Rafi Abdullah
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Manual for Clairvoyance

for the exhibition catalogue of
Resigning Mass (To New Entities) by Tristan Lim
with contributions by Studio Darius Ou and Rafi Abdullah

Images courtesy of Tristan Lim, I_S_L_A_N_D_S and Studio Darius Ou.

“Resigning Mass centres itself around a script compiled from conversational scenes found within various movies, forming a collaged conversation between two parties. This script becomes the material in which the project’s characters are literally and metaphorically shaped from, in their forms and lives.


A sense of loss pervades- a resignation of fate, present in the title of the show. As an aberration of the term ‘mass resignation’, which connotes departure, a seemingly collective choice to leave, Resigning Mass takes an opposing tone, of an individual giving into the path laid out, having been exhausted, overcomed; bringing to mind questions of fatalism and predeterminism. These qualities seem to reflect the manner in which media is produced, consumed, and how they shape the way in which we perceive our lives. Stories of destiny, succumbing to or freeing oneself from its binds; of staged realities, real/reel lives- wills toyed by powers beyond and unknown.”

For the full exhibition text and materials, visit:

For the full design documentation, visit:

Further information about the I_S_L_A_N_D_S platform:

I had the opportunity of developing together in conversation and collaboration with Tristan and Darius, the accompanying text for the catalogue that responded to the artist’s premise for the exhibition. The contributed writing pings disruptively between acting as a psuedo self-manual (for myself) for art appreciation, an automated and predictive string of phone text messages, and a short reflective foreword on the works presented. An excerpt:

“ [...] It is likely unintended by the artist, but the vectors seem to flirt with the dichotomy of being functional and non-functional. Some appear to bear resemblance to mecha parts (think boxy robotic forearms or weapon systems) and sporting equipment (think shoulder pads and shin guards). While others, resist any links to function, going as far as to looking like a snack (bearing a likeness to crystal clear candies and slabs of spam). The presence of a set of hovering glossy black (and also white in another iteration) latex-like gloves and shoes — rendered comically perhaps to mimic the goofy TM and exaggerated proportions commonly stylised by animators in cartoon drawings — seem to further anchor the idea for viewers to perceive the apparitions in the work as a body bound entity.

But you know what the funniest thing about Europe is?
I | can’t | wait | to | see | what | I | have | done. |

I | have | no | problem | and | at | least | you | have | a | chance… |

“Your complicated, layered, and somewhat traumatic lived experiences and environment will get in the way of your meaning-making. Isms and schisms. Avoid holding everything and everyone accountable for remedying them. Lightning comes before thunder. Seeing comes before meaning. Seeing does not always need to be mediated with a process of understanding what you see.”

Upon closer inspection, one can also begin to make out and make sense of the textures that wrap the skins of the floating vectors. Stray eyes and noses, clothing, skins, and a car tail light, are amongst the makeup of the scenes embedded onto the skins of the vectors. In the process of building the avatar, the artist had culled seemingly ordinary scenes — coincidentally always taking place either in cars or by the streets – from various films and compiled them into an entirely new script. This script then, or rather its RGB levels translated formation to be particular, becomes the parameters from which the characters are modelled and conjured. When probed, Tristan had shared that the scenes were selected at random, but I suspect that there was an underlying intuition HM that guided the selections, as some common themes crop up when one scrutinises them: ideas around resignation, having character or the lack thereof, and reason/rationale [...] ”

For a physical copy of the catalogue, visit: