Annuit Cœptis: He who approves of our undertakings (2010 - 2011)
a three-part performance installation
In January 2010, the artist traveled to New York and worked as a go-go dancer from 16 to 23 January 2010 in a gay bar that features Asian go-go performers for a largely Caucasian clientele. He collected 306 American one-dollar bills as part of his earnings over those six days. These notes and his experience led to a yearlong project titled Annuit Coeptis: He who approves of our undertakings.
*Annuit Cœptis – annuo (nod, approve) and cœpta (beginnings, undertakings).
10 December, 2010 to 22 January, 2011
Sullivan Galleries, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
part of Stories of Relativity group exhibition
The project was presented in three separate phases, that cumulated into a final performance installation. As part of this presentation, the artist disseminated these bills to 306 friends, family and acquaintances across the globe. Six frames were displayed as part of the installation, alongside a single-channel video. Each individual frame contains bills earned on each corresponding day of his labor and performance in New York.
Over the duration of the exhibition, the artist systematically removed the bills and extracted the ‘Eye of Providence’ on the reverse side of the bill, preparing them to be mailed along with an accompanying letter on the one-year anniversary of their receipt from 16 to 23 January, 2011.
At the conclusion of the exhibition, these letters were mailed out to their respective recipients.
5 November, 2010
Sharp Graduate Studios, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Six panels of dollar bills earned over six nights of working as a go-go dancer were exhibited in the studio space, accompanied by a performance piece by the artist at the window.
A camera was placed across the road and directed towards the window of the studio space. The footage was projected ‘live’ onto an empty wall in the studio, giving visitors two simultaneous views of the performance, from the interior and the exterior of the building.
29 April, 2010
Sullivan Graduate Studios, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Made in response to a 2007 parliamentary speech against the repeal of Anti-sodomy laws in Singapore, this presentation of Annuit Cœptis juxtaposed the speech with ‘live’ go-go dancing performance and ritual acts that referenced Brother Cane – a performance piece by Singaporean artist Josef Ng. Text from the parliamentary speech was inscribed across 306 American Dollar bills in ultra-violet ink.
A 16mm projector projecting film loops measuring 169 cm in length projects extreme close-ups of an American dollar bill above a square podium. The 6 hour durational performance involves the artist transforming the installation space by his engagement with various materials, which includes a rope, boxing wraps, shaver, a ceramic jar etc.