The Spaces Between Us is an accidental film.
It is an overly engineered documentary. It attempts to slice up society into neat piles of bureaucratic understanding; ranging from age, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic standings. In this clumsiness of profiling and segmentation, the vicariousness of real life embellishes itself with the smallest of actions, actions of hope, actions of resistance and actions of longing. These expressions serendeptiously mirror the attempt at controlling the virus in Singapore, as bureaucrats move around to define the war on COVID.
We are now, after many years of dependence on migrant labour, having to label workers down with COVID-19 as ‘non-community cases’. As of 01 November 2020, at least 50000 of 58019 cases has been a foreign worker in a dormitory.
For a good month or two, all news of COVID-19 felt unreal, as we hear of ravaging cases in dormitories just a mere kilometer or two away from the government housing units that we reside in. Ironically, these units are built by the very people whose lives and bodies are ravaged by the virus.
But, we’ve been brought up to know that Singapore is a small nation. How much plurality could possibly co-exist?
The Spaces Between Us attempts to reconcile this physical disjoint; the disjoint being the multitude of existences, livelihoods and being. It is to that degree that the film offers a mere glimpse of an even smaller section of time in Singapore’s history.
Hopefully in embellishing these different existences, the audience reckons with the discomfort as Singapore surges onto dizzying new economic heights, dreams, aspirations amidst a ravaging pandemic locally and globally.
This work is commissioned by National Museum of Singapore, as part of their contemporary collection.
27 February 2021 - 27 August 2021, National Museum of Singapore (World and Singapore Premiere)