White Noise

Kathy Anne Lim

2017 - 2020


There is a moment of blindness; sitting by the edge of a chlorinated swimming pool—the whir of an engine echoes across the walls of surrounding buildings reverberating through the estate. My vision becomes momentarily shrouded by a plume of smoke that snakes through the surrounding curated foliage; while the scent of a gaseous cocktail of chemistry fills the air. The fog becomes a temporary sculpture - suspending within city spaces, transforming the visual landscape into one of a haunting dystopian environment; the familiar becomes abstracted beyond recognition.

Guided by this initial encounter of sensory displacement induced by finding myself suspended in a fumigated space - I decided to chase these clouds and observe them take shape within other environments. I began photographing transitory areas where fumigations occur temporarily - accompanying teams of control specialists. Fumigations are commonplace in Singapore, a city set on the equator with a high population density. The country faces concerns with diseases transmittable by insects such as Dengue and Malaria using chemicals to keep them under control. This antagonism between the ominous cloud's presence and its departure within a commonplace habitat is what creates attention and attraction.

Elusive allure and its swift disappearance guided my reflections on the theatricalities of the clouds conjuring. It is when things disappear that I seek to preserve and covet it’s impermanence - even though it is too late. Humanity is plagued by fears of loss, finitude, and death and comforted by reminders of the lost, aware that something might persevere, at least in memory. Yet more excitingly, it speaks, also, of a state of flux, a future becoming. A pulse of imminent change is on the horizon, yet, the fog of uncertainty has yet to settle.

Technical Details:

Kodak Portra 400. Medium Format.

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  • Blue Suspended, Singapore 2017

  • Coridoor, Singapore 2020

  • False bird of paradise, Singapore 2020

  • Clearance, Singapore 2020

  • Ixora, Singapore 2020

  • Mist Permeating, Singapore 2020

  • Poolside, Singapore 2020

  • Curios, Singapore 2020

  • Palms, Singapore 2020

  • Wayside, Singapore 2020