Talk about thinking outside the box

It’s that time of the year again—when the Bras Basah.Bugis precinct lights up after the sun goes down for a full week of nocturnal revelry. The Singapore Night Festival is officially back from Aug 17-25; this year, they’ve gone beyond just local and international artists to include contributions from pretty unexpected individuals too.

Called Bring on the Night, the 2018 edition has chosen to spotlight people from different disciplines and backgrounds—from tech geeks to accountants and consultancy firms. More than 60 partners are involved—with 16 light installations and a total of 27 performances across genres on show from Aug 23-25, during the Festival’s performance segment in the program.


A Thousand Skies by Suzann Victor

So expect to see a lot of ‘X meets Y’-type collaborations this year. For one, the art of dance meets technology in a collaboration between local jazz dance troupe EV Dance and engineering firm Hope Technik, which will see the dancers in light-up skeleton suits designed by the latter. Another immersive installation, Graffiti Alive, partners graffiti art and motion sensor technology from architectural consultancy firm Arup Singapore to bring local street art at Armenian Street to life.

Otherwise, look forward to the performances happening in the last two days of the Festival, curated for their propensity for audience participation. FierS a Cheval (‘Proud Horses’ in French) by French outdoor theater troupe Company Quidams replaces last year’s roving lightbulb heads with giant roving luminous horses, while Spanish percussion troupe Deabru Beltzak will collaborate with Singapore’s own percussion group MOTUS for a rousing display of dance, percussion and fire (Su a Feu).


FierS a Cheval by Company Quidams


Su a Feu by Deabru Beltzak. Photo credit: Pablo Urkiola

It being the 11th edition puts the festival in that awkward place between a grand-slam 10th anniversary, and the hazy uncertainty of what else to show for future editions. The current thread of night festival programming inarguably trends towards interactive lights that make good photo ops—other acts for this year’s line-up include a flowing “wave” of light rods suspended over water (Light Wave), an underwater forest of light-up corals on the National Museum of Singapore lawn (Aquatic Dream), and more projection mapping. At least it’s still pretty.

Festival Director Angelita Teo had said: “As we enter a new decade of SNF, we wanted to challenge ourselves to expand on the idea of creativity and explore possible synergies”—accounting for the new collaborations between practitioners outside of the arts. Could it be a viable solution to the spate of been-there-seen-that art? Pixar might have popularized the notion that “Anyone can cook!” but we’ll have to wait till August to see if the same goes for art.


Singapore Night Festival 2018 happens Aug 17-25, 7:30pm-12mn, at various locations around the Bras Basah.Bugis precinct. More information here.