Saturday, October 27, 2007

LAMU opens today!

StarMetro, The Star,
Saturday, October 27 2007

Creative charm at the railway stations

WHAT are the odds that waiting for the train - and riding it - could turn into a most fascinating experience?

From today till Nov 4, the KTM Komuter platforms at KL Sentral and the gloomy old Kuala Lumpur train station will see an intriguing transformation, and the daily triviality of commuting might just be - if commuters are there at the right time - turned into the ride of a lifetime.

The charming imaginative changes are part of the Let Arts Move You (LAMU) public art project. Creative arts by 11 Malaysian and regional artists replace the current mundane sights and grainy and fuzzy-sounding television shows at the platforms.

This is, perhaps, the first time that such an innovative visual art event is taking place in connection with the public transportation system.

Final discussion: Yap (left) and Lim discuss the last details of the show before it goes public.

The artists involved include Kamal Sabran, Shieko Hussein and Lau Mun Leng (Malaysia), Wok The Rok and Sa Dewa (Indonesia), Li Cassidy-Peet (Singapore) and Donna Miranda (the Philippines).

According to curators Lim Kok Yoong, and Yap Sau Bin, both members of artist initiative Rumah Air Panas, LAMU aims to present an insight into the dynamic and creative situation of urban life in Kuala Lumpur, drawing connections between artistic interventions and the rapid pace of development.

Simply put, the idea is to fill the KTM Komuter trains and stations with works of art, and to let the arts move people physically and emotionally.

“We want to engage the community in art, based on the abstract theme of time, space and travel,” Yap said.

The objective stemmed from a conscious desire to engage the community in the arts, by making it available and accessible to the masses.

“We want to involve the masses by bringing art out of the confines of galleries and theatres into the public space, to bring the two together through mundane encounters,” said Lim, also the project director.

So, do not be surprised if a stranger named Donna Miranda from the Philippines suddenly approaches you and initiates a conversation while you are waiting for your train. She may show you photographs she had taken of graffiti, or even ask if you could pose for a picture.

It is part of a performance presented in its entirety during the launch today.

As you walk into the KTM Komuter foyer, you will be pleasantly greeted by a mural painting by Shieko Hussein. Around the area, there are also many other exciting finished works involving video projection, photography, print, light box art and more.

One interesting thing to look out for is emerging video artist Kamal Sabran’s Speed of Time video work projected on the underground subway wall and exterior body of passing trains.

Lau Mun Leng’s Reading Project is also on. His performance involves book reading at 4.33pm daily.

Lightbox art: Sa Dewa's Spinning Camera series can be found at the KTM Komuter platform at KL Sentral.

According to Yap, Kamal has condensed 10 hours of subway travel into 10 minutes, a technically amazing feat of compression at a ratio of 60:1.

“You have to catch the reading at the right place and the right time,” said Yap enigmatically.

Indonesia’s Sa Dewa will display photography via light boxes in an interesting ensemble entitled Spinning Camera.

Sound artist Goh Lee Kwang will engage the public in a most unusual mobile music and installation performance entitled Sing Along which will move between the old KL station and KL Sentral station during the period of the exhibition.

There is also a mobile karaoke set placed at a specified location in the stations for a few sessions a day.

“All these go back to our concept of adapting to the certain rhythms in time,” Lim said.

Although the LAMU concept is perceived to be a fascinating and simple one, it is not so easy as it seems; the project is huge in every way.

The organising committee members have their individual worries on the success of the project. Lim, for instance, has admitted to many sleepless nights.

But what is so amazing is that despite being a challenging pioneer project, and everyone being on tenterhooks, all the personnel involved are positive and receptive to the idea, and, obviously, confident and courageous to implement it.

KTM Bhd Komuter Services business development manager Azreen Mohamed Yusup said the company supported the project as part of its social responsibility.

She said that it was an altruistic contribution to the public and passengers via art, as well as a means of beautifying the stations and trains.

“This is a very exciting project even though it’s a testing ground for all of us, because I think it’s the first of its kind. If everything goes well, we will continue with our support,” Azreen said.

“We hope that this will develop and create a lasting impression, that it would not be just an educative endeavour to the public and corporate bodies,” Yap said.

“We want it to be sustainable, not just a hit-and-run thing, and that it will open more doors in the future.”

The LAMU project ends on Nov 4. It is organised by Kolektif Pembangunan Seni in partnership with KTM, and supported by Rumah Air Panas, Arts Network Asia, Culture and Arts Department, Krishen Jit Astro Fund, Tabung Seni Matahati, Ganad Media, AnCasa Hotel Kuala Lumpur and For more details and latest updates, visit

No comments: