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New Eden: Science Fiction Mythologies Transformed exhibition

Art science museum is largely known for their unconventional and more media focused take on museums. The New Eden: Science Fiction Mythologies Transformed exhibition is one no exception either. New Eden: Science Fiction Mythologies Transformed is an exhibition that showcases the work of 24 Asian women artists and collectives who explore science fiction from a female and Asian perspective. The exhibition is curated by Art Science Museum and features over 70 artworks, including historical artefacts, films, and contemporary art. Let’s take and explore of the galleries which runs till to 3 March 2024.

New Nature gallery
New Nature gallery here on display at the Art science museum New Eden exhibition.

New Eden: Science Fiction Mythologies Transformed exhibition

Furthermore, in a nutshell, New Eden focuses on the Science fiction is a genre that imagines alternative futures and imaginary realms. It often draws from Western science and technology, but it can also be inspired by Asian philosophy and mythology.

Welcome to the New Eden.
Welcome to the New Eden.

The exhibition sees you through the Art science museum lotus structure on the museum’s third floor. The exhibition runs in an anticlockwise manner. Notably, it is similar held at the same galleries which previously hosted the Buckminster Fuller Radical Curiosity and Sneakertopia past exhibitions.

Eight sectors of Mythologies

Up here, the exhibition is divided into eight sections: Paradox of Paradise, Words and Worlds, New Nature, Ways of Folding Space, Crafting New Worlds, The Monstrous Feminine, New Myths, and In a New Light. Each section reveals a different aspect of science fiction and how it relates to Asian culture, history, and spirituality. The galleries are curated by Gail Chin, Joel Chin, Adrian George and Honor Harger, and is presented by ArtScience Museum and the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB).

A walk through time
A walk through time

Paradox of Paradise

This section examines the concept of paradise. It is often depicted as a perfect and harmonious place in many religions and myths. First off, the Mountain piece right at the gallery entrance is a center piece. Also known as the (Shangri-La) by Patty Chang. This reflective shiny mountain piece depicts a harmonious paradise hidden in the Tibetan mountains. It is a place of enduring happiness and serenity, isolated from the difficulties of the rest of the world.

Shangri-La by Patty Chang.
Shangri-La by Patty Chang.

Words and Worlds

However, paradise can also be seen as a paradox. It may hide darker realities or exclude certain groups of people. Additionally, in this gallery, these eastern traditions are presented through some historical artefacts on loan from Singapore’s Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) we previously visited.

The Words and Worlds gallery
The Words and Worlds gallery where eastern traditions are presented through some historical artefacts.
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A timeline through
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Universe in the form of a human
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Gaming chair setup

Some of the highlights and exhibits of this section are a replica of Mumbai-based Shilpa Gupta, Untitled (Heat Book), 2008–2009, as well as a wooden Funerary Gateway, from collection of Asian Civilisations Museum dating back to the late 19th–early 20th century. You can also find an 18th century, cloth painting depicting the universe in the form of a human being, India, Rajasthan or Gujarat.

Wooden Funerary Gateway
Wooden Funerary Gateway, from collection of Asian Civilisations Museum.

New Nature

Moving on, this two section gallery investigates the relationship between nature and technology. These two can be seen as opposites or allies in science fiction. It shows how science fiction artists and thinkers imagine new forms of life and ecology that challenge the conventional boundaries between organic and artificial, human and non-human, and natural and unnatural.

Some of the highlights of this section are an impressive piece here is an animated piece by Honf Foundation. It features a section with animated screens with tube like structure blending nature and Technology together. It has cyberpunk argumentation vibes too.

New Nature Honf Foundation display
New Nature Honf Foundation display

Also, here, you can find a modern freely suspended sculpture by Chok Si Xuan, latent, 2022- 2023. It is made out of modern 3D-printed material, plastic, steel, air pumps and adhesive paint, variable dimensions. There is also a Pearlescent White Snake (2018) piece by Soe Yu Nw. It consists of a hybrid creature that combines elements of a woman, a snake, and a lotus. It represents the artist’s personal and cultural identity and experiences.

Chok Si Xuan latent.
Suspended sculpture by Chok Si Xuan, latent.

Interestingly, there are two audio-visual elements here such as a gaming chair setup to watch videos on. This sector has a free but ticketed 3D cinema where you can put on shutter glasses to watch a 20-minute-long clip.

Ways of Folding Space

This section examines the concept of space, which is a key element of science fiction. Here, you can find a dark room featuring a Korean video presentation of The Ways of Folding Space and Flying. The video installation is by Moon and Jeon, shows a performance of a traditional Korean dance that involves spinning and folding a large cloth. It creates a dynamic and fluid spatial experience.

Korean video presentation
Korean video presentation of The Ways of Folding Space and Flying.

Crafting New Worlds

This section explores the concept of world-building, which is the process of creating and designing fictional worlds and settings. It draws on Asian cultural heritage and traditional craft. This chapter weaves together narratives from Asian spiritual traditions, mythology and science fiction to express hope for a more inclusive future.

