Night Fest 2019

What is it about Singapore and light festivals? We seem to have a lot of them; I can think of at least three or four annual light-based events. But I go to almost every one, so maybe I don’t need to ask the question. There’s just something wonderful about seeing the world lit up at night.

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This month’s grand affair has been the Singapore Night Festival, an event that I have been attending since my first year in Singapore. It is a two-week extravaganza of light shows, light sculptures, and performances, and I find it so impossible to see the whole thing that I generally plan at least two nights’ worth of visits.

The grandest light displays are always the moving wall projections (short films, really). This year, the largest of all was on facade of the National Museum. The somewhat disjointed story by the Spectaculaires called Keep Dreaming was narrated by three creepy wall faces — this is the one in the center …fullsizeoutput_4e45.jpeg

… and here is the face on the left (now even creepier in a clown costume);

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These characters took us on a journey underwater …

… through the rain forest …

… and into an explosion of light and sound:

I love the way the museum looks with so many different projections. Here are just a few of the images that you would have seen if you sat and watched the museum’s entrance …

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… and here are some views of the building’s left side (yes, I watched the whole thing twice):

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It’s not necessarily great art, but it is great fun. And when the video ends, people can have fun taking pictures of their shadows against the wall …

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… or go inside the museum to see this crazy sculpture light up the interior of the building’s great dome:

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Intergalactic Dreams by Jahan Loh

For more light murals, I headed to the back of the old Chijmes convent church…

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Waves of Time by Chip and Toon

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… the Stamford clock tower …

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Tropicana by The Electric Canvas

… and the Armenian church …

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S.C.U.L.P.T. by Yann Nguema

… where watching a little blue dot move around (made possible by people waving their hands over a device) …

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… was surprisingly meditative.

There are small many light sculptures at the Night Festival, of course, such as In:Sight by Tran Tran Cong, Allison Poon, and Sansys Collective …fullsizeoutput_4e31

… and these wonderful foldy things whose names and artists I failed to record:

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The Ramayana (one of the central Hindu epics) featured prominently in several places at this year’s Night Festival.

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This is a version of The Ramayana as told by the Spectaculaires, a group of artists that managed to condense all of the epic’s 24,000 Sanskrit verses down to about two and a half minutes and then cast it onto the side of a great banyan tree:

We saw a much lengthier retelling of The Ramayana in a performance titled Anjaneyam — Hanuman’s Ramayana by Singaporean troupe Apsaras Arts. Here are Hanuman (the monkey god) having a moment with Ravana (the king of the demons) …

… and a group of dancers entertaining Ravana as he sits on his throne:

The most exciting performance of the Night Festival was the immersive aerial spectacle by Argentinian troupe Fuerza Bruta. I’m not sure where to begin in describing this one — there were drummers and lights …

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… and people swinging right over our heads (at some points nearly close enough to touch) …

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… and a guy suspended upside-down in a giant wind tunnel …

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… and performers standing right in the middle of the crowd:

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For most of the performance, a giant domed sheet was drawn over the audience, which made the whole thing feel very intimate (and very hot). But this was really all about the energy and the action — and it was a whole lot of fun.

 

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