Story 10

Tabula Rasa Eraser

The ‘Tabula Rasa Eraser’ is a conceptual piece by Spatial Anatomy that seeks to epitomise the condition of Singapore as a reccuring blank slate that forms the raison d’etre of the nation’s existence. This complex and contentious condition assumes the form of an unassuming eraser so commonplace, just like condition itself. 

The notion of ‘tabula rasa’, which is a latin term that translates literally to a ‘scraped tablet’, has been referenced in many contexts across the ages from epistemology to psychology. Here, tabula rasa refers to a landform whose psychogeography is constantly cleared and overwritten/rewritten to receive new plans and agendas, such that it ultimately retains no memory of its past selves to result in a net ‘clean’ slate. The tabula rasa of the shoreline is merely an instance of a phenomenon that plays out at a national scale.

The ‘tabula rasa eraser’ then embodies the act of ‘reseting’ the landform to the state of tabula rasa, and raises many uncomfortable questions - Who should have the authority to use the Eraser? What should be erased? What should be kept? These questions have no decisive answers and only yield more questions, all of which will continue to confront us as we grapple with its implications. Meanwhile, the Tabula Rasa eraser erases away, reminding us of all that we must forget in order to move ahead.