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Video room
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Saya Woolfalk Cloudscape
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Monstrous Feminine gallery

Also on display here is a four channel video installation by Saya Woolfalk (Cloudscape, 2021). It is a medley of colour, sound, consisting of a colorful and whimsical figure that is part of a fictional race of hybrid beings that can change their gender, race, and species. It represents the artist’s vision of a utopian and diverse society. The display is courtesy of the artist and Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects. Also, the two artwork presented here reflect on their cultural traditions in spirit and in form. It reinforces their sense of belonging in an increasingly diverse world.

Anne Samat artwork
Anne Samat artwork: Cannot Be Broken and Won’t Live Unspoken, 2022.

Moreover, a piece by Anne Samat (Cannot Be Broken and Won’t Live Unspoken, 2022) take centerstage here. It is a large elaborate sculpture consists of a large-scale weaving that incorporates various materials and objects, such as beads, feathers, and flags. It represents the artist’s multicultural and multi-religious background and identity. The galleries here with the tribal theming leads into a more darker themed gallery focusing on traditional horrors.

The Monstrous Feminine

Moreover, this section investigates the concept of dark myths and the paranormal. The monstrous feminine is a term that describes the representation of women as monsters or threats in various myths and media. On a big projection screen here, you can find a 4 minute video depicting a lady monster by Ex Nilalang: Balud (2015). The video is brought to you by Club Ate as part of a collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Ex Nilalang Balud, a Monstrous Feminine
Ex Nilalang Balud, a Monstrous Feminine

Also, here you can find Namahage from Tokyo, a majestic sculpture which looks like an overgrown cyberpunk Star wars Ewok. The piece is courtesy of artist, Etsuko Ichihara (2017) and ISID Open Innovation Lab.

Namahage from Tokyo.
Namahage from Tokyo.

There is also a video installation by Morehshin Allahyari. The video showcases a series of 3D-printed sculptures that are based on the ancient goddesses and monsters of the Middle East. Also, these are embedded with digital information and stories that aim to preserve and revive the cultural heritage that has been destroyed by war and violence.

Also, here is a video installation by Etsuko Ichihara. It shows a futuristic funeral service that uses holograms and artificial intelligence to create a personalized and interactive memorial for the deceased. The video also explores the ethical and emotional implications of technology and death.

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Horror movies
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3D glasses
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3D short movie

Additionally, it shows how science fiction artists and feminists challenge and subvert the stereotypes and expectations of femininity and gender. It creates new identities and expressions. Here, you can find a collection of sculptures, paintings and video clips on the walls. It depict female figures and creatures that are associated with horror and violence. Examples includes Medusa, Kali, and vampires, from different cultures and regions.

New Myths

A large installation by Sputniko! and Napp Studio & Architects greets you at this gallery. Called the Red Silk of Fate- The Shrine, the display is clad in red drapes and best enjoyed with filter glasses. Also, it shows a futuristic shrine dedicated to the goddess of fate, who controls the destiny of humans through a red thread.

Red Silk of Fate Shrine.
Red Silk of Fate- The Shrine.

Moreover, this section explores the concept of myth. It is a form of storytelling that conveys the beliefs and values of a culture or a group. It shows how science fiction artists and storytellers often borrows cultural elements from myth.

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Clad in red
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In a New Light gallery
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Awakening Ceremony by Kara Chin

They create and adapt new myths that reflect the contemporary or futuristic issues and challenges of the world, such as climate change, social justice, and diversity. Summing up here, are few video displays here too. There is one by Kara Chin (Awakening Ceremony 2021) as well as from Xin Liu (White Stone, 2021).

In a New Light

This last sector reflects on the role and impact of science fiction in the current era. This is marked by rapid and radical changes in science, technology, and society. It shows how science fiction can help us understand and imagine the future, and inspire us to create positive and inclusive change.

Wrapping up, greeting you here at the gallery is a large video wall installation by Mariko Mori called Miko No Inori (1996). Notably, this piece is the poster figure for the exhibition too. Known as the “Priestess Prayer”, it shows a futuristic world where humans have evolved into a new species that lives in harmony with nature and the cosmos, and communicates through light and sound.

Miko No Inori by Mariko Mori.
Miko No Inori by Mariko Mori.

Additionally, there are a couple of video installations like one called Nova 17 by Cao Fei. It depicts a dystopian scenario where humans have abandoned the Earth and live in a virtual reality, while robots and animals roam the deserted landscape.

Lee Bul city scape.
Lee Bul futuristic city scape

Lastly, hidden behind a partition wall here is this gallery’s highlight piece. It is a free-standing sculpture by Lee Bul, which resembles a futuristic cityscape. Interestingly, it is made of materials that suggest decay and destruction, such as crystals, wires, and mirrors.

Closing display
Closing display

All in all, that wraps up our visit to New Eden: Science Fiction Mythologies Transformed. It is a unique and comprehensive exhibition that invites you to discover and appreciate science fiction in all its dimensions. The galleries here at the Art Science museum are located just off the Marina Bay Sands Shops. The temporary exhibition runs for about 6 months from 21 October 2023 to 3 March 2024. Don’t miss this opportunity to embark on an amazing journey to New Eden and beyond.

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