Performance, Affect and Memory in Tan Pin Pin’s Films

The Politics of Art in Southeast Asia Seminar Series


About the Seminar

“I want to broaden the idea of what cinema can be in Singapore. […] 

I want to broaden the idea of Singapore.” – Tan Pin Pin 

This seminar examines the performative, experiential and emotional aspects of Tan’s oeuvre, using her latest film In Time to Come (2017) as the main point of departure.  As an exploration of local spaces, places, and times, In Time to Come  is a compelling snapshot of the contemporary Singaporean mise-en-scène. This cinematic experience bears striking similarities and revealing points of contrast to Tan’s previous documentary work, including Moving House (2001), Singapore GaGa (2005), Invisible City (2007), The Impossibility of Knowing (2010), and her most controversial film to date, To Singapore, with Love (2013). As an artist, Tan has always worked to create films that implicate the audience and spur important social discussions about identity and the national imaginary, raising questions that are both immediate and immutable. Whose story? Who remembers? Who belongs and who doesn’t? Who dwells in-between? Ultimately, even as it eschews narrative and dialogue, In Time to Come tells a story of Singapore in the nascent stages of becoming.

About the Speaker

Cheng Nien Yuan is a final year doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies under the International Postgraduate Research Scholarship. Cheng’s dissertation explores Singapore as what she calls the ‘storytelling state’, or the nation’s newfound interest in a specific form of narration that emerged in the last decade through public (auto)biographical storytelling. She has published in the journals Oral History Review, About Performance and TAASA. Cheng is co-founder of the interdisciplinary research group Perspectives on the Past in Southeast Asia (PoP), which organises public seminars, conference panels, and workshops at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and Oxford University. With PoP she jointly edits a special section on SEA history at New Mandala. Cheng holds a B.A. (Honours with University Medal) in Performance Studies at Sydney University.


For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 26 October 2018.


Oct 29 2018


3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2