Go to the nearest MRT station at a time when you are not in a rush to get anywhere and count the number of times you see the word ‘please’ appear.
One thread that runs through my practice is the exploration of alternative ways of reading. In looking for the word ‘please’ in an MRT station—a place in which we are surrounded by instructions and directions—we come to notice the tone and syntax of otherwise mundane texts; whether they politely request or outrightly command. This gesture thus functions as a simple literary analysis enacted upon our everyday environment.
MRT stations are utilitarian, transitory spaces—somewhere that most of us must pass through in order to get somewhere else—and they are also communal ones, that have to be used and regulated as such. Therefore, they are filled with texts that guide our responsible interactions with our physical surroundings and with our fellow commuters. These texts appear on signs, posters, stickers, banners, screens; they could be permanent or temporary, illustrated or plain, proactively designed or reactively inserted. My instruction imagines each MRT station as a ‘book’ to be ‘read’ by the participant, who, in searching for one word, must stop to read them all.