The back alleys of Katong and Joo Chiat in Singapore had been transformed into an arts and culture experience during the weekend of 15 and 16 December 2018. The inaugural MINI Extraoddinary trail is a collaboration with artists such as Adeline Loo, Leng Soh, Noreen Loh & Yah-Leng Yu; Architect Yip Yuen Hong; illustrators Chong Wah “Krome” & Dahlia Loren, street photographer Aik Beng Chia and others including Antea Social, Basheer Graphic Books, Kaiten Soshi, Kinetic, Supermama and Studio Affixen.
An interactive online map could be accessed at miniextraoddinary.com.
MINI played the role of enabler to a community of creatives. The event was conceived by MINI’s creative agency KINETIC Singapore which is housed in Joo Chiat for the past eight years. The agency invited residents and businesses to turn their unused spaces into places that people can interact with.
“MINI has always been more than just cars—it is a lifestyle that values connections between people. It’s especially fitting for MINI to steer this project. After all, the brand is about challenging the way we look at spaces. The very first MINI designed by Alec Issigonis actually reinvented the way we made use of space. In that same way, MINI has always been more than just cars—it is a lifestyle that values connections between people. So we’re very happy to work with residents and shop owners to build an even stronger sense of place and belonging.”Ms Nancy Hoffmann, Marketing Manager of MINI Asia
Hoffman also shared that the response from the Katong and Joo Chiat community as well as MINI Extraoddinary visitors was extremely positive.
In the future, we hope we can build on MINI Extraoddinary and develop new and unique experiences and spaces that will bring the community together.Ms.Nancy Hoffman
There were 19 art installations and experiential activities. It was quite a walk. I completed close to 5,000 steps according o my Samsung Galaxy Watch. We captured highlights of some of the installation in the video above and photos below.
Noreen Loh’s ‘Miun in Joo Chiat’
Seeding by Leng Soh
Emerging ceramic artist Leng Soh‘s Seeding shared the same walkway as the ‘Miun in Joo Chiat’ and The Very Communal Swing exhibits. Every art piece is a means to explore her own boundaries and paradigms, a sensibility that is also reflected in her outdoor display ‘Seeding’
Aik Beng Chia’s ‘Pastelicious’
Fancy catching up with old friend and street photographer Aik Beng Chia at his ‘Pastelicious’ exhibit featuring photos of people in the neighbourhood printed on white tee shirts.
Adeline Loo’s ‘Intersections’
‘Intersections’, the outdoor yarn installation of crochet artist Adeline Loo from It Takes Balls, takes a fresh look at what was once a dilapidated awning at Yong’s Teochew Kueh. Adeline aims to take back the craft of knitting for women and reject the idea that this is only for retirees and housewives. Adeline is also a resident of the neighbourhood.
A Case of Emergencies
This tongue-in-cheek take on the everyday emergency box sets boxes within boxes is an inception style installation. It is located between another red box containing a fire extinguisher and an actual Emergency Shut-Off Valve case in one of the back alleys.
The Very Communal Swing
Have you every sat on a ten seater swing? The Very Communal Swing was one. It was painted in bright red adding colour to this walk way and joy to visitors.
Supermama’s Please Do Not Sit
A miniature version of the red plastic chairs was put beside an actual live size version at the Please Do Not Sit exhibit. Supermama, a gallery store founded by Mei Ling and Edwin offers a collection of meaningful objects to engage every consumer, curating a space to allow us to slow down.
A Place To Hang
These wooden benches under the bridge across from Roxy Square allowed people walking past to share the bench, take a breather and say hi to those sharing the bench.
PLANTED – It’s A Boy
Soshi (Alica Tan) is a writer, editor and translator in advertising and design. She also dabbles in fiction and zine-making. Kaiten Soshi’s participation in MINI Extraoddinary is a series of plant labelling exhibits. Felt almost like you were in a nursery picking up plants for your home.
Postcards from a Window
Visitors could print a set of four postcards using the window shutter exhibit as part of the printing process. Dahlia Loren illustrated the four artworks of Mr. Flexible, an extraoddinary contortionist salaryman.
Are You Hopping Mad?
This seemingly never-ending hopscotch stretches down the long walkway. Visitors hopped to the end where they got to another exhibit Ting Ting Thing.
Functional bars transformed into a street-side xylophone gave visitors the chance to have fun and make their own music here.
Song Kee Book Club
We stumbled into the recently opened Song Kee Fishball Noodle at 128 Tembeling Road which moved from its previous location at Upper Serangoon Road. It was one of the pit stops for the trail. A specially created selection of books from Basheer Graphic Books by Aik Beng Chia (street photographer), Yah-Leng You (creative director of Foreign Policy Design Group) and Yip Yuen Hong (veteran architect at ip:li Architects) were on display inside this popular fishball noodle store.
Basheer Graphic Books is located at #04-19 Bras Basah Complex. You will be able to get design books and magazines related to Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Design, Graphic Design, Animation, Product Design, Fashion Design, Art & Craft, Typography, and Photography from this specialised bookstore
And a visit to Soon Kee Fishball Noodle is not complete unless you have a bowl of those obscenely big fish balls and also the tastiest fish dumplings I have ever had. Even the team at MISSTAMCHIAK.com raves about the fish dumplings. They are also reasonably priced at S$4, S$6 and S$8 for a small, medium and large serving respectively.
Backyard Tea Bar
The last stop of the MINI ExtraODDinary trail was Backyard Tea Bar. Explorers enjoyed a refreshing cup of custom blended bluepea tea from local tea brewer Antea Social that is inspired by the neighbourhood’s Peranakan heritage. Their best seller Lychee Oolong was also served at this backyard of KINETIC Singapore’s office.