Fate had brought Sandy Tan, the founder of Sound & Canvas and Other Half Studios, comprising of two creatives – Sumay C, a photographer and Arty Guava, a watercolour artist – together when she came across a feature in Business Times for a giant kaleidoscope installation by the duo for Sarawak’s Rainforest Fringe Festival in 2017.
Sandy’s journey through her music-composing career started out of curiosity at a young age, when she used to write her own music and discovered more techniques along the way. “Like most people, the privilege to practise what you love comes with a lot of hard work, perseverance, setbacks, but it also comes with a lot of joy and opportunity to grow. I did not grow up thinking I will be able to create what I have now,” said Sandy.
Her practice involves treatment of electro-acoustic instrumentations and environmental sounds, framed in conceptual art installations. Her work explores how sound influences our social experiences, as well as parallels drawn between sound and other art forms. Sound & Canvas was founded upon her passion for both musical and visual compositions.
After arranging a meeting with Arty Guava in Singapore to discuss a potential collaboration in art and music, OH! Secret Garden happened at the end of that same year after three months of planning up until the execution.
“It was really like how you would meet your best friend – you just relate and click with each other from the start, and you believe in one another. This was how our collaboration started and have continued to be. We just decided to try our best to create the love that we love creating. And the rest was history.”
OH! Secret Garden, which launched in November 2017 at Sound & Canvas was a floral-themed exhibition that was complemented by abstract and contemporary aesthetics. The installation featured infinity mirrored projections, and a fresh floral archway created by The Bloom Project Co. Brunei, as well as a paper flower-wall hand-crafted by Happy Petals Co. Brunei.
It Was All A Dream, which is their second collaboration, is an audio-visual exhibition that features a play with light and shadows, which serves as a centre feature in the installation. Sandy explains that the exhibit is meant to hold an obscure mirror to one’s past, present and future – depicting the lightness and gravity of daily routines, challenges and experiences.
“The power of collaboration can really push the boundaries of your work,” said Sumay, when called upon to join Sandy’s speech at the private launch of the exhibition.
Seeing that Other Half Studios is based in Malaysia, and Sound & Canvas in Brunei, their long distance collaboration was mostly done with the help of technology. “Communication is definitely key, and conveying the right brief and ideas from the start is important. Our meetings are usually done through Skype and we always follow up closely with the work in progress.”
Other Half Studios have recorded visuals that depict a journey that was familiar to everyone, having used videos that were keepsakes and snippets from familiar scenes in their daily lives.
“The traffic light scene was a video recorded of a journey back home from work one rainy day. If anyone notices, there is a sudden shift in the scene, where the imagery drops downward and disappears. What really happened was while I was recording this scene, I left my phone on my dashboard in slow-moving traffic, and when I stepped on the brake pedal, my phone fell off. I wanted this video to be raw and real, hence why I did not cut out that part from the video,” said Sumay, who was recalling the incident.
Sandy hopes to continue presenting audio-visual exhibits at Sound & Canvas, as well as other creative and interactive activities. She looks forward to exciting projects for the venue in 2019.
It Was All A Dream is open from Tuesday to Sunday, between 7.30pm and 10.30pm. Admission is BND 8 and tickets are available online at www.soundandcanvas.com/ticket. The exhibition will run until the end of February next year. For more information, please follow @soundncanvas and @otherhalfstudio on Instagram.