New installation invites visitors to reflect on patriarchy
In the aftermath of #MeToo and the cultural impact it has had on the lives of women and men around the world, there has been a wider reckoning of all kinds of behaviours that perpetuate inequality and hold women back. Conversations have flowed from the violence of sexual assault to topics such as the pay gap, #mansplaining, and all the micro-aggressions, sometimes unnoticeable, that women face daily but have not yet felt comfortable enough to talk about before.
It is within the context of this social climate that Drama Box’s resident artist Han Xuemei created the theatre company’s latest production, FLOWERS, an experiential installation on the cost of patriarchal violence.
Left to right: Drama Box resident artist Han Xuemei and playwright Jean Tay worked together to create the company’s latest production, FLOWERS.
Han had originally set out to explore themes of sexual assault. Yet, in the process of research and dialogue, she and Drama Box’s playwright, Jean Tay, found themselves dwelling more on violence in the everyday and in domestic settings. The installation focuses specifically on patriarchal violence and its psychological effect on people and their relationships.
Given the premise of the installation, Han deliberately chose to have FLOWERS take place at a terrace house in Chip Bee Gardens, to allow visitors to be “observers of the everyday”, and to convey the intimate experience and emotions the installation tries to provoke in viewers.
She also hopes the space and the scale of the work – occupying a house – will jolt people to start thinking about patriarchal violence in a different way. “Is it even worth mentioning, is it even a problem? FLOWERS wants to encourage us to talk about what we experience, no matter how mundane it seems to be.”
To allow the conversations to happen and to get people to share their stories, there will be a “decompression space” on site, where audiences can linger after their experience to share and reflect. But Han is not prescriptive about how audiences engage with the work.
She only asks that people visit with an open mind, dedicate 90 minutes of their time to be in the space, immerse themselves in the story of the installation and throw away easy labels.
Find out more about FLOWERS here.