Ryan Lim is a Singaporean artist that attempts to collect encounters and activities in the specific moments of everyday life. By reconfiguring these moments; newly formed narratives, characters, compositions and situations are formed in his installations. These installations eventually meditate on our relationships and attitudes towards the inconspicuous areas of reality.
So much is happening and present around us that happens in the corner of our eyes and they go unnoticed. But when we do notice them, what should we do?
Maybe you have been waiting for far too long.
Waiting for something
You always seem to notice people
making an effort
to start something,
to push people,
to do something about
all that is happening in this world.
You see something that makes you feel
maybe a little bit uncomfortable.
Perhaps you are just scared.
You might seem weak
you are so frustrated about it.
“There’s not a lot we can do here.”
You told me this as you tried to do whatever you could
even if it was the slightest opportunity
that allowed you to take action.
“At least it is better than nothing.”
That’s what everyone always says.
Even though it is easy to dismiss one’s efforts,
to look at the world rather cynically
and feel like it is futile in all it’s attempts.
But in reality no one actually knows
until it has picked up some form of momentum.
A few months ago,
someone told me
something along the lines of
how the idea of
was the next step
after making a decision
on what you are going to do.
If you are to do something,
the momentum it generates
might be something worth paying attention to.
But once it picks up this sense of rhythm,
it might slowly dissipate
and be the start of
the end of whatever you began.
Either someone said this to me
or I heard it whilst I was watching some football program.
It might have been Gary Neville
talking about Manchester United on Sky Sports.
I think he said something about how
they always seem to pick up some momentum
but eventually it all dies out.
Forever in a transition phase
and never really getting out of it.
I don’t know.
Actually maybe he didn’t say it.
It doesn’t really matter anyways,
It’s all just a blur now.
All of which somewhat reminds me of a particular song.
What was that song again?
There are times when
I keep hearing a tune being hummed
and it won’t go away.
It’s like that song that you keep playing in your head
but you can’t figure out what the song or the lyrics are.
Does it even have lyrics?
Is this a song that I even recognise?
Or is this something that I’ve made up?
you try so desperately to search for it,
but the options being presented to you,
to achieve what you are looking for,
feel so limited.
It feels like this tune is never going to go away.
You might forget it after a few days
but who knows when it will all come back again.
I stopped having plants 3 years ago.
I would like to start having them again.
But there are several reasons
why I don’t think I’d have them now.
Three years ago,
I had a few potted plants around my room.
They were next to my door,
by the windows,
on the opposite side of my bed
and next to my desk.
After a while,
they started to wither.
As time went on,
I started to neglect them,
and forgot to water them.
I think they were also in areas where
the sun wouldn’t shine.
Ever since then,
I felt that I wasn’t in a position to keep them.
I try to think of the reasons
why people even keep plants in their homes.
I think one of the reasons is the idea of settlement.
I believe people start bringing plants into their homes
because they start to envision a sense of belonging,
or at least plants would give them some sort of comfort.
I’ve been living in the same house for the past 3 years.
I hope that I’ll start having plants again soon.
I think I’m waiting for the right time.
Some might say,
“The perfect time”
But I don’t know if there’s such a thing.
I guess that’s what happens when
maybe wait for something to happen,
or for someone to be introduced in your life,
as an excuse to kick-start whatever it is you want to do.
It’s like when people say
you shouldn’t rest on your laurels.
I imagine when people say,
“At least I did something…”
that’s when they start becoming complacent.
Maybe that’s when they start to settle for how things are.
To accept what’s in front of them,
perhaps feeling that there’s nothing they can do.
The lightbulb in my bathroom seems to be slowly dying.
It seems to be getting dimmer and dimmer
every time I take a shower.
I think it has been around 4 months.
Strangely, it feels like I’m taking a shower outdoors in the night
and the dying light feels like the moon.
Sometimes when I’m taking a shower,
I notice how some of the tiles
cover parts of the walls.
People love to say that they get their “best ideas” in the shower.
But all I can think about is
how I should actually replace the light bulb
before the day it actually dies.
It comforts me now but
I’m also getting worried that this comfort
will be taken away.
Just full of doubts
Somewhere along these lines,
you have some feelings,
and somewhere along these feelings,
you would really like to articulate
why this is the case.
But you can’t
and I can’t do that too.
I’m quite embarrassed to tell you
because the reality is that I don’t even know
where to begin,
or how to start.
I don’t know what good it would be,
or whether it’ll be useful or not.
For fuck’s sake.
I should stop being so preoccupied with this.
It does seem like that is the case.
and that is the moment I know when I should get out of the shower.
I was talking to an art student who was about to start
a monthly school paper
with the student union.
In the paper,
the union hoped to highlight and bring attention to
events and happenings around the school
that usually remained in the corner of our eyes,
both the good and bad things they felt
the students of the school should be aware of.
Later that night,
I spoke to a friend over the phone
who had just started being a financial analyst,
and was beginning to hate his job
as he struggled with the workload and
what his job actually meant.
He told me that he didn’t want to talk about it.
He started talking about a girl he recently met
and had been with for 2 months.
He said he didn’t know what to do
as he didn’t feel like the relationship
would give him the life that he wanted.
His sister told him to break up with her
and I partially agreed
but he decided that
he was going to wait
that could potentially change his mind.
When it finally arrives,
whenever it is,
For better or worse,
it feels like it’s all down to us,
to determine how everything will be.
Something will happen that will change everything,
like how something might happen
that causes something else to happen
that causes something else to change.
You start to prepare for such moments,
preparing for moments for the future.
Preparing to look back.
And after all of this is over.
After the end has passed.
maybe I’ll ask myself
and we’ll ask ourselves,
“What did you do at the end of it all?”