Every August, the Singapore Night Festival (SNF) transforms the Bras Basah/Bugis heritage precinct into a midsummer’s celebration of sorts. This year, on its 12th edition, a plethora of experiences transforms Singapore’s Bras Basah.Bugis district into an arts and cultural oasis from 23 to 31 August 2019.
A treat for the eyes and ears
Every year the SNF features a theme, and previous editions have showcased international acts such as the spellbinding Gardens of Angelsby Theater Tol (2015), and The Duel (2018), which saw UK troupe Lords of Lightning summoning up the awe-inspiring forces of nature in an electrifying display of science and artistry.
2019’s edition of the festival will see the return of globally-acclaimed Argentinian Dance Troupe Fuerza Bruta (who last performed here in 2012). Experience the magical return of this spectacular aerial dance troupe, as they showcase a mesmerizing blend of acrobatics and surreal set pieces.
The signature highlight of the festival surely must be the interactive light installations that turn the façades of the Singapore Art Museum and the National Museum of Singapore into ephemeral works of wonder.
Spotlight On Southeast Asia
In alignment with the Singapore Bicentennial, this year’s festival line-up will see a curation of works with a Southeast Asian connection, casting a spotlight on folklore and traditions, as well as ideas and talents from around the region.
For instance, festival-goers will notice elements of The Ramayana, one of the two major epic poems of India, featured in various festival offerings. One such work will take over the National Museum of Singapore’s Banyan tree, with a projection by internationally renowned French group Spectaculaires titled The Legend of Ramayana, inspired by the Indian epic poem. This marks the first time that the Banyan tree will see a projection work complemented by a stirring gamelan instrumental performance, which retells the story of the Ramayana in traditional Javanese tembang or poetry. The gamelan performance will be performed by local performing group Gamelan Asmaradana, from 29 to 31 August.
Another work, by internationally renowned Indian dance-theatre company Apsaras Arts, will bring to life The Ramayana story of Prince Rama rescuing his wife Sita. Set to a moving, original score and told through classical Indian and Javanese dance, Anjaneyam – Hanuman’s Ramayana is a cross-cultural production involving artists from Singapore, India and Indonesia. They will also present a children-friendly storytelling and dance production titled Sita’s Magical Forest, which follows Sita as she encounters the animals of the magical forest. Both performances will take place at the Festival Village at Dhoby Ghaut Green.
The Dhoby Ghaut Green Festival Village stage will also see the debut of Southeast Asian bands alongside our local talents. The line-up presently includes Malaysia’s SONUO, the Philippine’s MenAcoustic, and Thailand’s The Note, as well as local musicians like MOTUS, Flame of the Forest and Neon Feast.
Over at CHIJMES, an animated projection titled Waves of Time will capture and reflect the diversity of ethnic cultures in this region. The work will be the first to be projected on CHIJMES, and was created as part of a collaboration between Singapore-based animation studio Chips and Toon and Australia’s The Electric Canvas.
Night Lights | Transformation Through Illumination
Illuminating iconic facades and unexpected spaces, the annual Night Lights returns from 23 August with 17 light artworks comprising of both projections and installations, encouraging festival-goers to reimagine familiar landmarks with their artistry and interactivity.
Besides the Ramayana, Spectaculaires will also light up the iconic façade of the National Museum of Singapore with Keep Dreaming, a family-friendly showcase capturing the exploration of a whimsical wonderland.
Along Stamford Road, the Stamford Court clock tower will become the canvas for a façade projection for the first time. The Electric Canvas from Australia transforms the clock tower into a playful, welcoming work of art with their animated projection, Tropicana.
Multi-disciplinary French artist Yann Nguema returns to the Festival with an interactive large-scale projection at Armenian Church titled S.C.U.L.P.T. Blending technology, human interaction and music to bring architecture to life, festival-goers can look forward to a unique experience as they step up to manipulate the form and appearance of the church’s centuriesold chevet, through the use of simple laser beams.
A new pop-up experiential dome on the Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Campus Green will see the combination of light art with performance. Titled Project:Dome, this space will showcase five brand new works by various artists – projects that had been borne out of SNF’s first Creators’ Masterclass, which was held with the aim of teaching participants the basics of creating their own projection mapping artworks. Organised in January 2019, participants learnt about the capabilities and tools of the TouchDesigner software – an open source programme used in projection mapping – and brainstormed creative proposals for light artworks. These works were further fine-tuned and subsequently presented as part of SNF 2019.
Night owls will enjoy the many events held late into the night around cultural institutions such as the National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, The Substation and more. Don’t miss your chance to see Singapore’s heritage, arts and culture in an entirely different light.