This Is What We BelieveOrganised by: Goethe-Institut Singapore
Performed by: Alfonse Chiu
This Is What We Believe explores how faith and collective beliefs in relation to politico-economic apparatuses conjure imaginary, yet inherent, benchmarks for value—of space and time, people and things. These economic imaginaries are shaped in turn by tactics and rhetorics associated with the promulgation of belief systems and ideologies.
This exhibition takes its title from an utterance by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who, in response to a centrist-leaning suggestion at a policy meeting, reportedly slammed a copy of Friedrich Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty on the table. Bringing together cultural histories and economic theologies, the exhibition draws from political and economic developments of the late 20th century—when financialisation and neoliberal policies began to proliferate globally—and select ritualistic practices for divine blessings of wealth and good fortune.
By examining the roles that faith, belief, and ideology play (and pray) in the creation of value and worth at a systemic level, the works in the exhibition are experiments of Chiu's current research and artistic investigations, which probe and tease at the notion of a(n auspicious) visual culture for capital. A tongue-in-cheek overture of ideas both sacred and profane, This Is What We Believe invokes the timeless human struggle for meaning, survival, and shiny things that no others possess.
About the artist
Alfonse Chiu is a writer, artist, and curator working at the intersection of text, space, and the moving image. Their practice investigates imaginaries of capital and ideologies as shaped by media infrastructures and networked economies. They currently head SINdie, an editorial platform exploring Southeast Asian film culture(s), and are also the founder of the Centre for Urban Mythologies, a projectbased research initiative interested in the (im)material tensions present within the urban contexts of the region. They are the 2021 e-flux journal fellow and an associate curator with DECK.
About the space
136 GOETHE LAB is a new project space at the Goethe-Institut Singapore. Housed in the former library and reading room, the space is intended as a response to the need for physical spaces for the arts, and an ongoing conversation with the public and arts community in Singapore.
This Is What We Believe is supported as part of the open call RECONNECT for 136 GOETHE LAB, which invited artists working on incubation projects or new bodies of work to present or develop their work in the space.