meta-public; an anxiety

bookmarks and bookmarks and bookmarks of going, marking, go to, going to bookmarks of yesterday and the libraries you, recall, submerged in time stamps and checkpoints, you of yesterday, forgetting, forgotten, hunched without, refocusing, recalling those bookmarks of bookmarks in bookmarks and there, metadata, more data, without punctuations, a punctuating, puncturing a, puncture poverty, feed us information, of information (does iTown dream of digital apples?) and mouths wide open, browsing through, browsing, brown nosing gods of information, bookmarks are joss sticks to the omnimath machine, pray, never in pain, never remorse, never negate, never again would we disobey the stranger with our names, bold, underlined, hyperlinked, pink or blue, Helvetica in scriptures, ingrained, incessant and intimate, our love for prosthetics, digital plastics, lubricated and bookmarks and bookmarks and bookmarks of memories jolts us back in frame. here. what are you listening to? here. lolcat got my tongue. here. bookmarks our best friends. here. memories feeding the economy of repetition, of repetition, of bookmarks and bookmarks and here, and repetition there, here, stop creeping me out, here, with braintag encryption guard your brain, encrypt the tomes of your being, fencing the woulds and the shoulds where the could haves are stashed away, incognito amidst the bland yet harrowing tunnels of impropaganda, stop, scaremonger you, stop, here, Smart universe another silo and limitless to you is limited to me, us, we who then feed the economy of repetition, of repetition, of precipitation of bits and bits and bobs of things of details you've sewn on our curtains of imagination, hah! beyond it no window, never windowed the hauntings of tomorrow, excess, excess in the absence of filters, it makes, here, abscess, here, now, data, big data, inflating as we speak, the illustrious spectre of capital omnipotent, we, really? we, no, maybe, really are, bookmarks of bookmarks of bookmarks in the grand narrative of the things we'll never learn, the things we'll never see and the things we hope to do re mi, for so far and inasmuch as we should resist any (veiled?) oppressing structures, developing self-initiated floodgates (temporary autonomous schools?) as a strategy to educate ourselves amidst an economy of bookmarks and bookmarks and bookmarks of human desires and beliefs, that there, yes, is the bread and butter of our sociopolitical survivalism, of which without addressing invisible potential anxieties, insecurities, we'll be back in depression before war begins.


  • Bani Haykal is an artist and musician whose work encompasses several disciplines including installation and performance. His interest lies at the intersection of political economy, music and speculative fiction.

    Working with a broad range of instruments, from acoustic to digital, traditional and hacked, his projects revolve around modes of interfacing and interaction.

    He has presented works at Aomori Contemporary Art Centre, Aomori (2014); Silverlens, Singapore (2014); and Point Ephemere, Paris (2015). He has also participated in festivals including Media/Art Kitchen (2013); Liquid Architecture (2014); and RRREC FEST (2014).

    He was a recipient of the Young Artists' Award (2013) and was among the 2015 President's Young Talents selected by the Singapore Art Museum for its mentoring and commissioning exhibition.


    necropolis for those without sleep (Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 2015)

    An installation consisting of two robots playing a game of chess. The chess game has been modified where the White team has only two pawns, a king, a queen and double of everything else, and an Orange team consisting of a king, a knight and the rest pawns.

    "The Americans have colonised our subconscious" (Silverlens, Singapore, 2014)

    The title is taken from a line off Wim Wenders' film Kings of the Road. The work is a 50 string instrument tuned haphazardly and is presented as a diptych.

    Dormant Music (Platform3, Bandung, 2013)

    This set of instruments which includes a reshaped bicycle, an electric guitar and PVC pipes was created during a residency programme at Platform3, Bandung, under The Art Incubator programme. The instruments challenged the idea of music making and modes of listening / playing.

    •For more, go to banihaykal.

    •The poem in the Rhyme And Reason series is brought to you in partnership with the National Arts Council.


  • Poet's note: By considering the public as a form of expanded resource, the text muses on big data surrounding the sharing economy. Amidst burgeoning visions of smart cities, where the line between labour and citizen responsibility is blurred, the text gestures towards the anxieties of being "bookmarked" for access to information as an imposed default.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2016, with the headline 'meta-public; an anxiety'. Print Edition | Subscribe