Maps are fascinating objects – they are both visual and textual. They tell us about the world they depict; as well as a glimpse into the worldview of their makers. For Singapore, maps are evidence of our early past – centuries before the arrival of the British. The National Library is delighted to present an offering of exhibitions and programmes that explore the fascinating world of maps and mapping.
GeoIGraphic will showcase the following exhibitions and various programmes:
- Singapore’s First Topographic and City Map
- Mind the Gap: Mapping the Other
- Land of Gold and Spices: Early Maps of Southeast Asia and Singapore
- Island of Stories: Singapore Maps
- SEA STATE 8 seabook
- MAP! at the Public Libraries
Singapore’s First Topographic and City Map
Lobby, Level 1
Topographic maps depict contours and relief providing the viewer an idea of the three-dimensional sense of the area being mapped. 1924 was the very first time Singapore had a complete set of topographic maps produced. This display provides an opportunity to see the complete set placed together as well as the first map to record the new status of Singapore from town to city (in 1951) – the six-sheet 1954 map of the city centre.
Mind the Gap: Mapping the Other
Mind the Gap presents the works of three Singapore contemporary artists who harness the strategies of data collection and mapping to investigate what lies beneath the surface of contemporary life.
Bibliotopia | by Michael Lee
Promenade, Level 7
In this work titled Bibliotopia, Michael Lee uses the device of the mind map to explore book culture in Singapore. This art installation draws on the print and on-line resources at the National Library and observations on how the book is ‘consumed’, to uncover the relationship between book, fiction and the city.
Michael Lee is an artist, curator and publisher, who focus on urban memory and fiction, with emphasis on their contexts and issues of loss.
Outliers | by Jeremy Sharma
Promenade, Level 8
In this installation Outliers by artist Jeremy Sharma, are four white polystyrene blocks with undulating surfaces which capture in material form the signals of dying stars (pulsars). Sharma, with the help of a pulsar scientist, has been collecting and categorising radiographic data of selected pulsars. The work contemplates the profound space-time distance the signals of dying stars travel to communicate their death throes.
Jeremy Sharma instigates investigative processes to inform the formal expressions of his painterly and sculptural practice.
The seas will sing and the wind will carry us | by Sherman Ong
Promenade, Level 9
In this video installation, Sherman Ong uses the documentary/ethnographic film genre to tell stories of migration, trans-border identities, myths and memory in island Southeast Asia. The past histories and contemporary stories of the region are explored through the stories of nine individuals featured in the video vignettes.
Sherman Ong is a filmmaker, photographer and visual artist whose practice centres on the relationship between place and the human condition.
Land of Gold and Spices: Early Maps of Southeast Asia and Singapore
National Library Gallery, Level 10
Asia, and specifically Southeast Asia have had a strong hold in the imagination of the early Europeans as a source of gold and all things exotic – like spices. Land of Gold and Spices presents a fascinating look at how Southeast Asia was perceived, conceived of and mapped by the Europeans from the 15th century up till the early 19th century.
The maps featured in this exhibition are from the National Library, Singapore’s rare collection and tell stories of the European presence in the region. A highlight section of the exhibition features printed, hand drawn maps and sailing instructions which points to Singapore’s early history before the arrival of the British in 1819. Special loans from European libraries are on display for the very first time in Singapore; these include rare indigenous Southeast Asian maps.
Island of Stories: Singapore Maps
Level 11, Lee Kong Chian Reference Library
Island of Stories draws on an eclectic mix of Singapore maps that capture intriguing moments from our country’s history. From maps covering forgotten mileage points, the island’s farmland and soil composition, to stories of the former detached mole at Marina Bay, the Orchard Road ‘circus’, the election fever of 1955 – they weave a quirky, multi-faceted story of Singapore’s past. This exhibition showcases the collection of the National Archives of Singapore.
Besides various audio-visual elements, visitors can explore overlaying 19th century maps over a contemporary map of our island in an interactive developed with the Urban Authority of Singapore.
Jointly organised by:
National Archive Singapore and National Library Singapore
SEA STATE 8 seabook | An Art Project by Charles Lim
Gallery, Level 11
This project seabook is part of Charles Lim’s series SEA STATE. It follows from his solo-exhibition at the NUS Museum titled In Search of Raffles’ Light (2013). seabook is conceived by the artist, as a site for the accumulation of archival materials, anecdotes and memories that unravels Singapore’s relationship with the sea. Developed with the librarians from the National Library, the project attempts to highlight the range of primary resource available on the sea from colonial and the post-colonial period. In effect, seabook aspires to be the most extensive cultural study of Singapore’s troubled relationship with the sea.
Charles Lim will represent Singapore in the 2015 Venice Biennale. He has a close relationship with the sea, being a former national sailor and having represented Singapore in the 1996 Olympics.
