This year, the Jalan Besar Salon presents critical responses from our Open Call on placemaking and identity formation. The programme seeks to investigate the ways we foster a sense of place and belonging, coping with change and aging, examining how and where we develop social relations beyond our homes and immediate family. We turn to creative placemaking to activate and reactivate domains of shared memory and public spaces to transform them into spaces with the capacity to connect communities and grow ideas.
THE DRY BAR is a play on the “beauty parlors” flanking the Jalan Besar Salon, as we see our neighbours performing care services to any and everyone willing to venture into their spaces. The Jalan Besar Salon also continues to take inspiration from the Salons of 17th-18th Century France, where many ambitious women gathered to exchange ideas, receive and give criticism, present their work, and discuss the ideas and pieces of other intellectuals. The salon was a key institution in which women rose to positions of power and influence, departing from being mere hosts to agents. In contrast to the aristocratic leanings of earlier salons, the Jalan Besar Salon depend on the principles of equality, of opinions being valuable and up for discussion rather than debate. Our programme seeks to create a nurturing and creative environment to enable friendships and relationships to be forged as people connect, have conversations in the space and incubating new ideas.
In October, we see Yun Teng weave found objects gathered around and donated by the community from our Stage 3 Gentrifying Neighbourhood, as she attempts to negotiate and present the narratives and diverse economies surrounding our space through the eyes of a non-resident.
In November, Jenny re-presents the childhood fairytale as an adult female, picking apart themes of intimacy and identity formation through the motif of hair, dissecting how the fairytale, as one of the first social and cultural influences in a child’s life, later manifests in one’s adult consciousness.
We then close our programme this year with an AWKWARD PARTY by Rachael and Sheryll. The duo will be creating an atmospheric installation responding to time and space indefinitely hurtling forward by loudly shutting it down with a party reminiscent of the uncomfortable family gatherings from our childhoods. The team will utilize bespoke furniture coverings, food display and old-school jams to nudge us through an oddly familiar domestic setting, to think about how the built environment can assist in cultivating home and place, as well as, how memorable childhood experiences in the public realm can be transformational in community building.