Carolyn Lau is a Landscape Architect with Seksan Design and partner of affiliate company SD2 Sdn Bhd.
She has previously dabbled in set, costume and lighting design for theatre. Receiving support from the Krishen Jit ASTRO Fund makes her feel like she’s working with Krishen again – what an honour!
Childhood memories are of watching her parents making — food, tools, sculpture, clothes, canoes, pots, bags, fishing nets, traps, chicken coops, jewelry, gifts, gardens.
Why do people discard and litter so much? Because those things hold no value to them. Convenience is expected, assumed, taken for granted.
The craft of frugal living, where the botol-man cruised neighborhoods to buy used glass and tins, where plastic bread bags were washed out and reused, where toys were enjoyably hand made with much make do, where old magazines were reformed into paper bead curtains, is now largely undervalued, if not forgotten.
I am nostalgic for that frugality, for the resourcefulness, dexterity and simple creativity that came with it. I wish for my children large doses of it to help them survive their uncertain future (as I wish for myself and half this planet). So I am trying to find value in what I throw out.
My works for TLS09 comprise of daily discards from my kitchen — centre of nurturing and nourishment, source of the most household waste. Discards that quickly mount up as ready material solicit contemplation — yoghurt bottles, food tins, milk cartons, glass jars, 3-in-1 packets, plastic bags.
Washed clean, perforated, linked/fused/stitched, lit up, each material’s potentials are explored –whether reflective, glowing, shadow casting or colouring light.Reworking each material as repeated components relives the routine of our daily consumption.
An assortment of lampshades is mounted on empty whisky bottles which were found beside a deserted guard house — apt bases implying the futile inebriation of trying to forget to remember, to remember to forget. Metaphorically, what some of us do when regarding Recycling and Convenience.
The resultant assemblage of renewed kitchen offerings intends to nurture food for thought.