The 3rd Night Festival: New World 2010 by the National Museum of Singapore

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16 June 2010, Singapore – The 3rd edition of the Night Festival presented by National Museum of Singapore was well visited by mostly local youths on 16th and 17th July 2010.  Clashing with 3 other key activities that weekend, there was also the Singapore Garden Festival and the Singapore Food Festival.

Stamford Road was closed with bus diversions on Friday and Sunday to facilitate the Night Festival.

Drawing inspiration from the New World Amusement Park, a nightlife destination of the past in Singapore,  this year’s festival is conceived and curated by Ong Keng Sen, and produced by TheatreWorks (Singapore).   The Bras Basah precinct was transformed into a magical playground, featuring street theatre, whimsical lights and carnivalesque play. Visitors had a sensory feast of over 40 performances, films, roving acts and activities, from outdoor performances to graffiti murals, social dancing to live music halls and even sporting events. The lineup featured a mix of international, Southeast Asian and local acts, one of the highlights being the global debut performance of Paraboles 2.0 by French performance group Compagnie Off and local filmmaker and video artist Victhric Thng.

Night Festival: New World 2010 was spread over eight different locations: the National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Management University Campus Green, Singapore Art Museum, SAM at 8Q, The Peranakan Museum, The Substation, Dance Ensemble Singapore and Fort Canning Green, which hosted activities concurrently on both nights. This year marks the first time that the festival’s activities are extended to Dance Ensemble Singapore and Fort Canning Green, widening the festival grounds to cater for more visitors.

Below is a listing of the highlights from this year’s night festival.

Highlights at National Museum of Singapore
Paraboles 2.0

Featuring six monumental satellite dishes (referred to as paraboles), Paraboles 2.0 is an urban installation and human performance with the paraboles suspended 17 metres in the air, representing the relationship between sound and image along with stroboscopic flashing light.

Personally, I enjoyed Paraboles 2.0.  Packed full with many people on a Friday night, we sat in the dark in anticipation of what was going to happen.  Perched on the media stage together with other journalist photographers and videographers at the back of all the audience where we could get a good full view of the museum and the 6 satellite dishes, I managed to get some videos and photos for those of you who missed it.  I’ll let the videos and photos amaze you –




(Not) Under The Banyan Tree
At 8pm on 16 and 17 July, The Love Eterne and Dua Kali Lima will be screened respectively as part of the film screenings for Night Festival: New World 2010.

The Love Eterne, a cultural phenomenon amongst the Chinese-speaking audience in the 1960s, is a musical adaptation of one of China’s most famous folk tales, The Butterfly Lovers. The story begins as Zhu Ying Tai disguises herself as a male in order to pursue an education.

Dua Kali Lima, M. Amin’s 1966 film revolves around the lives of two tailors living in the same rented apartment, who try to outdo each other as their shops are close to each other.

Highlights at Singapore Management University Campus Green
Taxi-Girls & Taxi-Boys
Jitterbugs Singapore brings back Taxi-Girls & Boys, the popular social dance from the 1920s, which was phased out with the rise of television and radio.


Created by Cambodian group, Phare Ponleu Selpak, Phuto! is a circus act performed by 13 young artists aged between 18 and 20. The performance illustrates and represents the relationships between teenagers, lovers, tenderness, jealousy and violence; told through acrobatics, lifts, juggling, dance, balancing and contortions.

Highlights at Singapore Art Museum and SAM at 8Q
Abusement Park
Like an amusement park but not quite; featuring instruments of pain as entertainment, and tortured souls as amusement at parts of the Singapore Art Museum, including its basement, transformed into an underground dungeon.

Programmed by Vertical Submarine and Black Baroque Interventionists, (Both Singaporean groups), parts of the building, including the basement of SAM was converted into an Abusement Park.  This ‘occupation’ is driven by a collective nostalgia that extends to carnivalesque and grotesque phenomena in history such as the spectacle of public execution, and ‘madwomen’ at the funfair of the post war years.  Investing in the common instincts between the applause when a king pronounces ‘off with the heads!’ and the slapstick laughter when a man slips on a banana peel, the 2 night event featured instruments of pain as entertainment, and tortured souls as amusement.

Take a look at some of the photos I captured while I was there with my compact Canon Ixus 860IS which needs a serious replacement.





There were also lots of other fringe activities at the grounds between the National Museum of Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum.

World’s Slowest SMS Billboard

An interactive artwork by Thai artist, Wit Pimkanchanapong.  Since 2006, the World’s Slowest SMS Billboard has been used as a public message display centre for the Fat Festival, a musical festival in Bangkok which runs annually since 2000.  Anyone could send their personal message from their mobile phone to this billboard, which will be displayed for all to read.  The only catch was that the message will not be displayed immediately, or may not even be displayed. It’s up to the ‘mood’ and decision of the Billboard, which was operated by a team of humans – reminding us not to take technology for granted.

