Photo Credit: Samantha Tio

Loo (Last Name, 罗 Pinyin = luó)
Zihan
(First Name, 子涵 Pinyin = zĭ hán)


Loo Zihan is an artist and academic from Singapore working at the intersections of critical theory, performance, and the moving-image. He received his Masters of Fine Arts in Studio Practice from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Masters in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

His work emphasises the malleability of memory through various representational strategies that include performance re-enactments and essay films. He was awarded the Young Artist Award (2015) and an Arts Postgraduate Scholarship (2017) by the National Arts Council of Singapore.

(93 words)


Loo Zihan is an artist and academic from Singapore working at the intersections of critical theory, performance, and the moving-image. His work strives to reconcile the tension between the flesh / subject of the “live” body and the bone / object of the archive. He emphasises the malleability of memory through various representational strategies that includes performance re-enactments and essay films.

His performance work has been commissioned by the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival (2012, 2015 and 2019), the Singapore International Festival of Arts (2016), and Esplanade Theatres on the Bay (2017). His moving-image work has been screened at various international film festivals, including AFI Fest (Los Angeles) and Pusan International Film Festival (South Korea).

Zihan was the valedictorian for the pioneer batch of Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates from the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University in 2009. He went on to pursue his Master of Fine Arts from the School of Art Institute of Chicago, where he was supported with a merit scholarship and a graduate fellowship in 2011. He received his Masters of Arts in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2018. Zihan was awarded the Young Artist Award (2015) and an Arts Postgraduate Scholarship (2017) by the National Arts Council of Singapore.

(212 words)


Loo Zihan is an artist and academic from Singapore working at the intersections of critical theory, performance, and the moving-image. His work strives to reconcile the tension between the flesh / subject of the “live” body and the bone / object of the archive. He hopes to complicate this binary by investigating the resistance of objecthood in the insistence to be “live”. He is specifically interested in unpacking the verisimilitude of “live-ness” under illiberal, pragmatic regimes. He is keen on recalibrating our attention to the vibrant materiality of objecthood as a strategy of investigating how we can reconfigure our relationship to what is commonly perceived as abject, or invisible.

He emphasises the malleability of memory through various representational strategies that includes performance re-enactments and essay films. From 2011 till 2013, his research focus was on Singaporean artist Josef Ng’s Brother Cane, a performance in 1994 that triggered a chain of reactions that eventually led to the proscription of performance art and forum theatre in Singapore from 1994 till 2003. He re-enacted the performance twice, once in Chicago and another time in Singapore, and presented an accompanying exhibition in December 2012 that critically interrogated these gestures.

His experimental film work has been in competition at various international film festivals, including AFI Fest (Los Angeles), Pusan International Film Festival (South Korea), Newfest (New York) and the London Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (U.K.). His co-directed debut feature film was awarded the Nuovo Sguardi award at the 23rd Turin GLBT Film Festival.

His performance work has been commissioned by the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival (2012, 2015 and 2019), the Singapore International Festival of Arts (2016), and Esplanade Theatres on the Bay (2017). He has also toured and presented work at Brisbane Festival (2016), Asia Society in New York (2016) and the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne (2015). His performances challenge conventional modes of spectatorship and are participatory and pedagogical in nature.

Zihan was the valedictorian for the pioneer batch of Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates from the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University in 2009. He went on to pursue his Master of Fine Arts from the School of Art Institute of Chicago, where he was supported with a merit scholarship and a graduate fellowship in 2011. He received his Masters of Arts in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2018. Zihan was awarded the Young Artist Award (2015) and an Arts Postgraduate Scholarship (2017) by the National Arts Council of Singapore.

(419 words)


TPAM - Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama, 'Asian Artist Interview - Loo Zihan', 29 December 2014 (40 minutes)

Authored Texts

Loo, Zihan. ‘Queer Objects: An Archive for the Future’, Queer Asia, edited by J. Daniel Luther and Jennifer Ung Loh, London, ZED Books, 2019.

Loo, Zihan. ‘Review: “xhe”: Caught Between a Square and an Octopus’, Arts Equator, 18 October, 2018.

Loo, Zihan. ‘I am Paying Attention’, Place.Labour.Capital: The Making of an Institution, edited by Ute Meta Bauer and Anca Rujoiu, Singapore, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore and Mousse Publishing, 2018, pp. 254 - 261.

Loo, Zihan. 'Book Review: “Retrospective: A Historiographical Aesthetic in Contemporary Singapore and Malaysia” by June Yap', Arts Equator, 11 January, 2018.

Loo, Zihan. ‘Within Ourselves: Starting Over’, 25 years of The Substation: Reflections on Singapore's first independent art centre, edited by Audrey Wong, Singapore, The Substation and Ethos Books, 2015, pp. 134 - 142.