Jointly organised by
National Library Singapore and NUS Museum
MAPS! At the Public Libraries
Check out our interactive exhibition MAPS! which explores maps and navigation through history. At the following libraries near you!
|Seng Kang Public Library, level, Level 1||23 Dec 2014 – 8 Feb 2015|
|Jurong Regional Library, Level 2||10 Feb 2015 – 5 Apr 2015|
|Central Public Library, Basement 1||7 Apr 2015 – 14 June 2015|
|Woodlands Regional Library, Level 3||15 June 2015 – 29 Jul 2015|
Weekend Guided Tour (Conducted in English)
Gallery, Level 10 and 11
Free weekend guided tours are available, limited to 20 participants per session, on a first-come-first-served basis. Please visit www.nlb.gov.sg/golibrary or scan the QR code for dates of the tours. Registration is required.
School Self-guided Tour
Gallery, Level 10 and 11
For schools keen to arrange for a separate session to explore the exhibitions, provisions has been made to allow self-guided tours by teachers. A handy educator’s guide is available as a teaching aid, while the activity sheets for students complement the overall experience. Interested schools can write in to firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
The Spice Islands’ Impact on the Mapping of the World
Wednesday, 21 Jan, 7.00pm – 9.00pm | The Pod, Level 16 | Speaker: Dr David E. Parry
How did the search for a sea route to the “Indies” and “Isles of Spicerie” became the Holy Grail of the great Renaissance explorers, revealing the continents of Africa and North and South America? Join Dr Parry as he shares his experience as an avid map collector and about his books “The Cartography of the East Indian Islands”.
Cartography at National Geographic: From Crow Pen to Computer
Thursday, 5 Mar, 7.00pm – 8.30pm | Possibility Room, Level 5 | Speaker: Mr Juan José Valdés
Technology has modified the way maps have been traditionally researched, designed, and edited. This is nowhere more evident than at National Geographic, with a cartographic tradition spanning over 100 years, their cartographers have now embraced the fast-paced digital world of mapmaking.
Mr Juan José Valdésaddresses the Geographic’s significant milestones and their impact on its maps and map products.
Mapping Histories: Cartographic Representation of Singapore and Its Limits
Saturday, 21 Mar, 2.00pm – 4.00pm | Possibility Room, Level 5 | Speaker: Dr Imran bin Tajudeen
Maps record both cultural and natural physical data to varying degrees, and a comparative perspective across time can reveal much useful information on changes to multiple aspects of the landscape. In this presentation, Dr Imran will discuss the use of old maps to uncover lesser known aspects of place histories in Singapore.
Mapping Singapore in World War Two: a global perspective
Saturday, 11 Apr, 2.00pm – 4.00pm | Possibility Room, Level 5 | Speaker: Mr Mok Ly Yng
This presentation reviews the organisation of worldwide mapping efforts by the British and American mapping agencies during World War II, and Singapore’s military mapping as viewed from a
global perspective. Selected military maps of Singapore which were in use or produced during WWII with significant points of interest reflected will be highlighted by Mr Mok Ly Yng.
Changing Landscapes of Singapore
Saturday, 25 Apr, 2.00pm – 4.00pm | Possibility Room, Level 5 | Speaker: Associate Professor Victor R Savage
Over the last 190 years of Singapore’s history, the city-state landscapes have undergone tremendous changes and transformations. This talk by Associate Professor Victor R Savage provides a glimpse of the Singapore landscapes of yesterday and today and its implications in the imageability and legibility of Singapore to residents and tourists alike.
Planning for Singapore: How do we do it?
Saturday, 16 May, 2.00pm – 4.00pm | Possibility Room, Level 5 | Speaker: Mr Daniel Leong
To fit various land uses into Singapore’s limited terrain, the nations’ planners use a comprehensive framework that provides an integrated approach to sustainable development. Tools developed based on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) help enhance and plan for the needs of the current and future generations of Singaporeans. Daniel Leong shares how these GIS tools can help to create a vibrant and sustainable city of distinction.
The programmes are limited to 120 participants, on a first-come-first-served basis.Admission is free. Please visit www.nlb.gov.sg/golibrary or scan the QR code to register.
The Past is a Foreign Country
Promenade, Level 10 | Visit www.iremember.sg for details on these upcoming projects.
The following projects from the iremembersg Fund have been organisedin conjunction with Geo|Graphic.
Points of Departure |by Juria Toramae & Jerome Lim
Photo exhibition on coastlines in Singapore.
Island Nation | by Captured
Photo exhibition on southern islands and their residents.
Memories of Pulau Brani | by Muhammad Nadjad
Documentation exercise and book on ex-Brani islanders.
The Memories of Trees | by Robert Zhao
Photo exhibition on trees and their histories and stories in Singapore.
Singapore’s Orchid History | by Hendrick Kwan
Documentary on Mandai Orchid Garden and history of the national flower.
BuiltInSG | by Meka Studios
3D printing of buildings in Singapore.
Architecture & Architects | by Do Not Design
Book on iconic buildings in Singapore, their creators and occupants.
irememberParks by SFIC
Book and furniture display.
Supported by the Singapore Memory Project