Episōdo: Beyond the ExhibitionMomentary inhabitations of time

Episōdo 09

Dennis TAN The case of the ringing bell

Dennis TAN The case of the ringing bell performance (Sangenjaya)

Singapore- and Tokyo-based Dennis Tan presents an installation at Plot 48 based on his firsthand experiences of Tokyo’s congested Shibuya district. He also embarks on a “journey” that will last the 1000 days until the next Triennale and comprise performances related to his exhibit at various locations during or perhaps after the current Triennale concludes.

Dates: July 17-October 11, 2020
Venue: Plot 48

Performances related to his exhibit at various locations during and after the Triennale can be viewed at the following YouTube video.

The case of ringing bell (A reminder of sorts), Ver. 1

The case of ringing bell (A reminder of sorts), Ver. 2


Curatorial Introduction
In the 1000 days between this Triennale and the next, in that rest and in that wait, grow newer possibilities and sensibilities. Residing within such a temporal pause, acting as both joint and reminder, a time passed and its recurrence, a work travels. It is light, yet obstinate. Performing disruption and memory, this work gives the Triennale a long tail.

A man—frowning, hurrying, parting a sea of pedestrians—rings a bicycle bell attached to a stick.

When you ring a bell, it’s to get people to move away from you, but the irony is that you have to first draw them—their attention—towards you.

In this time of social distancing, the irony of a bell—of drawing-close-to-keep-apart—might strike you.

Ringing a bicycle bell is unusual in Japan; no one does it, the norm is to wait till one can slip past.

This man didn’t care; he was okay with disrupting the norm.

Bells aren’t unusual—they’re everywhere. In poetry and at shrines.

There was something lyrical in his disturbing the peace of an unspoken norm with a ring.

A bicycle bell is different from a bell at a shrine. Metal discs rotate, they rattle and they strike.

When one doesn’t ring a bell, it speaks directly to how perturbed they must feel when one is rung.

A bell once rung cannot be un-rung.

Look at this tree; it has a will of its own, its own path to the sun.

A tree has a presence; you cannot overlook it.

Bicycle bells are attached to it with strings, and there is more string knotted to the bells to pull and ring them—from a distance, and its certainty.

One perturbed by a bell may now have an upper hand, some kind of control, ringing a bell in exasperation, expectation, or in synchronicity.

Almost as if at a shrine, offering prayers.

— Drawn from the artist proposal

Dennis TAN
Born in 1975 in Singapore. Lives and works in Singapore and Tokyo.
Tan modifies, shifts and reassembles everyday items, found objects and the surroundings into works of art, questioning the border of art and everyday life. He combines the elements and creates sculptural works, installation and performance and brings fresh visions and observations to everyday situations. For this Triennale, Tan presents a bricolage and performance inspired by the experience he had on the street of a busy city. He participated in “There are too many episodes of people coming here...” at NUS Museum in Singapore in 2016 and the Singapore Biennale in 2019.