‘I answer people’s questions about directions. They always ask about the toilet.’ – Lim Poh Huat
Lim Poh Huat has worked as a security guard for almost 30 years. He is single, lives with his mother, and doesn’t aspire to be anything more than who he already is.
He is also a part time calefare and has acted in every role imaginable - from perverts to policemen, lawyers and even pontianaks. Although he has never hitched a major role, he simply enjoys being a part of the production. With his years of experience, he has even published his own book titled ‘Confessions of a Struggling Actor.’
So tell me, viewer, what do you see? Is Lim Poh Huat someone whose face emanates melancholic emptiness, a sad tinge of loneliness? Or is he comedic, quite a character, and someone intriguing to you?
At which point do we stare so hard at a blank canvas that we start to create stories out of things? Do we become blinder the more we try to make sense of things?
This ‘Gaze’ is of interest as it unravels various aspects of our human condition. As he tries to find his place in society, we are too, trying to negotiate where he stands in our perception of society. The camera is our gaze, allowing us to put Lim Poh Huat under a microscope, under surveillance.
‘The observer and the observed take part in a ceaseless exchange. No gaze is stable … the spectator and the model, reverse their roles to infinity.’ - Michel Foucault
With this, we have to ask -
Who is it that holds the power of judgement over the other?
This video was created for Noise's The Apprenticeship Program 2015. It was presented at DECK as a video art installation piece on two channel video with mirrors.
In a speculative future, those who have grown old will enter palliative institutions only to wait out the natural course of death. White like the skins of those who are dying, hospital walls become canvases for memory, producing a quiet longing for a past that connects the amnesiac elderly with their young caregivers.