The number of steps it takes to build a national identity

I came up with this piece that I performed in a cul-de-sac in Kampong Glam yesterday. The significance of this exact space is I am a Singaporean of Chinese origin in the heart of the Muslim quarter quite like how Singapore is situated in Southeast Asia.

Lee Hsien Loong once said “But for us, national identity will always be work-in-progress”. This piece shows how we strip away our differences and conceal them so that we have one national identity. The number of steps will be as many or as little as one deems it to be. Do more steps mean the concept of national identity is more reinforced and complete ?

I have all the matryoshka dolls opened and arranged on the ground. I take off my sandals and walk along the rectangular perimeter of the cul-de-sac. I would have preferred to walk in circles but it was more natural to adapt to the space this time. Each time I come back to the matryoshka dolls, I will put the smallest one into the one next size up and then I will continue to walk. I do it until I complete assembling all the matryoshka dolls and they become just one doll.

In the future, I will like it to be a longer durational piece (2/4/6/8h), putting the matryoshka dolls back together then taking them apart and repeating the process. The piece ends when the time is up regardless of the state of assembly of the dolls.

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