Miss Q

shown at Supernormal, 2020

Review by Ang Kia Yee

Miss Q stems from a speculative fiction piece Denise Yap is writing about alternative kinships. In this future, relationships and support structures are more web-like than vertical, and gender fluidity is accepted, unremarkable. She thought: the national flower should reflect this.

(Top) Installation View of Miss Q  at Supernormal, 2020

Here, the orchid is re-germinated as a set of monitors, each standing in for a petal. The monitors present a moving technological membrane, a vision of a living interior. Skin and flesh are bypassed, moulted, leaving a core that has no clear beginning or end. Botany is queered to queer the future; biology is hijacked by a rising desire to choose, to live on one’s own terms

Closeup view of the bottom left moniter

Video played on the ipads

What facilitates this evolutionary recalibration is technology, modulated in Miss Q through screens. Their flattened planes come up against the depth of the membrane, (re)producing a tension between surface and substance, conveying the embodied sensation of being gender-nonconforming.

The eugenic policies that shaped Singapore’s population are inevitably recalled, especially since the choice of Vanda Miss Joaquim explicitly situates Miss Q within national narratives of nationhood and collective identity. By co-opting the national flower for queer action, it moves past tired, cynical critique into models for the future that reintroduce optimism into everyday affect. Like the turn in literature from eco-dystopias to hopepunk and solarpunk, Miss Q quietly soothes fears of technological prisons with visions of technology used to reinvent, transform and empower the future.

Projected on vinyl sticker