‘The Spectacular Ninth Edition — Join the revelry as science fiction and fantasy intertwine in unforgettable performances and light art, inspired by the zeal that drove inventors in their quest to discover the new and unconventional.’
Well there sure was revelry, especially in and around the Festival Village where fairy lights were strung over tents, where each person in the crowd moved as if unseeing hands dragged them this way and that, pulling their eyes to one thing and then another, where a live band strung and sung their music — Indie with a mix of slight rock, I believe — and where Mum enjoyed frozen coconut ‘ice-cream’.
I had been looking forward to this event for quite a while, ever since Miriam told me about it a month or so ago and how she’d be involved in its preparation and execution. I had never been to a Singapore Night Festival before, the closest I’ve ever been to it was using it as a case study for Social Studies in Secondary school, and that was in 2009.
“Feeling really odd at the moment because for Night Fest, there is an act called Les AquamenS which involves the artists walking around with live goldfish swimming in sort of scuba-diving helmets filled with water over their heads. It sounds really beautiful, and is meant to symbolise the feeling of alienation, but I feel so sad that they have to use real goldfish. The fish were delivered today and are swimming in a big plastic tub in the office beside me. I wish their art didn’t require this cruelty,” Miriam told me over text.
Walking around, although I, too, was slightly repulsed by the idea of Les AquamenS, I was also intrigued by how their act would look like/ be received by the public. I quote the Festival’s site: ‘An absurd, poetic and disturbing image of two men whose heads are stuck inside a jar of swimming goldfish, […] rendering communication next to impossible. The question asked is a fundamental one – how do we connect with each other when barriers are up?’ Unfortunately, our paths didn’t cross.
We did cross paths with Miriam though (a quick selfie because her mentor was nearby!), or rather, we intentionally make our way to Zone 3, House of Curiosities, where she said she was. There were many many bubbles floating around us as we conversed, and bursting as they landed on the surface of the leaves of the trees nearby. 🙂
I’d say that my favourite public installation was Keyframes by Groupe LAPS on the stately National Museum of Singapore façade, or as I’d like to alternatively call the piece, The Jumping Men. Such a lovely choice of musical accompaniment too, don’t You say?
Journey by NOVAK on the Singapore Arts Museum’s façade (featuring a soundtrack by Ed Carter) was a close second. I quote the Festival’s site once again: ‘[…] NOVAK delves into the world of Victorian novelist Jules Verne, known for his creation of a world reflecting the future of Victorian invention and fantasy. […] Journey will take viewers on a magical adventure through a series of scenes, each depicting a different landscape, related to the vivid environments found in Verne’s classic novels.’
Since we’re on the topic of Art, here’s my favourite Art-related quote: “Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.” ― Chuck Klosterman,
P.s. If anyone is interested in adopting goldfish, please let me know!