Projek 555

Small observations of an on-going pandemic 

16 August 2022 - 29 January 2023 (Level 3) 

In collaboration with Malaysia Design Archive. Booklet reproduction support from Ana Tomy.

Projek 555 is a collection of everyday observations and reflections in the form of a mini visual diary. At the end of 2020, and again in 2021, Malaysia Design Archive issued an open invitation where for a month, anyone who wanted to participate would receive a 555 notebook by mail to journal whatever they liked, however way they chose to. The idea was to create a space for pause, contemplation and connection through distance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a rare moment where we are all experiencing the same thing, in hugely different, yet resonant ways. These notebooks become part time capsule, part living archive — a space for the everyday observation to be part of defining what a year is. Diaries are often private objects, a quiet space for unspooling a day. When done with the intentionality of being seen by others, they occupy a liminal space that moves between a witnessing of personal observations by the self, and also by the larger, unknown public, creating an expansive space for entanglement between them. Each 555 notebook returned is different — some holding space for raw emotions, some filled with silences, some littered with fragments of mundanity and significance. This exhibition invites you to step into this space of shared intimacy and collective memory-making.

The 555 notebooks are a remake by ana tomy of the familiar pastel-coloured tiny notebooks that sat as common fixtures in sundry shops, recording everyday transactions and often standing in as an artefact of trust between the shopkeeper and their customers in the form of IOUs. They feel like the perfect vehicle for this project.