Tini Aliman
Anthropogenic Impact, Ecosystem, Forest Ecology, Land Use
Tini Aliman

Tini Aliman, The Grass is Greener When You Don't Touch It, 2023. Courtesy the artist.



Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Livelihoods

Anthropogenic Impact, Ecosystem, Forest Ecology, Land Use

Installation, Sound, Sound Archive

Tini Aliman

From the artist on her practice:

"One of my first departure points on capturing data from plants and biomusic stems from the idea of silence and the silenced. While I do not specifically aim to anthropomorphised, or to translate these data to a language that our human mind can comprehend, also not so much in the context of new age philosophy, my base practice as a sound engineer, seek to use technology to measure the galvanic conductance in living beings, a form of bio-electricty and transform that data into sound for deep listening, contemplation and understanding. This has a lot to do with my appreciation for silence and the silenced, and through this practice, I learn more about microphone techniques and keeping the plants in my front yard alive. The symbol of contemplation and deep soundlessness is something I value a lot in my sound practice. We are constantly murmuring, muttering, scheming or wondering to ourselves, comforting ourselves, in a perverse fashion with our own silent voices. Just like the concept of ‘Ma’, a ‘living pause’ in Noh theatre, I appreciate the idea of a negative space between the memory of a sound heard and the anticipation of the next sound. Leonard Cohen endearingly named himself Jikan, which means the silence in between two thoughts. It is meaningful to consider all the contextual questions framing the piece of music and seeing it as a form of ‘completed work’ or can I simply enjoy the music as it is. The idea of the role of the artist as having transformed over time and the role of the creator of objects and how it contributes to the perceived ‘value’ of the work. I just don’t think we should stop learning."


Talking in Trees (Like Shadows Through Leaves) Part 1


Tini Aliman, Talking in Trees, 2022. Courtesy the artist.

Tini Aliman, Talking in Trees, 2022. Courtesy the artist.

Tini Aliman, Talking in Trees, 2022. Courtesy the artist.

Tini Aliman, Talking in Trees, 2022. Courtesy the artist.

Tini Aliman, Talking in Trees, 2022. Courtesy the artist.

"Talking in Trees (Like Shadows Through Leaves) Part 1 is an immersive meditative installation that stems from an essay written by Alfian Sa’at, first published in Issue 54 of Antennae in 2021. Entitled “Talking in Trees,” Sa’at explores the persistent presence of plant-related words in the Malay language and reveals the inherent interspecies relations between plants and humans. Responding to and attempting to translate this text into a visual experience, Lucy Davis and Zachary Chan co-conceptualised a space for deep listening and contemplation through the dynamic use of shadow puppetry and moving lights. Tini Aliman interlaces the visual experience with her sound and audio composition, which echoes within the installation.

The installation was made possible with kinetic lights by Yang Jie; patchwork screen design by Alysha Rahmat Shah; embroidery by Elina Priha; programming expertise by Eswaran from Tying; and bird calls courtesy of xeno-canto.org, with field recordings by Lim Yin Hien, Paul Farrell, Bo Shungi, Rick Shears and Alice Burdock."[1]

[1] “Lucy Davis, Alfian Sa’at, Tini Aliman & Zachary Chan,” www.singaporebiennale.org, n.d., https://www.singaporebiennale.org/artists/lucy-davis.

The Grass is Greener When You Don't Touch It


Tini Aliman, The Grass is Greener When You Don't Touch It, 2023. Courtesy the artist.

"Through sound sculptures, The Grass is Greener When You Don't Touch It develops from Tini Aliman's ongoing endeavours to archive the sounds and voices of 158 species of fauna and 118 species of flora in Dover Forest. In 2020, the Singapore government announced public housing development plans for the 33-hectare half-century-old secondary regrowth forest embedded in the central-western part of the island. Following subsequent advocacy efforts, appeals and pushback from nature groups, concerned individuals and the community, the western half of the forest has been earmarked for preservation, with the eastern half slated to follow redevelopment plans.

For this work, Tini draws upon the idea of the antipode–diametrically opposite spots on the earth's surface–to think and imagine the other side of the situation and her thoughts on Dover Forest's future. Interested in creating a sound 'sandwich', the sculptures play recordings of Dover Forest and its antipode: an area in Yasuni National Park, situated between the Napo and Curaray Rivers in Napo, Pastaza, and Orellana Provinces in Amazonian Ecuador. This site was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1989 and became a protected area of 9,823 km² of primary rainforest, wild lagoons and rivers." [2]

[2] “Insights: The Rumbling In-between - Esplanade Offstage,” www.esplanade.com, accessed March 26, 2024, https://www.esplanade.com/offstage/arts/insights-the-rumbling-in-between.


