interview#15: Darren Sim

Darren is currently teaching music in a Singapore school. He enjoys playing all sorts of instruments he can get his hands on, learning them by himself and enjoying the sounds they produce. He is currently learning the Indian Sarod.

Apart from photography, the 31 year old science fiction nut enjoys listening to music, cosying up with a good book with compulsory couch-potatoing, movies and ‘DVDs’. Darren refuses to go to the gym but runs and swims short distances. He has recently taken up tennis and ‘dry swimming’ and goes on a once in a blue moon scuba trip.

RAP spoke to the sci-fi fan on his first solo show Send in the Clones.

Question(Q): Tell us more about the series of work!

Darren Sim(Darren): This series began life really by accident. I had lamented that I purchased a macro lens and it had been lying around unused (I had little patience for uncooperative insects and was slightly bored with flowers and well, dead bugs). So one day, as I was playing with my toys, I thought to myself, ‘why not?’. And the series was born.

The series is a constant exercise in experimentation. Some scenes worked whilst others didn’t. At the moment, I try to capture the daily lives (and shananigans) of the troopers. We always see or think of them in military settings. They are essentially human, they must have a private life of some sort – be it colonic irrigation, ups and downs, love..

The others are parodies of famous scenes from the Star Wars canon, and others parodies of famous art works, something which I’ve just only started.

Q: Do you think the idea being applies to the LGBT community? it’s interesting to use characters from popular culture that does not have anything to do with LGBT to comment something regarding the community itself.

Darren: Our community is quite diverse. And like any human community we reflect our ancient tribal instincts in the ways we group ourselves. I was initially blind to this. But it was in Australia that I first learnt and experienced discrimination.. and first and foremost from people in the LGBT community! The irony!

But rather than seeing the members of subgroups becoming clones of each other, I started seeing things the other way – that like it or not, we are the same. We have the same needs, wants, fears, insecurities, the same need for happiness. The more we try to be different, the more the similarities are apparent. We are in fact, clones.

Q: Is photography your full-time-job? tell us more about your practice.

Darren: I’m actually a Music teacher by training and have been teaching for about seven years. Things might change but Photography remains a hobby for me. I’ve been asked to do events but those were too tiring! I’ve got a lot of respect for photographers who do weddings, graduations and other events.. it’s really tough work!

I started with travel photography. I loved capturing the moment – the mood, atmosphere, the emotion of that moment in time. But travel is expensive! From there, I discovered a penchant for taking photos of food and of course – people!

However, it is with this series that I’ve almost become addicted. I’m constantly thinking of the next shot, the setup, the props. Perhaps it reflects my mental state at this point in my life. There’s a sense of control in Toy photography – the lighting, the tools, the backgrounds etc.. every element can be controlled. Yet, in life (and particularly mine) there seems to be none of that.

Q: How do you feel towards the LGBT art scene in local creative industry?

Darren: There is a presence of course. In any society, even under control and suppression, Art will always find a way to ‘come out’, to comment, to express that which is current. It is a natural function/process. I do not think that there is a need to highlight it. Art is Art, and it will stand the test of time whether it was done by a straight, gay or transgendered person.

Q: Any future projects or exhibition to share?

Darren: At the moment no, but there is discussion of a second exhibition at DYMK. Fingers crossed!

Q: Any last words for the LGBT community?

Darren: We can rule the world, but be careful what you wish for.

Send in the Clones runs from 14 January to 13 February 2011 at DYMK. Check out more here.

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