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Saturday, 9 March 2013

BEYOND HERITAGE BUILDINGS



Petisyen writer, available for consultation on Saturday and any good day. Actually, this is my port to make notes as I 'merayau-rayau' to observe 'street happenings' around George Town. Am doing it for my current research. 

Notice the mattress leaning on the wall (on the right side of the picture)? The mattress is a part of what I like to call Lebuh Acheh's improvised installation. It is one of many 'intervention' street arts that one can discover in the vibrant heritage city of George Town. Perhaps it is yet to be discovered, reviewed and highlighted in the yearly calender of George Town art scene (and tourist brochure). 

It is the work of Afro, a street dweller who has been doing his street sleep-over (also eat-over) performances around streets in George Town for many years. His brand of 'intervention installation and performance art' is known for its annoying presence that has pissed-off many people. 

His 'practice' can be 'discoursed' through the theoretical framework of cultural studies and critical theory. No, I'm not being cynical here, his 'performance' is an interesting case subject to discuss on 'emerging practices', visual culture, creative intervention (to survive and sustain), situational art, happening, spatial concept (how to hijack public spaces), public art, social commentary, political subversion, critical reflection, so on so forth... not much different than those discussed, written about, hyped, pitched and glossed in big art festivals, triennial, biennale,books etc. 

His 'performance' contributes to the street 'character' of George Town, perhaps more honestly than those that I normally and proudly, if not snobbishly take as 'ART'. 

Sometimes Afro can be seen at the Lebuh Acheh's flee market, doing one of his many repertoires - performing the art of selling 'found objects'. My kind of local 'Duchamp'. 

But don't mistaken him for another street 'afro' usually seen around Kapitan restaurant. He also does his own brand of street performance, when he is drunk....another obscured Duchamp, if not one of the post-modern ironies of a city trying to 'brand' itself. 

So, come to George Town, and try to see it beyond those heritage buildings.

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