Karaoke enthusiasts and complain kings/queens rejoice! (It’s fine, everyone complains at some point. Just own it.) Jack Tan, a London-based Singaporean artist, has created a space where Singaporeans are invited to settle their disputes through a karaoke contest.
Yes, you read right. A karaoke contest. (In true Singaporean spirit, he mashed two of our favourite pastimes together – karaoke and complaining. Go Jack!)
Karaoke Court, which will take place in September at Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) (the curatorial division of LASALLE College of the Arts), is part of the artist’s first major solo exhibition, ‘How to do things with rules’. Inspired by the Arctic Eskimo and Inuit tradition of Song Duels, participants in Karaoke Court resolve their cases by singing karaoke in front of an audience who will then decide who wins. (The jury system does not exist in Singapore’s judiciary.)
The processes and decision of the Karaoke Court are made legally binding through the participants’ signing of an arbitration contract.
In the days leading up to Karaoke Court, the Earl Lu Gallery at ICA Singapore will be transformed into a Clerk’s office where litigants may file their cases and read up books containing information about singing and law. To be completely prepared, participants will be given singing lessons and will wear costumes and accessories designed by Fashion Design & Textiles students of LASALLE.
But why? Why sing our troubles?
“We usually perceive litigation as a negative experience – one which corrodes relationships and goodwill, one which divides rather than unites. Karaoke Court turns that on its head. It is constructive, not destructive; through humour and performance, it encourages cohesion,” said Tan, who will play the role of the Clerk.
While we can’t say for sure if a singing lawsuit really brings about cohesion, you have to admit that it would definitely sound nicer:
‘How to do things with rules’ runs from Sat 15 Aug – Tue 29 Sep at Earl Lu Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore