Modern cities, their symbolisms and mythos, at Light to Night Festival 2020: Invisible Cities
10 days have passed since New Year fireworks, and with that, the first Singapore festive light-up of 2020 is upon us!
Wait … a moment. The first light-up was the Chinatown CNY one, yes? Which I’ve already written about …
Hmm, never mind. I’m referring to Light to Night Festival 2020, of course, the festival a major art event of the Civil District each year. As I’ve already written about this several times, I’m not going to do my usual where-I-walked and what-I-saw post. Instead, I’ll take a leaf from major SG sites, and list down my favourite art installations and artskin projections for this year.
(The nature of such listings, it’s naturally a mini-review too.)
Light to Night Festival 2020 – 8 Favourite Installations
8. Metapolis: City As A Canvas
The massive artskin projection on the City Hall Wing of National Gallery Singapore has always been a major highlight of the Light to Night Festival for me. This year’s projection, though … I wouldn’t say I dislike it, it’s still enjoyable. Just that, it doesn’t feel as majestic as the ones in previous years.
On the other hand, the lit steps were atmospheric companions. Metapolis: City Tiles, which played during intervals, had a quirky, Candy Crush feel to it too. (see inlay)
7. Five Stones
Five Stones by Twardzik-Ching Chor Leng was one of the first Light to Night Festival 2020 art installations that I read about. To be honest, it didn’t particularly capture my attention. I thought it was the usual celebrate-SG-heritage thing.
Seeing it in person is quite a different business though, particularly the one “dropped” right in the middle of Cavenagh Bridge. Selfie masters will surely have a lot of fun with this one, while pretending to have a Gulliver moment.
6. Concrete Collage
Are signs an integral part of modern city living? They are to me. When viewing this artskin projection, I immediately thought of all sorts of daily living scenarios in Singapore. A thumbs up to the creative artists who came up with this concept.
(I have to highlight that the projection spot for Concrete Collage i.e. the NGS wall facing the Arts House, is always a pain to view and photograph. I do wish the organisers switch off that glaring street lamp right before it; or at least dim it)
5. Optical Maze
Given the expanse of the Padang, Optical Maze by OTTOTTO didn’t look too impressive from afar. Like Five Stones, however, it’s quite a different business though when you’re next to it. Or better yet, within it.
The short of it, it’s positively a Star Wars lightsaber fanatic’s dream. Every kyber colour is represented. Even Rey’s newly minted yellow one; incidentally, yellow being the color associated with Jedi Sentinels.
(I’m truly curious as to whether OTTOTTO intended this Star Wars reference when designing their installation, described as “a homage to the place of lighting in placemaking.”)
4. Mythopolis: Knots of Knowing
The artskin projections at the Asian Civilisation Museum always come with an ethnic feel, and this year’s projection is no exception. Dynamic, vibrant, and mystical, the whole sequence is like a roller coaster ride through a medley of myths and associated objects. I found it “spiritual.” I was … also briefly reminded of the Shin Megami Tensei games. As in, the Gaia Faction.
3. Interpolis: Threading Encounters
Divided into three segments, Interpolis: Threading Encounters correspondingly comes with three different moods.
The first segment was amusing. The second segment was enchanting.
The last one, was an eyeful. A very big eyeful that reminded me of Konami’s Gradius shooting games. (Shoot it in the eye!). Which leads me to …
2. Interpolis: Crafting Connections
I doubt it’s intentional but many of the art installations and projections for Light to Night 2020 strongly reminded me of certain video games. As for Interpolis: Crafting Connections, which celebrates social encounters within cities, the games that came to my mind are:
- Atlus’ Catherine. (I have no idea why! But it must have something to do with that lady at the heart of the trippy motifs)
- World of Warcraft.
Yes, WoW. Because of those pink elephants. Who knew Pink Elekks represented Singapore?!?
1. Floating City
I was mesmerised by Floating City the moment I stepped into the Padang Atrium of NGS. Otherworldly and surreal, the geometric suspended edifices indeed resemble looming skyscrapers in the air. Thanks to the creative placement and variation in length, no two spots offer the same view too – an experience made more delightful by the gently seguing colours. This massive installation was truly, in every way, a joy to appreciate. On another note, I regretted not bringing my super-wide lens with me. My 17mm just couldn’t do sufficient visual justice to it.
Light to Night Festival 2020: Invisible Cities is ongoing till January 19, 2020. The indoor displays at National Gallery Singapore will remain till March 1, 2020.
Read my other Festive Celebrations in Singapore posts.