Wit Pimkanchanapong was born 1976 in Thailand. Trained in architecture, Wit applies his interest in Space and Design to a diverse practice that includes animation, video, installation, and commercial graphics and display.  With an ongoing interest in mapping, distortion, repetition and simulation through his post-graduate investigation in Cybernetic study, his works often take the form of spatial objects or landscapes – urban, sonic, constructed or imagined.  As an artist, he is inspired by the possibilities of working with everyday materials such as paper, wire and clips to create powerful and often interactive environments, and to interface these tangible objects with screen-based thought.

Wit had exhibited his works in Singapore, Japan, London, USA, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Australia and Europe.  He also participated in the Singapore Biennale 2008 and the Asia Pacific Triennial 2009 in Brisbane, Australia.  His most recent work in 2010 was exhibited at “Inventory: New Art for Southeast Asia” at Osage Gallery (Singapore) and “Architecture Planet Project”, Yokohama, Japan.

SMS a message and it will be physically put up at the Singapore Art Museum. Probably the world's slowest SMS system.

Highlights at The Peranakan Museum
It’s all about family-friendly fun music at The Peranakan Museum with activities for children in the Glow-in-the-Dark room, and performances by local groups including Lunar Node, who will infuse the premises with Asian-fusion beats of the 1960s.

Highlights at The Substation
Community Mural Project
Together with local graffiti artists ZERO and ANTZ, visitors are encouraged to release their inhibitions and embrace the rebel within to participate in a large-scale art mural.

Music Gigs

Venue: The Substation Balcony
Time: 10pm – 2am

Partake in two nights of merry music-making at The Substation! Catch some of our favourite local indie bands and acts such as Bani Haykal, Lunarin, Mux, The Analog Girl, Ugly In The Morning and Westside in action as they drive the heat away with their music!

Theatre Workshop by Theatrestrays (Singapore)

Venue: The Substation Dance Studio
Time: 7pm – 10pm

This theatre workshop is a fun and basic introduction to Theatrestray’s physical theatre training. Focusing on Kalaripayat (a form of Indian martial art), and Contact Improvisation (a dance technique in which points of physical contact provide the starting point for exploration through movement improvisation), participants in the workshop will be given a half hour briefing on both forms of theatre training. Participants will also be given an opportunity to perform what they have experienced and learnt during the workshop. Open to the public, the workshop will be a creative exploration of Kalaripayat and Contact Improvisation – fun and enriching for everyone, regardless of age!

Roving Artists

Time: 7pm – 2am

Look forward to a unique experience of performance art, as roving artists such as Marla Bendini, Jeremy Hiah, Ezzam Rahman and Chua Chin Chin attempt to blend into the crowd at The Substation.

Be surprised by their random acts of performance art, be it through unpredictable interactions with audience members or the sudden creation of a performance space anywhere on The Substation’s premises.

Film screenings at The Substation

Venue: The Substation Classrooms
Time: 7pm – 10pm

Wander into The Substation’s classrooms and fall into the cinematic worlds of filmmakers Ho Tzu Nyen and Jeremy Sing! Be entranced by Tzu Nyen’s Here and Sing’s The Water Cycle, as they are screened on an endless loop.

Venue: The Substation Facade
Time: 7.30pm – 8.30pm (Session 1), 9pm – 10pm (Session 2)

As part of Night Festival, The Substation will be screening an eclectic mix of old and new films by ten different local filmmakers, including Royston Tan, Wesley Leon Aroozoo and Jacen Tan. Feel free to stop and watch the films projected on an outdoor screen and experience watching films under a starry night sky – just like the good old days!

Highlights at Dance Ensemble Singapore

Behold beautiful dance performances that highlight the seamless mix of the strength in martial arts and the grace of classical Chinese dance and contemporary styles.


Venue: Dance Ensemble Singapore
Time: 7.30pm – 9pm (on 16 July)

Vitality is a performance that highlights the seamless mix of the strength in martial arts and the grace of classical Chinese dance and contemporary styles. The beauty and vigour of dance and movement, displayed together as one and also each its own way.

Beauty Of Tradition

Venue: Dance Ensemble Singapore
Time: 7.30pm – 9pm (on 17 July)

This is a highly sought after Chinese ethnic and classical dance featuring the rich cultural and heritage of our Chinese tradition. This performance will showcase, “Tradition”, “Classic”, “Neo- tradition” and “Neo-Classic”. The beauty of Chinese classical and ethnic dance performing genres, depicting the beauty of tradition and the need to preserve this valuable quality in life and also focused on an evolution of tradition by using Chinese contemporary dancing to depict how tradition can also be relevant in contemporary times.
The performance highlights the seamless mix of the strength in martial arts and the grace of classical Chinese dance and contemporary styles.

Highlights at Fort Canning Green
Ballet Under the Stars (Admission Fee applies. Tickets from SISTIC)

Time: 730pm (pre-show performances start at 630pm)

Singapore Dance Theatre’s popular Ballet Under the Stars returns this July featuring Concerto Barocco by George Balanchine, Piano Concerto No. 2, Opus 102 by Edmund Stripe, Don Quixote pas de deux, and the premiere of Evening at the Ritz by American choreographer Molly Lynch.

Free admission to all galleries at the National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, SAM at 8Q, The Peranakan Museum and The Substation till 2am.

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