SIFA 2022

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The Neon Hieroglyph

Tai Shani (United Kingdom)

Event has ended

  • 27 – 29 May, Fri – Sun, 8pm
  • Pasir Panjang Power Station
  • $35*

    * Limited concessions available for students, NSFs and seniors
    No admission for infants-in-arms. 

  • 1h, no intermission

    Floor seating will be provided for this show

  • General

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The Neon Hieroglyph

Tai Shani (United Kingdom)

Take a trip into the unconventional mind of Turner Prize award-winning artist, Tai Shani, in this exciting new iteration of her film The Neon Hieroglyph, created for SIFA 2022.

With her singular ability to build worlds of arresting and mythic beauty, British artist and the 2019 Turner Prize award winner Tai Shani draws inspiration from forgotten sources, fictional stories and collective fantasies.

The Neon Hieroglyph is a filmic performance that takes audiences into a hallucinatory universe, where Shani unleashes her artistic imagination to an unlikely subject: a speculative history of ergot, a fungus that grows on common grains, linked to mass hallucinations in Europe.

Shani weaves a series of psychedelic vignettes around ergot that encompass a historical narrative between myth and reality, including references to a continuous 450-year outbreak of ergot poisoning in Alicudi, one of seven islands that make up Italy's Aeolian islands.

With scenes set in 'impossible places', The Neon Hieroglyph segues from the cellular to the planetary, from ice cream sundaes to Palaeolithic caves, dancing plagues to communist witches, as Shani weaves her subtle commentaries on altered states, communality and speculative futures.

In the register of the fantastical, immaterial and mystical, Shani casts well-known Malaysian actress Jo Kukathas in the role of narrator for this new exciting iteration of The Neon Hieroglyph, created for SIFA 2022.

Astonishing, iconoclastic and full of surprise, The Neon Hieroglyph is a spectacular filmic performance not to be missed.


The film series The Neon Hieroglyph was commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival. The project is also commissioned by The British Art Show, and is developed in collaboration with Serpentine’s Back to Earth project. 


Learn more about The Neon Hieroglyph

Life Profusion: +READ: Tracing Witches.

The Neon Hieroglyph and project SALOME deal with the idea of witches; this essay by writer Hong Xing Yi explores shifting representations of the witch-like woman across time.

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