Image courtesy of National Archives of Singapore
Plan of Singapore Town and Adjoining Districts from Actual Survey by John Turnbull Thomson (1846)
A map show a subjective perception of the environment; it reflects upon the priorities of the mapmaker and the institution that endorses him. This map shows the area surrounding the early colonial settlement town in Singapore, depicting the town demarcation, the surrounding terrain and land uses in the form of plantations, notable residences, villages and landmarks such as burial sites. This map is one of the earliest detailed survey of Singapore. During the British colonisation of Singapore, surveyors visualised and quantified the land, colonisation also brought about a period intensified urbanisation.
Presently, this map is used by as part of the printed image on the interior of the outdoor structure of Infectious Collaborations outdoor installation at Jurong Lake Gardens. In the process of appropriating the map, artist Zen Teh cropped and featured certain sections such as the town areas with its built features, as well as natural vegetation such as swamps and primary forests. The graphic language and textures of the legend that represents contrasting urban and natural typologies are retained. It is then juxtaposed against photographs of primary forests in the region of Southeast Asia.