Paradis Sans Promesse, edited by Loo Zihan, Carquefou, Frac des Pays de la Loire, 2015.

Loo, Zihan. 'Casting Stones' / '掷石', Drama Box eNewsletter, Volume 1, Issue 3, September 2012.

Loo, Zihan. ‘For Words’, Archiving Cane, 2012


Academic Texts

Si Xian, Lau. ‘Screening resistance: queering as a tactic in Singapore films 放映抵抗 :新加坡影片中的酷儿化战术’, MA Thesis Paper, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 2018.

Curtin, Brian. 'The Terms of Visibility: Between Queer and LGBT in Curating Art in “Asia”', On Curating: Queer Curating, Issue 37, 2018.

Hsu, Fang-Tze. 'Queering My Remembrance: A Conversation with Loo Zihan 酷異我的悼念:一段關於羅子涵藝術實踐的對話(註1)', No Man's Land, Issue 36, 5 February, 2018.

Yap, June. 'Retrospective: A Historiographical Aesthetic In Contemporary Singapore and Malaysia', Strategic Information and Research Development Centre, 2016.

Ho, Louis. 'Loo Zihan and the Body Confessional', Contemporary Arts as Political Practice in Singapore, Palgrave Macmillan, December 2016.

Wong, Melissa Wansin. 'Performing Singapore’s Queer Quandary: Walking the tightrope between sexual illegality and neoliberal-enabled subjectivity at Pink Dot and in Loo Zihan’s Cane', Queer Dramaturgies, Palgrave Macmillan, November 2015.

Ross, Oliver. 'Watching Solos in Singapore: Homosexuality, Surrealism and Queer Politics', Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, Issue 38, August 2015.

Tan, E.K. 'A queer journey home in Solos, Rethinking kinship in Sinophone Singapore', Queer Sinophone Cultures, Routledge, 2014.

Ho, Rui An. 'Making Live Again', Archiving Cane, December 2012.

Chan, Kenneth. 'Impossible Presence: Toward a Queer Singapore Cinema, 1990s-2000s', Queer Singapore: Illiberal Citizenship and Mediated Cultures, Hong Kong University Press, 2012.

Huang, Madeline. ‘A Study of Loo Zihan’s experimental film Solos and its reconstruction of the image of the Singaporean mother and the homosexual identity 罗子涵的实验性电影〈单〉对新加坡母亲与同志身份的重构’, BA Thesis Paper, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 2010.


Press Coverage and Other Texts

2019

Langenbach, Ray. ‘C(l)ocked: “Catamite” by Loo Zihan’, Arts Equator, 12 February, 2019.
Si Xian, Lau. ‘The Human Nature Embedded within Objects 物品蕴藏着的人性 —观“Catamite”’, Lianhe Zaobao, 9 February, 2019.
Nanda, Akshhita. ‘Catamite is an object lesson in history’, The Straits Times, 28 January, 2019.
Bakchormeeboy. ‘Catamite by Loo Zihan (Review)’, Bakchormeeboy.com, 27 January, 2019.

2018

Vincent, Simon. 'The Subversive Reenactor', The Naysayer's Book ClubEpigram Books, 2018.

2017

Yee, Marcus. 'Looking at Institutions Look at Themselves: NUS Museum & NTU CCA Singapore', Arts Equator, 17 May, 2017.
Martin, Mayo. 'Brother Cane is part of me', Channel NewsAsia, 7 May, 2017.
Tobin, Sean. 'Completely With: Remembering Paddy Chew, Reflecting on Loo Zihan', Arts Equator, 25 April, 2017.
Ng, Yi-Sheng. 'Review of ‘With/Out’: AIDS, Archives, Activism', Arts Equator, 20 April, 2017.
Ho, Olivia. 'Multimedia Magic', The Straits Times, 7 March, 2017.

2016

Tsui, Enid. 'Provocative shows at Singapore arts festival stretch boundaries of censorship', South China Morning Post, 20 September, 2016.
Yee, Marcus. 'Consider the Performer's Wig', Arts Equator, 27 August, 2016.
Yusof, Helmi. 'Radically Provocative Encounters', The Business Times, 26 August, 2016.
Ng, Yi-Sheng. 'I am LGB', SIFA Blog, 25 August, 2016.
Tan, Corrie. 'I am LGB', 20 August, 2016.
Nanda, Akshita. 'I am LGB is real escape game from Singapore', The Straits Times, 19 August, 2016.
Lee, Jian Xuan. 'Sex Objects Removed From Art Show', The Straits Times, 16 February, 2016.

