NADA | Brandon Tay
“We are longing for a provincial past. And this unachievable longing haunts us in all sense of the word as urban dwellers.”
“Rustling leaves, blowing wind, flowing water, where hides the Bukit Timah Monkey Man? Mining the most untouched area on the main island of Singapore, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.”
Behind the Scenes
In Search of the Bukit Timah Monkey Man
NADANADA is a visual arts and sound project that specialises in conjuring up lost eras through music, particularly the golden period of Malay and Southeast Asian traditional and popular music from the 1960s to the 1980s. Consisting of Rizman Putra and Safuan Johari, the duo celebrates these forgotten sounds from the past through contemporary musical lens. NADA fuses fiction with reality and creates vintage allure with refreshing modernity. Since 2014, NADA’s brand of music has gone beyond Singapore to Paris, Beijing, London and New York.
Brandon TayBased in Singapore, Brandon Tay is a media artist who explores the uncanny and the sublime through a mediated lens. His practice spans the moving image, mediated sculpture and audiovisual performance with a background in film and animation informing his multi-faceted approach. His work has been shown in the National Museum of Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum. As an audiovisual performer, he has worked with the Singapore International Festival of Arts, the M1 Fringe Festival and da:ns festival.
ConceptSingapore is a highly urbanised city state in a constant flux of (re)development. Without a rural hinterland, the concept of nature can evoke a sense of longing. Longing for a provincial past. A past that most of the people didn’t live through and realistically they know that they can’t get back. An unachievable longing that haunts urban dwellers in all sense of the word. Inhabitants who are, in this context, uniquely and ironically surrounded by built-up greeneries of recreational parks and vertical gardens. It is on this premise that NADA and Brandon Tay aim to aurally and visually mine the most untouched area on the main island, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
The artists’ intention is to investigate, capture and present the aforementioned notion of longing/haunting when it comes to the idea of Singaporeans’ relationship with nature. In this quest, the artists adopt a metaphorical framework: searching for Singapore’s cryptid, the Bukit Timah Monkey Man. And in return the artists hope to create an allusion in their audio-visual narrative on whether this relationship with the natural environment is real or more of another myth or folklore.
“We were always told as children when in the kampung not to go near the forest at night due to the Monkey Man. Of course we never saw it ourselves, but it was always some uncle or friend of the family who had seen it. Once we were shown these footprints near the forest road, and I remember the strong urine smell. Whenever we heard shrieks coming from the jungles, we would tell each other, ‘Don’t disturb the Monkey Man.’”
– 65-year-old retiree recounting a childhood tale to The New Paper (2007).