The Light to Night 2024 festival in Singapore is a captivating celebration dedicated to the arts. It is one of the marquee events of Singapore Art Week. It is an annual highlight in the Singapore cultural calendar. The event is taking place in the City hall and Marina Bay area, this festival extends the opening hours of prominent museums and performance arts venues, including the Victoria Theatre, the Esplanade, Arts House, The Asian Civilisation Museum (ACM), National Gallery, and even the Funan mall. Lets check out the night event!
Arts House Projection and Art
Building façade projections seem to be the name of the game here. One of the festival’s focal points is the Arts House, where innovative building façade projections steal the spotlight. The Winter Sonata Summer Mookata projection by Kunckles and Nitch takes you on a mind-bending journey through pop culture references. Also, most of the projections at lit till midnight during the festival.
Moreover, the Arts House lawn features an 8-bit Word Cloud by Justin Loke. It is an interactive art piece which harmonises the precision of “clocks” with the unpredictability of “clouds”. It is inspired by Karl Popper’s essay “On Clocks and Clouds”, encouraging you to embark on a scavenger hunt to reconstruct a poem.
Also, this outdoor art installation features a poem within its pixelated blocks. You can find the missing letters in a scavenger hunt with the missing letters scattered across six art benches throughout the Civic District.
Additionally, within the Art house is an event called Textures 2024 which runs to 28 Jan 2024 within the Arts House. It invites exploration of Singapore literature (SingLit) through various art installations and performances.
The Arts House also houses a pop-up store flea market, a permanent gallery covering arts personalities in Singapore, and a women’s art collective on the upper galleries, showcasing contemporary abstract and expressionistic artworks for sale.
Also, the building has a permanent exhibition on the ground floor covering personalities on the Arts of Singapore. Interestingly, the exhibition implements an RFID tag system for interactive engagement and voting on the various exhibits. It is tad reminiscent of the SINGAPO人 permanent exhibition we visited at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre.
Padang Street food and Saga seeds
Moving to the Padang open field, the festival transforms the area into a visual and culinary delight. The Wings of Change art display piece by Kumari Nahappan dominates the field here. It features inflatable saga seeds, drawing reference to the Saga tree, symbolising energy, hope, and the need for conservation in the face of climate change.
Moreover, the food street along St Andrews road adds a culinary dimension to the festival, offering a variety of street food options served from booths and food trucks despite a light drizzle during the visit.
Also, the food street sits on the length of St Andrews road in front of the Padang, which is closed to vehicular traffic. for the night, allowing guests to wander freely on the closed public road which added more space to the venue.
In addition to the Saga seeds, there are also a couple of lit standees with motivational words placed along the night food street. On the Padang, two independent projections on the National Gallery building create a mesmerizing display.
However, one projection on the old supreme hall building side is less impressive, failing to highlight the majestic columns and facade of the building.
The National Gallery
The National Gallery itself hosts captivating art exhibits, such as Rapture by Victor Tan at the National Gallery Padang Atrium ground floor. It features eight life-sized human figure wire sculptures suspended in mid-air. It depicts suspension and seemingly floating and flying in the foyer open space.
Also, the Rapture artwork also sits in the foyer open space which has a stage for life performances ranging from live band music, roaming percussion drums to DJ mixes as well as a small marketplace in the building basement.
Also, the National Gallery library has a projection on it’s rotunda dome, taking you a journey through history covering scenes of early Singapore. It is quite a spectacular sight itself.
Also, all the National Gallery galleries including ticketed temporary exhibition are all opening to visitors. Entry is free for Singaporeans and PRs. Within, the National Gallery City Hall Wing at Level 2, you can find the Ping Pong Go-Round in Singapore. It allows a player in the center of the circle to play with all players around the circular table.
The exhibit sits in the open space just outside DBS Singapore Gallery 2. Interestingly, the Ping Pong Go-Round exhibit was first presented in Melbourne as part of a series of exhibitions organised by artist and curator Ryszard Wasko.
A walk through history at Victoria Theatre
A historical journey unfolds at the Victoria Theatre and Concert hall, where building projections showcase early scenes of Singapore. Though I found the festival does has quite an over emphasis on building projections, there is one on every building facade. Despite an abundance of building projections, the one at Victoria Theatre stands out as one of the better ones.
Also, the Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall, primarily a performance arts venue during the festival, with a schedule of theatre performances during the Art Festival, hence, you won’t expect much to see here unless you have tickets to their events.
Furthermore, sitting on the Victoria’s Theatre’s Empress lawn is the Wayang Spaceship by Ming Wong. It offers an operatic symphony of light, sound, and image, reclaiming its former role as a travelling Chinese theatre, illuminating the past, present and future with an operatic symphony of light, sound and image.
Notably, we previously came upon the Wayang Spaceship previously at the Singapore Art museum (SAM) at Keppel, with the artwork commissioned by The Everyday Museum being transplanted right here on the Empress lawn.
Dance party at ACM
The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) transforms into a dance party venue with the Party Pavilion by Howie Kim. Sitting on the front Green Pavilion of the ACM, the artwork is a short walk from Victoria Theatre, and inspired by theme parks and ACM’s collection, the installation captures the exuberance of adolescence.
Unfortunately, technical difficulties powered off the light installation during the visit, though you are free to explore the display under the Singapore Central Business District skyline.
Dragon eggs and Gacha at Funan
Lastly, Funan mall serves as the concluding venue of the Light to Night festival. The Gachapartment Complex, a riotous and colorful display along the B2 Underground Pedestrian Link, provides a glimpse into a hidden utopia where toys live complex lives.
Additionally, Funan is also decorated with several Dragon eggs scattered throughout Funan mall. You can find some in the Basement as well as the mall entrance facing St Andrews cathedral. It adds a whimsical touch, showcasing the venue’s commitment to supporting various arts-related displays.
Notably, we do start to see increasingly many such night festivals becoming more common in the Singapore city hall and Civil district. This one held early this year is one focused more on the Art, other staples includes the Singapore Night Festival, and i-Lights too.
The organisers did a nice touch by blending in multiple events around the island from Light to Night as part of the Singapore Arts Week.
Also, you can find several info board and touch screens scattered at malls and venues supporting the event. It can show you points of interest as well as recommend walking routes to catch them within the civic district.
In conclusion, the Light to Night 2024 festival offers a rich tapestry of arts and culture. Despite a compact layout, the exhibits provide a diverse and immersive experience, encouraging exploration within an hour. This festival stands out as a unique blend of visual arts, performances, and culinary delights, making it a must-visit for art enthusiasts and festival-goers alike.