“A nocturnal extravaganza of spectacular aerial performances, music, dance and installation artworks at the heart of Bras Basah Bugis precinct, Singapore’s arts and heritage district.”
After living in Virginia for 4 years, moving home to Singapore after University was tough: Singapore’s constant evolution of the skyline left me confused and trying to adjust to an unfamiliar place. To re-integrate myself into my own hometown, I decided to start exploring areas and events so that I could find some new hangouts.
Cue: The Singapore Night Festival – my chance to take back ‘my Singapore’. The festival which dedicates itself to the arts and culture, constitutes of a multitude of events. In its 6th year, it was the biggest Night Festival that Singapore has hosted so far. This year, it was held over two weekends in late August.
There were almost 80 events over 2 weekends, and on the night I went, I was only able to see a few. From light installations, magic performances, street dancers and live DJs, to delicious home made ice cream and Singapore’s first food truck; I had a blast sweating it out with all my glow sticks. The best part about this festive affair was that it catered to all demographics in Singapore: From kids perched on their fathers’ shoulders to grandparents in wheelchairs, it was lovely to see people making this a family affair.
In no particular order, here are some of the things that left a lasting impression on me, and why:
1. “Moongrazing” by OIC Singapore
This was an exploration of “the moon and its stories” by illustrators from OIC Singapore.
These were no ordinary illustrations either – they were designs and illustrations in motion, and get this: the canvas was the façade of the National Museum of Singapore! Yes, these were vibrant and surreal designs floating across the white building, which is Singapore’s National Museum.
The constant movement of these eclectic images evoked a lot of really interesting ideas in my mind – and I think I spent an hour in total just watching them. Imagine yourself standing in front of a building for an hour just watching…crazy right? More like MEZMERIZING.
2. “EVERLAST” by Sookoon Ang
Upon entering the National Museum of Singapore, which was home to a few temporary exhibits in honour of the Night Festival, there was a huge net with a quote sewed on in large, foil balloon letters.
I examined it from all possible platforms – standing in front of it, checking it out from the side, watching others watch it, and even reading it aloud to myself from the upper floors of the museum. It was suspended in the middle of the atrium.
Although I didn’t understand the idea at first, it took a young man just reading it aloud in a booming voice (with a lot of interested onlookers) to understand that this particular piece of art is “a visual poem” where “the arrangement of text and selected material for the visualization are important in conveying the intended effect of the work”. This display allows the quote “to manifest both metaphysically as well as physically, blurring the distinction between art and text”. The artist also mentions that the poem addresses life and death, as well as light and lightness. It speaks about the exhilarating energy and dynamics between two people.
3. “Everyday Aspirations” – By Karen Mitchell
Karen Mitchell, the artist, collected ‘one word aspirations’ from people. This art installation is supposed to represent the ‘Everyday Aspirations’ of ordinary people.
There were 365 of these intricately cut wooden aspirations in this installation. I absolutely loved this particular installation because the light panels illuminated the words, which caused shadows on the white wall behind it. We all have aspirations in life, and I saw a lot of mine lit up – almost as if to remind me that those were mine.
When I asked the friend I was with what stood out to her, she had different words from me – which tells me that this installation was particularly successful in provoking an emotional response which was personal to every person who took some time to look at it.
With that, I hope that Singapore’s Night Festival in 2014 is even better, brighter, and more inspired. Here’s lookin’ at you, Singapore. Thanks for making me feel at home again.
*All photographs included in this post, except the first photo of the Bugis area in Singapore, were taken by me.