Venka Purushothaman

DOI: 10.33671/ISSS10PUR

The issue of concern in this volume is Tropical Lab, an experimental initiative of LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore. An annual residential artist camp, it is inspired by visions of sharing and collaborating over two weeks in the city-state. Brainchild of artist-educator Milenko Prvački, it is an intensive and highly engaging event, bringing together more than 20 student-artists from various internationally renowned art colleges and institutions to engage in a series of workshops, talks and, seminars guided by established international and Singaporean artists. It culminates in an exhibition at LASALLE’s Institute of Contemporary Art Singapore.

The significance of Tropical Lab as a real and imaginative space for student-artists, from different cultural backgrounds to research and experiment, is heightened in a highly neoliberal and mediatised art world. A world that is increasingly being defined by speed over meditation, finality over process, showcase over deliberation, and price over substance. Artists are invited to discover, collaborate and create regardless of medium, method, and approach. As a Lab (artistic, scientific, social, etc.) it becomes an informal pedagogic space with self-developed outcomes. Amidst this experimental lab, new networks and artistic strains ferment.

Essays in ISSUE 10 are carefully curated to bring a range of perspectives to ruminate, appraise, and to reflect on the emerging new world/s of art and artist education through an incisive study of Tropical Lab. Readers will discover that there is an intimacy which the writers bring to Tropical Lab whether as an artist, participant, curator, editor or a college president. This intimacy injects profound self-reflexivity, which lends itself to building a community of advocates who believe in new approaches to artist education. The essays have also benefited tremendously from valuable feedback and thoughtful comments from independent peer-reviewers. Finally, this volume is enriched by an engaging interview with the initiator of Tropical Lab plus an exhibition titled Interdependencies representing its pivot in these pandemic times.

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