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Boedi Widjaja A Tree 记因 基亿 2021 Image by Rob Battersby Installation view at FACT WEB RES

A Tree+++ 记因・基亿 (2021)

Influenced by these early experiences of transmigration through different cultures and societies - and separation from his family, Widjaja creates visual poetry and objects to reveal what language and words cannot; drawing on his experience of multiple migrations, and the impact this has on notions of lineage, heritage and communication.

Where language fails, Widjaja combines science and art to express his genetic heritage and familial past. Collaborating with a geneticist, he took the DNA code for his own Y-chromosome and combined it with the DNA of a Chinese parasol tree - Widjaja’s grandfather’s namesake - and added a poetic text. In 2019, he added this hybrid DNA - a merging of person, plant and poetry - to soil from a hill in Singapore that looked towards Java, Indonesia to make A tree talks, a tree walks‭ ‬踙‘’语〕嗌薽径 (soil).

Widjaja often titles his works in both English and Chinese, representing the languages of his ancestral and current home, neither of which are his first language. The flags in A Tree+++‭ ‬记孻〕哢亿, combine Morse code and Chinese telegraph code to create a new, playful way of communicating. Whilst navigating across many means of communication can be disorientating, two squares on the floor beneath the flags ground the work to the cardinal points we universally use: North, East, South and West. Through these physical objects, Widjaja reclaims space and land for his voice, work and identity to exist.

Courtesy of the artist. Developed from Path. 10, A tree talks, a tree walks commissioned by Temenggong Artists-in-Residence. Supported by the National Arts Council Singapore.