic, Discovery, and History Channel, among many others. In his search for the perfect story, he has left his boot print in over 80 cities across nearly 30 countries. More recently, he has turned his attention to the past with the founding of singaporestoreroom.com, an online museum dedicated to preserving the memory of the mundane on the island of Singapore.
Yanyun Chen is a nomadic gun-for-hire. Her interest lies in animation, illustration, design, typography, games, and miniature set building. She is studying philosophy and media at the European Graduate School, and is an atelier student at the Florence Academy of Art, with a BFA (first class) in animation from Nanyang Technological University. She has attended The Animation Workshop in Denmark and Puppetry in Prague programmes. She works under the artist name Piplatchka, and Stick and Balloon, and her clients include IDEO, National University of Singapore, Audi, Vickers Ventures, and Studio Soi.
Lim Lee Ching teaches at the SIM University, Singapore. His research interests include: literary Englishes, Modernism and violence, literary aesthetics, the Canon, non-ideological cultural theories, and language and the oral tradition. He is the editor of Peter van de Kamp’s poetry collection Scratch and Sniff (2010).