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Jun Ong’s Five-Storey Star Installation Pierces an unfinished building in Malaysia

Ronaldas Buozis

Kuala Lumpur-based architect and artist Jun Ong has embedded a five-storey lighting installation whithin the structure of an unfinished building in the Malaysian town of Butterworth. Inspired by the notion of “glitch,” a dodecahedron – a 12-sided star-shaped installation appears almost as an error or a temporary irregularity, suddenly finding itself lodged within the concrete superstructure.


The term “glitch” was used to describe a spike or change in voltage in an electric current, first recorded in a space program. It is a manifestation of the sterile conditions of Butterworth, a once thriving industrial port and significant terminal between the mainland and island. The odd juxtaposition of “Star” with its “host” creates new relationships, tangible and intangible. It is an accumulation of digital and analogue irregularities, becoming a transient portal to a new dimension.


Curated by Eeyan Chuah and Gabija Grusaite from the Penang based contemporary art centre – Hin Bus Depot and presented as part of the Urban Xchange Festival, ‘Star’ comprises five hundred metres of steel cables and LED strips. The cables are anchored to ground, slabs, cantilever beams and adjacent buildings to form the overall shape. As one steps closer, the installation segregates itself into several floors, each becoming its own spatial experience. The form breaks down into glowing lines, each fragment holding its own electrical and structural characteristic.

The spatial installation is a speculation for the future of Butterworth, connecting various existing dimensions on familiar terrains to unearth new relationships. Once the festival is over, the space will be used to host various community activities, events and art performances.


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images by Jun OngRonaldas BuozisAllisamazing | video © Ronaldas Buozis