Time was spent in the neighbourhood, hanging out in the void deck with residents, building on conversations, and getting to know each other. With some familiarity and trust, the team were able to touch on more delicate topics, on the rhythms of life in their block, where they are in their lives right now, and their thoughts on the last chapter of their lives.
The team were also mindful that there were residents who were not ready to have conversations on end-of-life issues, not with their family members, but perhaps they could start by talking to someone neutral such as themselves.
It was decided to use the form of portrait-taking to allow them to embed these conversations. There were moments where residents shared some sobering sentiments, about their anxieties about loved ones leaving them, or the ones where they will one day leave. Other anxieties were shared by some of the residents who are by themselves, without any support of family networks.
The actual portrait photos were processed and enlarged to various sizes, put into photo frames and presented to the residents. It was a lovely moment to share these with the residents and to take in their reactions looking upon themselves, pondering on what was captured, what is expressed within the frame – some were surprised, a handful very pleased.
These portrait photos are for the residents to share with whoever they choose or to even keep personal, confidential for themselves, for now.
The team deliberately did not show the actual portrait photos in the final video artwork for the public, and instead focused on the moments before and after the shutter clicks – as to maintain that privacy. Visitors could also wonder which expression the portrait-sitters might have chosen and what they/you (the visitor) might choose for their portrait.
Watch this video on the creation process, together with other artworks in the public art installation.