2015

Martin, Mayo. 'Singapore Art: Top Picks for 2015', Today Online, 22 December, 2015.
Yusof, Helmi. 'A Journey of Self-Discovery Through Lindy Hop', The Business Times, 11 December, 2015.
Martin, Mayo. 'Art Review: President's Young Talents 2015', Today Online, 22 August, 2015.
Ui-Hoon, Cheah. 'Re-organising art museum's collection of 5,000 books', The Business Times, 21 August, 2015.
Shetty, Deepika. 'Dead Skin Collected for Art', The Straits Times, 19 August, 2015.
Vasko, Lydia. 'Barcelona, City of Tapas', The Sunday Times, 12 July, 2015.
Camps, Eudald. 'Loo Zihan, A Les Bernardes', 1 May, 2015.
Wong, Binghao. 'Slowness – A Response to Loo Zihan’s With/Out', Singaporepoetry.com, 26 March, 2015.
Tan, Corrie. 'Theatre review: With/Out pays a moving tribute to the late Paddy Chew', The Straits Times, 15 January, 2015.
Martin, Mayo. 'S’pore Fringe Fest 2015: The late Paddy Chew comes to life in With/Out', For Art's Sake, Today Online, 15 January, 2015.
Chia, Adeline. 'Late Vigil', Flying Inkpot Theatre Reviews, 14 January, 2015.
Koh, Jee Leong. 'Completely With/Out Character', Singaporepoetry.com, 5 January, 2015.
Martin, Mayo. 'Solo flight at the M1 S’pore Fringe Fest 2015', 4 January, 2015.
Boon Hau, Tan. 'Guardians of the Garden City', Art Republik, January 2015.

2014

Langenbach, Ray. 'Emancipatory Desires: What Do You Think Of ‘If The World Changed’?', Broadsheet 34.1, 2014.
Ting, Lisabel. 'Aids play about Singapore's first openly HIV-positive person to open M1 festival', The Straits Times, 21 October, 2014.
Martin, Mayo. 'Singapore Art: Top Picks for 2013', For Art's Sake', Today Online, 1 January, 2014.

2013

Wong, Marc. 'Significant Other', Art Republik, December 2013.
Ho, Louis. 'Ghost: The Body at the Turn of the Century', ArtAsiaPacific, December 2013.
Yusof, Helmi. 'The Best of 2013: Knock-out Contemporary Art Shows', The Business Times, 20 December, 2013.
Martin, Mayo. 'Visit Han Sai Por’s Black Forest, encounter Sculpture Square’s Ghost', For Art's Sake, Today Online, 19 December, 2013.
Martin, Mayo. 'S'pore Fringe Fest 2012! Cane! `Nuff said!' For Art's Sake, Today Online, 18 January, 2013.
Martin, Mayo. 'R.I.T.E.S.! Loo Zihan does a Josef Ng! And then some!' For Art's Sake, Today Online, 18 January, 2013

2012

Quek, Bruce. 'Real Meat', Archiving Cane, December 2012.
De Rozario, Tania. 'Interview: Loo Zihan', Time Out Singapore, 10 December 2012.
Phang, Yen. 'Of Memory and Power: “Archiving Cane” by Loo Zihan, at the Substation', 6 December, 2012.
Chia, Adeline. 'The Artistic Challenger', The Straits Times, 16 November 2012.
Taylor, Nora A. 'An Interview with Loo Zihan', DiAAAlogue, April 2012.
Teow, Yue Han. 'The (Digital) Future of Imagination?', First Quarter Notebook, 16 April, 2012.
Tan, Corrie. 'Smoking Exemption In Theatres Under Fire' The Straits Times, 2 March, 2012.
Chia, Adeline. 'Theatre Review: Cane Bound by Red Tape', The Straits Times, 21 February, 2012.
Tan, Corrie. 'Cane Re-enactment Draws Debate', The Straits Times, 16 February, 2012.
Wang, Yi-ming. '罗子涵在许可范围内创作 (Loo Zihan - Creating Within Boundaries)', Lianhe Zaobao, ZBnow, 2 February, 2012.
'Change Agent', August Man, February 2012.

Before 2012

Baran, Adam. 'Filmmaker and Part-time Go-Go Boy from Singapore has a new Boyfriend named Art', BUTT Magazine, 9 March, 2010.
Ng, How Wee. ‘当新加坡的大学生开始抗议 (Commentary: A University Student Protests)’, Lianhe Zaobao, 2 August, 2009.
‘Graduation Speech Became Protest’, AsiaOne Singapore, 24 July, 2009.
Chew, Boon Leong. '两栖三栖多栖 他们是 2.0时代艺术家 (Hybrid Artists: Version 2.0)’, Lianhe Zaobao, 14 July, 2009.
Ferber, Lawrence. ‘Silencing Singapore’, The Advocate, 4 June, 2009.
Chen Zi. ‘單刀直入 – 和羅子涵solo在都靈 (Interview with Loo Zihan in Turin)’, Fridae.com, 31 May, 2008.