Brave New Art

Published on 26 February 2017

This year’s NUS Arts Festival takes on a futuristic outlook. Here are some event highlights.

By Daphne Ong

Sixteen days, more than two dozen events, and countless hours of artistic passion. The National University of Singapore’s (NUS) current installation of its annual arts festival, on from 10-25 Mar, orbits the theme ‘Brave New Worlds’. Inspired by Aldous Huxley’s dystopian vision, ‘Brave New Worlds’ explores perceptions of the future through art and creation, bringing audiences a line-up of bold, boundary-bending experiences.

REMEMBER WHEN…

Photo: Fang Yuan

NUS Dance Ensemble
17 Mar, 8pm, UCC Hall
$19 (students), $27

The Festival opens with a collaboration between NUS Dance Ensemble, the Department of Architecture and the Department of Geography in an exploration of how changes in Singapore’s landscape over time affects the memories and sense of belonging of its people.

WHAT DOES ‘A BRAVE NEW WORLD’ MEAN TO YOU?

 “A transcendent space where I don’t have to be myself.” — Zaini Tahir, choreographer

VIBRATIONAL

Photo: Philipp Aldrup

The Observatory featuring NUS Guitar Ensemble and NUS Talents
25 Mar, 8pm, UCC Hall
$19 (students), $27

Thirty young guitarists comprise this huge ensemble churning out vibrations of shifting rhythms. The beat frequencies produced by the interactions between guitars, plus varied sounds through synth bass and oscillators, magnify the multi-dimensional qualities of music and sound.

DEAR MISS YE

Photo: Back Alley Creations

By NUS Chinese Drama
17 & 18 Mar, 8pm, UCC Theatre
$19 (students), $27

What would happen when old- and new-world values clash in a rapidly changing society? Five friends are faced with this question when a surprise birthday celebration takes a dark turn. Adapted from Dear Elena Sergeevna by Russian playwright Lyudmila Razumovskaya, this production asks hard questions about moral and value systems in a time of change.

WHAT DOES ‘A BRAVE NEW WORLD’ MEAN TO YOU?

“To redefine boundaries and hear the voice of the unheard.” — Dehlui Liu, director and Year 3 Project & Facilities Management student

THE GOLDEN RECORD

NUS Stage
17 Mar, 8pm; 18 Mar, 3pm & 8pm; UCC Dance Studio
$19

This exploratory piece is inspired by the golden phonograph record that left Earth on the Voyager 1 spacecraft on its journey through the solar system and beyond. Based on accounts from various people involved in the Voyager 1 process, The Golden Record is a theatrical chronicle of humanity’s message into interstellar space.

WHAT DOES ‘A BRAVE NEW WORLD’ MEAN TO YOU?

“My idea of a brave new world lies at the intersection of arts and sciences. I believe art, and the stories we tell to make sense of our world today, will outlive us as we enter the brave new world of tomorrow.” — Edith Podesta, director

THE QUANTUM MUSIC PROJECT

Photo: Courtesy of LP Duo

LP Duo with Dragan Novkovic, Vlatko Vedral & Andrew Garner With support from the Centre for Quantum Technologies (NUS)
21 & 22 Mar, 8pm, UCC Dance Studio
$19

Witness a live experiment in art and science on stage. Collaboration between pianists, musicologists and engineers in Europe have produced hybrid piano instruments. The modifications make sound behave like quantum waves, creating new musical possibilities which explore the interface of music and quantum physics.

INTEMPO 2017: RISE OF THE TRANSHUMAN

Photo: Kinetic Expressions Photography

NUS Wind Symphony
19 Mar, 8pm, UCC Hall
$19 (students), $27

This musical journey explores the implications of transhumanism, the ideology of enhancing human intellectual, physical and psychological capacities through advanced technology. This innovative performance weaves electronic music into traditional wind-band music and premieres a special commissioned work by emerging Japanese composer Daisuke Shimizu.

WHAT DOES ‘A BRAVE NEW WORLD’ MEAN TO YOU?

“I think the future has unlimited possibilities. I will make effort to write works that can maximise the possibilities of that.” — Daisuke Shimizu, music composer

2062

Photo: Gerardo Sanz

Karla Kracht & Andrés Beladiez
24 & 25 Mar, 8pm, UCC Dance Studio
$19

Nine months of research into forms of storytelling, shadow play, live video, sound, and animation resulted in the world of 2062, where every piece seen in this world was created from scratch by both artists. This carefully crafted world delves into the fragility of memory, its relationship with time, and how it shapes our identity. On 25 Mar (10am-4.30pm), join the two artists in an interactive public workshop and learn how their creative process translates their ideas into intermedia performances using elements such as multimedia, puppetry and sculpture.

MORE SHOWS!

Apart from the main line-up, the NUS Arts Festival also features nine in-conjunction shows playing at various venues on campus and at the Esplanade. Watch out for The Raga Journal by the NUS Indian Instrumental Ensemble on 20 Mar at the Esplanade Recital Studio.

This evening of ragas journals the universal passage of life, turning the pages of significant human experiences.

EXHIBITIONS

The NUS Museum features five Festival exhibitions, including Crater Studios by Zurich-based artist collective U5. Portraits of 17 Javanese volcanoes will be created from materials gathered in the broader ETH-Zurich Future Cities Laboratory Singapore research project, Tourism and Cultural Heritage: A Case Study on the Explorer Franz Junghuhn.

ARTS OUT LOUD

This latest Festival platform features a lively evening of electronic music and live painting at the Alice Lee Plaza on 10 Mar. Look out too for a series of pop-up performances in unexpected spaces throughout campus from 13-16 Mar.

OPEN YOUR ART

Art is not confined to theatres and auditoriums. The NUS Arts Festival also uses unconventional spaces, such as those below, to bring art to everyday spheres.

PREP-ROOM

NUS Museum’s prep-room is an open gallery where curators can present content, experiments and ideas. The set-up encourages audience participation as well as long-term interest in projects. It won the first-ever University Museums and Collections Award for the most significant innovation or practice in a university museum or collection.

ALICE LEE PLAZA

This open space, which links the creative spaces of the NUS Museum, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory and the University Cultural Centre, is a hot favourite among the varsity crowd, who use it for everything from concerts to exhibitions to picnics!

For more details, visit www.nus.edu.sg/cfa/NAF_2017/index.html.

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