Waiting for Durian

by Kray Chen and Melinda Lauw

Waiting for Durian is a sixteen-minute audio story inspired by Kray Chen’s very own short film, Durian-picking. A retelling that sonically and spatially transports the audiences into the Singaporean rainforest as they’re brought along on the nocturnal excursion, amidst a looming tropical storm.

Durian-picking itself was a short documentary featuring the artist and his father heading into the forest in search of wild durians. In the film, it reveals a community of Singaporeans that are part of the durian-picking subculture. In the quest for free durian, these durian-pickers reconnect with the rescinding forest, in an activity that often finds them brushing up against the law. 

Accompanying the audio piece are two specifically designed picnic mats that are available for purchase. Each of which are themselves pocket-encyclopedias to the history of durians in the region. Rounding up the experience of durian foraging is the partnership with durian retailer 99Oldtrees who will offer durian picnic packages that can be ordered and delivered with the mats. An olfactory and gustatory conclusion reminiscent of the casual durian sessions where old newspapers serve as makeshift table mats.

In Waiting for Durian, we find the visual elements of a film displaced only to have all our other senses teased, triggered and most importantly, tantalized.

* The product will go online for preorder by 15th January and will be fulfilled on 29th Jan onwards.

** How to Picnic

  1. Gather and Seat your Group
    This experience accommodates 1-4 people. Assign each person one side of the mat. We positioned different content facing each side to encourage sharing among the group.


  2. Prepare and Position Durian on the Mat
    We’ve designed this experience for nostalgia and tactility so we strongly encourage you to get whole durians, but any durian you like is fine. Place your durian in the center of the mat.


  3. Listen to our Durian Picking Story
    Scan the QR code on the mat and listen to the 20-minute audio journey, taking you into the forest to pick wild durians. As the audio is directional, we recommend using headphones! Close your eyes if you want a deeper listening experience!


  4. Feast and Explore

Crack open your durian and enjoy all the graphics, content and activities on the mat! It’s super easygoing. As you eat and chat, take turns to share things on the mat or just flow with your group and see what catches your eye. 

For Design A, there’s no defined way to explore. Pick and choose bits of information to share, give out quizzes when prompted and admire our lovely hand drawings!

For Design B, you’ll notice how the illustration maps the audio story! Start playing from the top left corner and go clockwise! 

Durian Picnic Party Pack buyers, consume your durian within 24 hours of delivery for maximum freshness. You can keep any leftovers in an airtight box in the fridge for up to 2 days. In the unlikely case that your durian is defective, take photos and whatsapp 99Oldtrees at +6598222495. 


Kray Chen (b.1987) is a visual artist dealing with film, performance and installations. Kray is fascinated with social rituals and behaviours. Through them, his practice contemplates on body politic and looks at the effects, remnants and traumas of ideology and biopower. He has presented at international art events, such as Art Encounters Biennial (2019), Singapore Biennale (2019), Bangkok Art Biennale (2018), NTU-CCA Singapore (2017), FRAC Des Pays De La Loire in France (2015), Art Stage Singapore, ArtJakarta and Singapore International Film Festival (2016). He is the recipient of the 2017 National Arts Council’s  Young Artist Award. He lives and works in Singapore.

Melinda Lauw is an artist, experience designer and immersive creator working across the fields of art, immersive entertainment and experiential marketing. She is the co-founder of Whisperlodge, a production company pioneering the practice of live ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). Since 2016, Whisperlodge has completed 14 sold-out runs of their eponymous immersive performance across New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, plus a recent virtual adaptation. Melinda has been featured on Netflix and in The New York Times, and has worked with brands such as Audible, Museum of Ice Cream, Refinery 29 and Marriott Hotel Group.


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