Oiled Hinges: Sounds and Silences in Documentary Films of Social Change
This chapter focuses on the work of documentary filmmaker Tan Pin Pin, who indicates hinges of history that come from changes of consciousness. The Impossibility of Knowing uses seven sites where crimes occurred or accidents happened, picturing after-effects beyond the frame. Invisible City finds collectors whose efforts to capture history, before it disappears, are doomed to evanescence. In Time to Come, details of city life accumulate, and time capsules are unearthed and prepared. Singapore Gaga plays with the dialectics not just of sight and sound, but also with order and disorder. To Singapore, with Love is composed of twenty sequential clips like a music score, intertwining and overlapping five melodic themes: how in games of politics players and pawns are silenced or moved off the board; the cultivation of forms of life and character; diasporic socialities and temporalities; anxieties of influence, historical erasures, and history's repetitions; and Faustian bargains.