Taking Routes

In Taking Routes, the journeys of Tanglin Halt residents, past and present, are the focus of Tay’s ongoing study of tracing our overlooked everyday rituals. Tanglin Halt estate is a location where Tay’s grandparents lived, his parents grew up, and he himself made many memories. Taking Routes was conceptualised when it was announced that Tanglin Halt was slated for redevelopment: Tay saw an opportunity to focus us on our everyday journeys while at the same time preserving the place in his own way.

In his previous investigations, the everyday ritual was an anonymous commute along a metro line, one end to the other, and was derived from existing maps. In this study, however, the routes were shaped from the stories of individuals to create a personalised map of their daily journeys. The subjects revisited memories and shared stories of living and working in the estate, treading the same paths with different intentions, locating common destinations with different routes laid out…

Tay took these separate routes and overlaid them to create a combination of courses taken around the estate, each an exploration of the journeys and how they interact with each other. These personal seemingly mundane rituals, combined with Tay’s familiar technique of applying repeated layers of HMA, have resulted in the landscapes visualised in this show.

Each piece contemplates everyday journeys repeated across the estate over 60 years, eventually converging to create these landscapes — personal stories overlapping into a community network of paths taken around Tanglin Halt. The individual’s journey is represented by the colour buried within the other layers, and while each resident’s experience is unique, they also form part of the collective memory of the estate.

Choosing to show these works in a Tanglin Halt flat, that will soon be demolished, Tay calls attention to the temporal, fragile nature of these overlooked community networks. By bringing visitors into the estate, he encourages them to trace the same tracks as this soon to be disrupted community network and to let their own everyday journeys take root.

Walk through the exhibit below.