Reclaiming Space in the Virtual World

Posted on: 05 June, 2010 | Tagged as: ,

This project had a category of “reclaiming” that we had planned for, but never explored — virtual reclamation. We saw that many Singaporeans were creating spaces online to do things that were harder to do in the physical Singapore. For instance, having forums to discuss very niche interests and blogs to broadcast alternative perspectives. It’s easier to do these virtually because it is cheaper (often, free) and hassle-free (no need to apply licence or find suitable location).

Looking back today, there seems to be two stages of development in how virtual space has been reclaimed. At first, it was just about creating spaces that could not be created in the physical world. Now, it’s about recreating extra dimensions of the physical world, like its past, online. Here are three examples:

i is a National Library initiative that attempts to document historical events and changes on to Singapore maps of past and present. It looks a little overwhelming at first, but play around you’ll find it is actually quite impressive to be able to compare physical changes side by side.

Civic Life: Tiong Bahru is documenting a unique residential district in Singapore. Tiong Bahru houses a unique neighbourhood that were built by the British administration instead of the present day public housing authorities. The project is also partnering with two UK film makers Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy to create a community film about the area. The pair have done several such films where they invite local residents to take part in the process of making a film about their community, including acting in it as well!

A Map Of Our Own — Kwun Tong Culture and Histories is  a Hong Kong example, but it is very relevant to Singapore. The site is archiving this district in Hong Kong that is undergoing a massive urban renewal through images, sounds and videos. In Singapore, the city changes so fast that perhaps we should seriously consider something similar. Maybe, the Urban Redevelopment Authority can consider doing a project like this everytime a space is undergoing massive change.