Singapore Diary - Celluloid Void: The Lost Films of Southeast Asia at the National Library

The National Library Board in Singapore was establised in 1995, but its origins date back to the 1820s when Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of modern Singapore, proposed the idea of establishing a public library. The current National Library Building is the headquarters of the National Library Board, and can be found on Victoria Street, its location since 2005.

During my taxi rides across the city, I noticed ads for exhbitions at library. When I visited the website, the first exhibition I found listed was titled "Celluloid Void: The Lost Films of Southeast Asia" which made me want to visit right away.

The library also made me think of what kind of programming and exhibitions will the upcoming Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Library host. After visiting Singapore's National Library, I have huge expectations for the one that will open in Dubai, and I hope and pray they it will give importance to archival material.

Needles to say, I loved the Celluloid Void exhibition and would've been happy if it was an even bigger exhibition.  Made me wonder how many unknown or lost films are there from the the Middle East.

The exhibition was organised by the Asian Film Archive is is part of the National Library.

'CELLULOID VOID: The Lost Films of Southeast Asia' invites audiences to re-acquaint and re-engage with eight Southeast Asian films that have been lost through the passage of time.

Featuring important films from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, the exhibition highlights the cultural value and historical context of these works, and presents their remnants through archival materials.

By reawakening the public consciousness to these lost films, this exhibition emphasises the importance of film preservation and bridges the cognitive gap created by the void in the celluloid. More than just awakening nostalgia, audiences have the opportunity to evoke their imagination and initiate re-interpretations from the available fragments of the films.

The damage to the films may be irreparable, but that which can be imagined need never be lost.

Here are photos I took: