Charles LIM

  • 〈SEA STATE SIX〉, 2015, Video, sound, 8min58sec, Courtesy of the artist

  • 〈SEA STATE SIX〉, 2015, Video, sound, 8min58sec, Courtesy of the artist

  • 〈Alpha 3.9: silent clap of the status quo〉, 2016, Video, 2hr26min30sec, Courtesy of the artist and the ASEAN Cableship.



Singapore continues to grow, both above and under the sea.
The Jurong Rock Caverns is Southeast Asia’s first underground liquid hydrocarbon storage facility. Located at a depth of 130 metres beneath the Banyan Basin on Jurong Island, the Caverns will provide infrastructural support to the petrochemical industry that operates on Singapore’s Jurong Island, a cluster of islets reclaimed into one major island and connected to the mainland in the 1980s. When fully operational in 2015, Phase 1 of the caverns will hold some 1.47 million cubic metres of oil storage tanks. This is about the size of 600 Olympic swimming pools. The volume of undersea rocks excavated from Phase 1 equals 1.8 million cubic metres, enough to fill 1,400 Olympic swimming pools. The work SEA STATE, which exists as the frontier of a climatic and ecological complex, takes us to places that were until recently only a thing of oneiric theory (related to dreaming). This work was first exhibited at the Singapore Pavilion of the Venice Biennale in 2015.

Alpha 3.9: silent clap of the status quo


Within our cultural imagination, the sea has been endlessly depicted as unoccupiable — commonly expressed through the phrase “high seas” — a zone that is thought to be free from the control of any individual nation or state. Article 112 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea states that All States are entitled to lay submarine cables on bed of high seas. Thus 99% of the world’s internet and international communications runs through cables laid at the bottom of oceans and seas. Deep within the archives of the various parties involved in these endeavours sits a collection of inspection videos of cables covering the length of these networks.

About the Artist

Charles Lim's SEA STATE project examines the political and biophysical contours of the nation state, through the visible and invisible lenses of the sea. A former professional sailor, Lim works across several media including photography, film and video, drawing on extensive research into maritime environments and histories. SEA STATE has been exhibited at leading institutions in Singapore, France and the Netherlands, at biennales in Shanghai, Osaka and Sydney, the EVA International, Ireland and the Aichi Triennale, Japan. In 2015, Lim represented Singapore at the 56th Venice Biennale.