"Photography serves to function like our memory and it may be more reliable than the human mind as a moment captured in time remains the same forever. Memory, on the other hand, is intriguing, elusive and seemingly selective.
The Collective Memory: Haw Par Villa is a project by local photographer Deanna Ng who is interested in examining how the human mind stores and processes information that is captured over time - how we mentally remember places and events in our lives in comparison to the use of photography as a form of memory of which its accuracy is somewhat proven by how it has been etched out permanently on film. The artist invited people to share photographs of themselves that were taken at Haw Par Villa between 1965-1985 and restaged the photographs with their subjects at the same spot in present day.
During the collection and restaging process, Ng discovered puzzle pieces that were missing from her memory of the unique theme park as she received photographs of various areas in the park that were never recorded in her mind as a visitor in her childhood days.
The project that consists of more than 50 photographs forms a collective memory of the Haw Par Villa where everyone chipped in to share parts of their fond memories of the place and the unique experiences that were never part of someone else's memory even though they visited the same place. This brings the artist to question the completeness and reliability of archival photography. If what had been captured in photographs form part of our history records, what about the parts that had not been captured? Do they cease to exist because no one recorded them mentally or in print?"
- Curator Jezlyn Tan
Commissioned by the Arts House for LumiNation: 2019