Zarina Muhammad


Moving Earth, Crossing Water, Eating Soil, 2022

Singapore Biennale 2022 Commission

Moving Earth, Crossing Water, Eating Soil is an audio-visual-tactile installation and a series of performances and activations presented throughout the period of the Biennale. The work examines how hierarchies of knowledge systems may be challenged and how we may attune our senses to alternate ways in which knowledge—whether from the point of view of the human or non-human—may be accepted.

The title of the work alludes to the multiple historical identities of Pulau Sekijang Bendera (currently known as St John’s Island). The work draws inspiration from islands that have lost their names, shapeshifting creation myths, lines plotted by animal navigation, trickster tides, submerged reefs and maritime arteries. The work unfolds over nine archetypal signatures and departure points, namely: The Guide, The Witness, The Wrathful Deity, The Pyramidal Cell, The Gate, The Peculiar Habitat, The Rotating Naga, The Talisman, and The Pragmatic Prayer. These nine points are presented as a diorama of (inter)cardinal directions, palimpsests and constellations that can be read or experienced through a variety of ways and engages with the entanglements of various knowledge systems.

Come explore the nine points as they unfold throughout SB2022 at https://movingearth-crossingwater-eatingsoil.com/ .

Zarina Muhammad
(b. 1982) is an artist, educator and researcher whose practice is deeply entwined with a critical re-examination of oral histories, ethnographic literature and other historiographic accounts about Southeast Asia. Working at the intersections of performance, text, installation, ritual, sound, moving image and participatory practice, she is interested in the broader contexts of ecocultural and ecological histories, mythmaking, haunted historiographies, water cosmologies and chthonic realms. She has been working on a long-term interdisciplinary project on Southeast Asia’s changing relationship with spectrality, ritual magic, polysensoriality and the immaterial against the dynamics of global modernity, the social production of rationality and transcultural exchanges of knowledge. She currently lives and works in Singapore.


  • Moving Earth, Crossing Water, Eating Soil. 2022. Mixed media installation. Dimensions variable.