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Coastal Blueprints is concerned with political geography, the physical authorship of the land and it’s treatment as a political and economic commodity.

As part of this projects research, I collaborated with the National University of Singapore’s Department of Geography - specifically their archive of digitised historical maps of Singapore, in order to uncover the country’s original coastlines and identify areas of land reclamation. 

The imagery I subsequently created deconstructs what has been so meticulously organised and planned, first with the British and their colonial ‘fever’ for accumulating knowledge (Richards 1993) and subsequently with modern independent Singaporean governance and it’s thirst for financial prominence.

Throughout the project, I visually deconstruct my photography as well as the graphic elements I found in archival maps such as signatures, dates, measurements, titles and reference numbers, challenging authorial attempts to classify, order and control.

This anti-authoritarian stance manifests itself in the rejection of technology in the projects making with the use of a large format pinhole camera and direct positive paper. The images were contact printed as cyanotypes using handmade watercolour paper in an attempt to avoid the automated character of digital technologies and cliches it can set in place (Flusser 2000).

The choice to produce Coastal Blueprints as a forty-eight page ‘Zine’ on newsprint was intended to reflect the disposable and commoditised treatment of Singapore’s coastlines. With the grid as a rudimentary cartographic gesture, the design and layout has a disregard for boundaries and borders, alluding to how capitalism nonchalantly ‘reads’ and ‘writes’ spaces.

Collaborating with, albeit remotely, provided an opportunity to further my design and editorial skills and join a new community of publishers looking to push the boundaries of what’s possible in print. 

RICHARDS, Thomas. 1993. The Imperial Archive: Knowledge and the Fantasy of Empire. London: Verso Books.

FLUSSER, Vilém. 2000. Towards a Philosophy of Photography. (Translated by Anthony Matthews). London: Reaktion Books.


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