Marvin Tang: Variations of a Garden
His research questions the linearity of historical narratives and the notion of collective identities. His works stem from the effects of policy-making to shifting social structures. He is particularly interested in applying this research to Singapore, attempting to investigate its own historical account and relationship to her expanded narratives across the globe.
How did 70,000 stolen seeds from Brazil transform into a Garden City?
The 18th century sparked an age of exploration, where foreign lands became fertile soil for colonisers, from which a global network of botanical gardens was created in the hope of studying and transforming landscapes for economical means. Weaving between various narratives in his research, Marvin Tang examines Singapore’s complex relationship with its ecological history and attempts to connect its present day garden obsessions to its past.
Variations of a Garden is an anthology of works presented as a video dialogue between the artist and his research. In this two-part anthology, Tang investigates the colonial gaze through The Colony and dissects national identities with A Guide to Tree Planting. The Colony is a long term research project that examines the impact of the colonial botanical institutes and its repercussions toward the movement of seeds, plants, and people while A Guide to Tree Planting explores the manufacturing of a national identity through tree planting campaigns.
This presentation invites the audience to enter the artist’s desktop, exploring the tangents and intersections of research through a web of content Tang has amassed from the archive and internet. These materials examine the artist’s interest in the polarity of Garden/Nature, Local/Native, and the linearity of national narratives.