Hello Tolla, thanks for joining us again. Angles of Incidence has just launched in London so we wanted to ask you about the differences in the two sites and some of the practicalities of the project.

Q: How did the artists create a site-specific work for two sites?

A: Good question. Just a re-cap. Site-specific, in an art context, means art created to exist in a certain place. As a result the artist takes the location into account while planning and creating the artwork.

In this case we invited the artists to respond to the Kapok Tree site at Singapore Botanic Gardens; its topography, its heritage and its importance to the community. Randy and Philippa’s proposal worked in harmony with the site, whilst raising interesting questions and linking the work to the site’s use by the community. Subsequently, they were invited to London to develop the concept further and incorporate responses to Inner Temple Gardens. The family of reflective elements which make up Angles of Incidence include elements inspired by each site and elements that were created to respond to both sites. As a result, the artists have achieved a remarkable feat and created a multi-site specific work. The three images below show the development of the work.

Angles of Incidence, architects' render [2013]. (C) Randy Chan and Philippa LawrenceArchitect’s render of the pod which came out of the artists investigations at the Kapok Tree – the artists found a crystal bead near the site which is used by newly engaged or married couples to photograph and celebrate their union. It has served this purpose since the 1950s when the parties to an arranged marriage met here. © Randy Chan and Philippa Lawrence

Chard_C_Model_2 (2) Model of shard C with Swarovski crystal portals created by Philippa Lawrence and couriered to Randy in Singapore. These shard-like elements were added after the artists visited Inner Temple Gardens.


Randy Chan and Philippa Lawrence: Angles of Incidence, Singapore Botanic Gardens

Randy Chan and Philippa Lawrence: Angles of Incidence, Singapore Botanic Gardens

The ramp was created after their visit to London and worked differently in both sites. In Singapore the ramp acted as an invitation to walk up and meet the Kapok Tree from this new perspective. In London the ramp allows you to see over the boundary of the Inner Temple garden to the river beyond and consider the boundary between public and private space.

There is  a lot more that can be said about the development of the work over the 6 months via Skype and email. We will explore this in more detail with the artists  in the upcoming publication. For the moment, I will leave you with Philippa’s words – “the installation is a response to site visits in London and Singapore, conversations between Randy and myself and is a response to two cities, two sites and the broader notion of the importance and significance of the ‘garden’.”

Q: How did the artists collaborate with Swarovski?

A: As mentioned the artists had the crystal shaped pod in their early concept as it reflected the use of the Singapore site and added a playful interactive element to the installation. The artists were able to develop the link with crystalline structures and with the play of light, by collaborating with Swarovski crystals. Each crystal has been added with a view to where the light enters the site to act as a portal to capture it. As Philippa describes so beautifully – “Crystal subtly amplifies light, beauty, charm and creates magic across the ‘site’. The crystals draw attention to the unseen, to the microcosm; they echo our starting point of the found bead under the bandstand, which drew Randy and I together on our first meeting. Personifying beauty, they fascinate and offer a glimpse into ‘another dimension’.”

London crystals

Q: What are the practical challenges of producing a work on this scale at two different sites?

A: One of the key issues is creating a work that can be dismantled and shipped with a view to keeping shipping costs down. Randy cleverly divided the large ramp into four sections that could be dismantled and re-built at each site. Similarly, the pod, was created in two parts and bolted together during the installation process. We actually rather liked the pod in two halves, almost as a seed pod had split in two as it fell from the tree.


The second important issue with public site-specific work is safety. The ramp was originally planned as an organic object rising out of the ground with rhizhomic elements – you can see it in its pure form in the image above. During the install it became clear that the ramp would need a safety railing to ensure that children and adults alike could interact with the work as planned. Randy dealt with this issue on site, swiftly drawing up a railing that worked with the design aesthetically whilst also meeting safety standards.

Randy - health and safety

Q: How has the response from the public differed in Singapore and in London?

A: Children in both countries have seen it as playful and have immediately used their imagination to create camps, ramps and hide and seek games around it. Adults have used it to capture reflections of iconic structures nearby; in Singapore – the bandstand and in London – Big Ben and the London Eye. Many visitors in Singapore used the ramp to see the Kapok Tree and the crystal portals to create reflections and refractions. I overheard a mother and daughter in London saying “it is like walking on the clouds and the sky as they are reflected in the ramp”.  In Singapore we saw couples moving from the band stand to Angles of Incidence for their wedding photos thereby giving a temporary installation a permanent place in their memories. It is early days in London so we await more photo responses to the work.

Instagram wedding shoot Singapore

Singapore Botanic Gardens, wedding photoshoot at Angles of Incidence

Homage to a tree Singapore

Thanks Tolla!