这几年的活动，我们接受很多参与者的意见，作出不少的改变和调整。为了让学生可以参与活动，我们把年龄限制调整至13岁；为了让活动容纳更多的内容，我们也接受手机拍摄的影像、增加了摄影组照 (Eye Essays) 和年度挑战 (Eye Challenge)。
此外，我们还要感谢以各种方式协助我们的个人、公司与单位，尤其是新加坡知新馆(Singapore Discovery Centre)协办与支持今年的展览。
A Perseverance of Nine Years
Ang Chong Leong
Beginning and Development
I am neither a photographer nor an intellectual. By coincidence in 2003, I got to know “Eye é City”. The demolition of many historical and culturally-rich buildings and sites coupled with the social changes happening at that time moved me to pick up my compact camera to capture a moment of the city. In 2004, together with Mr Lee Chee Ming, I took over the reins of organising the annual year-end event which started in 2002, after the previous organisers decided not to continue. Since then, joined by more organising team members and with strong support from volunteers, corporate sponsors and the public, we managed to carry on the annual year end activity through the years.
As the previous organisers were mainly from the arts and literary circle, the focus was on preserving history and culture. After taking over, the organising team was made up largely by people with close connection to the community as well as amateur photographers. More emphasis was placed on expressing care and concern on social issues. In the meantime, we faced much criticism from professional photographers on our photos’ representation as well as our continuous dilemma to balance between participants’ write-ups, content and technical skills of the photos. Despite these, we persevered year after year,
persisting with photo-taking in the last 24 hours of each year not turning the movement into a competition by giving away prizes and establishing specific themes. However, for the past years, we have also accepted suggestions from participants and made many changes. These include lowering the age criteria to 13 years old to allow more student participation; accepting photos taken by mobile phones; and introducing Eye essays as well as Eye Challenge to enhance greater photo content.
Eye é City is a social-cultural movement
Many also suggested giving away prizes, allowing online photo submission as well as setting themes to help attract certain corporate sponsorships, in the hope to increase participants and photo images in the fastest and easiest manner. However, we feel that Eye é City is a community movement. The relationship, communication and understanding between people are important part of the movement. Participants are encouraged to be involved personally from the point of registration to selecting their final photos and in the process share their experiences and the stories behind their photos with our facilitators and volunteers. Through such interaction and discussion, participants sometimes not only strengthen their ties with their family and friends, but also develop a greater awareness of their surroundings and society.
Eye é City does not advocate any specific culture, values and beliefs, or comment on their negativity or positivity. We emphasize both diversity and inclusion of society. Selected photos represent the participants’ collective memories for that year. Unselected photos do not mean they are unimportant or of no memory values. It is simply due to the limitations of exhibition and publication space that choices have to be made. We believe that all photos hold personal values to its owners. Due to the differences in life experience and background, different individuals may view and react differently to each photo. Yet, the memories that it evokes cannot be measured in monetary terms or numbers.
As such, Eye é City is indeed a social-cultural movement. We hope the annual activity will encourage and motivate more discussions and exchanges on our memories, we can enhance interaction and communication between people as well as show concerns for this city we live in. We envision Eye é City to be a platform for participants to share their ideas, thoughts and motivations freely based on mutual respect and equality and in their own way, contribute to Singapore’s social-cultural diversity.
Gathering Strength for 2010
Some say the uniqueness of Eye é City is in its fluid nature and unpredictability. As there is no specific themes, often times, we are not able to determine the dynamism of the photo collections till after the photo selection. The collection for a particular year represents the collective memory of participants for that said year. In this world of absolutes, it is unsettling for some sponsors seeking specific projects that can meet their contribution objectives and purposes. To many, there is no tangible returns in nurturing social-cultural values. However, the paradox of the situation is that funds are still required to run our activities. Due to a lack of volunteers able to solicit sponsorship, we sought donations from participants this year, who generously helped to raise $1,418.50. Together with other solicited donations in cash and kind, we managed to pull through to completion. We wish to thank all contributors, whether individuals or organisations who has helped us in their own way this year, in particular, Singapore Discovery Centre for co-organising and supporting the 2010 exhibition.
Social trends and technological developments have had a huge impact on the organization of Eye é City. In the past, film cameras used to take precedence. But nowadays, digital cameras make it so easy for everyone to snap their desired image without hesitation. Back then, when e-book and the social network were not so popular, book publications and exhibitions were the main outreach medium for images. Even the term “collective memories” was virtually non-existent when the movement first started. Today, motivated by commercial and political interests, collective memories have been pushed into the social limelight. Public and private organisations alike are scrambling to gather everyone’s memories. Recently, media, cyber space and even politicians were abuzz with the moving of the railway station, making it the focus of the city.
It is definitely challenging for Eye é City to avoid the superficial and to develop a deeper cultural and spiritual understanding of collective memories in this new landscape of vigorous new media development and increased commercial involvement and political activity.
Translated by Karen Kan & Tan Siang Bee
extracted from "Eye é City -- A Visual Account of the Last 24 hours of 2010", Eye é City, October 2011, pp 8-9.