The tropics exist as a dreamy respite from “real” life ...for some people. But it’s not a holiday for the 3.2 billion people who live in the tropical zone. White-made media reinforces a racialized, exotic vacation trope, training their cameras on and constructing sets with gangly palm trees, pristine beaches, glistening oceans, and deferential Pacific Islanders, Asians, Caribbean, and/or Indigenous peoples. This is the cherry-picked, colonialist view of tropical lands, which are presented as escapist fantasies and prizes for white Americans and Europeans.
Singaporean artist Charles Lim’s ‘sea states’ series investigates his country’s ongoing geographic expansion into the surrounding seas.
Here, space is in constant flux but never infinite. SEA STATE 6 ventures 130 metres into deep sea to explore Southeast Asia’s first underground liquid hydrocarbon storage facility, the Jurong Rock Caverns. As a former Olympic sailor, Lim’s camera reveals an intimacy with water and a simultaneous awareness of its all-consuming enormity.