A person in a mask.

Tini Aliman, Pokoknya, 2023. Courtesy the artist.

Tini Aliman, Pokoknya, 2023. Courtesy the artist.

"Exploring plant consciousness and communication networks in forests, sound artist Tini Aliman has developed a practice that involves collaborating with diverse plant species. Together with her guests, the artist will translate captured biodata into music and aural architecture. Finding ways of interspecies communication through pick-up mics and feedback loops, this performance allows for a deeper contemplation of what it means to share existence and listen to life. Pokoknya is a term in Bahasa Melayu/ Indonesia that translates to “essentially” or referring to the root of an issue, which is a play on the word “tree.” The word could also be read as the “tree belonging to…”" [3]

[3] NTU CCA, “Performance: Pokoknya by Tini Aliman, Musician, and Guests,” archive.ntu.ccasingapore.org, accessed March 26, 2024, https://archive.ntu.ccasingapore.org/events/performance-pokoknya/.

A Final Chorus

A forest.

Tini Aliman, A Final Chorus, 2022. Courtesy the artist.

A Final Chorus is a two-channel sound installation advocating for the conservation of Dover Forest, a half-century old secondary regrowth forest in the heart of urban Singapore. According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority Master Plan of Singapore, the forest is zoned as ‘residential’; as such it is being developed into a housing estate. While recording a few of the 158 species of fauna and the 118 species of flora at dusk and dawn to preserve their ‘voices’, Tini inadvertently captures noise pollution from the housing construction site. She combines this recording with another one, done at the secondary forests surrounding the eastern shores of Singapore, since they are also subject to the same fate as Dover Forest. Those wishing to help protect Dover Forest can join a campaign at www.change.org.” [4]

[4] www.unssc.org. “A Final Chorus | UNSSC | United Nations System Staff College,” 2022. https://www.unssc.org/artwork/final-chorus.


Tini Aliman

Tini Aliman (b. 1980, Singapore) is a sound artist and designer, field recordist and audio engineer who works at the intersection of theatre and film sound design, live sound art performance, installation and collaborative projects. Her research interests include but are not limited to, forest networks, spatial acoustics, bio-music, botanical histories and the variables of data translations via biodata sonification. She has been involved in projects, performances and exhibitions presented at National Gallery Singapore, NTU Center for Contemporary Art, Biennale Urbana at Caserma Pepe, Venice, Singapore Art Museum and SFMOMA.


On AiR with Tini Aliman, 2021

In this instalment of On AiR, we hear Artist-in-Residence Tini Aliman share about her artistic enquiries and friendship with fellow resident Russell Morton. Tini’s research interests are rooted in forest networks, biodata sonification, spatial acoustics, and plant consciousness. During the residency, she approached trees as archives of environmental soundscapes, breathing new life into tree stumps and different types of wood.

Further Reading

Selected Exhibitions

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2021 Free Jazz III: Sound. Walks., NTU Centre for Contemporary Art
2020 An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season, National Gallery Singapore
2019 Stories We Tell to Scare Ourselves With, Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei

Selected Group Exhibitions
2023 The Rumbling In-between, Jendela, Visual Arts Space

Selected Residencies

NTU CCA Residency, 2021
"As a new development of her long-term research on plant consciousness and biodata sonification, Tini Aliman has come to regard ‘dead’ trees as potential archives of environmental soundscapes, witnesses of urban development and extractive capitalism, ecological events and climate change. Breathing new life into tree stumps, fragments of felled trees, and repurposed wood from previous artworks, the artist is reconfiguring these materials into kinetic and sound sculpture prototypes and she is experimenting with a range of sensory and mechanical modes of activation. Conjunctly, inspired by the structural and functional similarities between Printed Circuit Board (PCB) etching designs and forest underground network ecosystems, Tini is also speculatively imagining a functioning network of closed electronic circuits that mimics how these trees would have communicated while they were still alive. This project is realised in collaboration with Trying.sg."
Source: NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. “Residencies OPEN & INSIGHTS,” September 3, 2021. https://ntu.ccasingapore.org/news/residencies-open-insights/.