HARK!


Check out these creative responses to +EAT and SIFA X, from regional voices who have been published in PR&TA, a journal of creative praxis in Southeast Asia.

SIFA X oneirism: Art Entangling Audience

by Choo Yi Feng

In oneirism, the relationship between performer and audience is troubled in delightful ways. The direct result of a shifting, unreliable performer is an increasingly self-conscious audience. Self-consciousness entails awkwardness. It means panicking, being unsure of what to do with your presence, your body, your hands as they linger uncertainly by your sides. It’s a process not unlike that of being born.


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SOUND: LISTEN TO EXTINCT CRICKETS SCRAPE THEIR WINGS TOGETHER

by Nicola Sebastian

This creative response to +EAT's Capsule 1 – Music samples interviews, essayistic reflections, and analysis to shape its encounter with our present moment.


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Triptych

by Megan Wonowidjoyo

In this creative response to +EAT's Capsule 3 - Digital Beings, three images riff on alternate realities, existential awkwardness, and a celestial love affair.


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Rain Historian

by Shawn Hoo

In this creative response to +EAT's Capsule 2 – Movement, rain becomes the phenomenon through which to consider different worlds and world-views.


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EXPERIMENTS IN RECIPROCATION


These longform creative responses – including text, photo essays, soundscapes, digital illustrations and audio commentary – bring reflection and perspective to the performances and performance spaces of SIFA 2022.

Needful Things

by Hong Xinyi


The Once and Future and Delicate Spells of Mind are quite conceptual, cerebral creations, but they have a gentleness of spirit that presents an answer to a question that’s been in the air for a while now — how will the past two years change art? These works suggest that in isolation, a fruitful introspection is possible. They propose a little more tenderness — for our technologies, and ourselves.

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Voices for a Virtual Age: Spirituality, Technology and Art in PROTO and Remotes x Quantum

by Sheryl Gwee


Between Holly Herndon’s experimental AI music, and John Torres and Eleanor Wong’s daring blend of film, installation, poetry, and theatre, unfolds a world where we cede control over our bodies, transmuting our humanity into virtual spaces. What do we make of spirituality in an age of cybernation? Where do our voices come from, and where do they go? How might the making and the viewing of art itself be a sort of ritual? Without offering simplistic answers to these questions, the two productions open up generative spaces for imagining and questioning the “human”.

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The House is Open

Photographs by Ore Huiying
Soundscapes by Kenn Delbridge


With the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, live performances ground to a halt. For several months, Singapore’s performance venues stood empty. Subsequently, safe distancing measures allowed for audiences to return to these spaces, though not at their full capacities. This year’s Singapore International Festival of Arts marks the first major performing arts festival since the easing of Covid-19 safe management measures. In this essay, we celebrate the performance venues where SIFA 2022 unfolded, as they returned to a fuller form of life.

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Dreaming in Malay: Bangsawan Gemala Malam and Shakespeare’s Tropical Encounters

by Faris Joraimi


Bangsawan's cosmopolitan roots created a performance genre marked by creative resistance, experimentation and irreverence. Researcher and essayist Faris Joraimi examines whether Bangsawan Gemala Malam lives up to this legacy of joyful distortion.

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The Devil in Our Everyday Lives

by Justin Zhuang and Sheere Ng


A married couple watches Devil’s Cherry, a play about a married couple escaping, and reflects on the deeper desires that inform the ideas of escape, home, and possibility.

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Watching a 3-way
thinking about project SALOME

by Becca D’Bus


project SALOME is about the ritual of projecting — that thing we all do when we decide how and what we show of ourselves to the world. Drag queen Becca D’Bus unpacks the multi-layered meanings of such projections when the world the work engages includes not just the live performance of a classic text, but also the intersecting realms of drag and social media.

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Ubin: Paradise Lost and Found

by Edwin Koo


No matter how we look at it, Pulau Ubin occupies an important space in the Singapore narrative. In this photo essay, documentary photographer Edwin Koo turns his lens on the art-meets-advocacy performance that is ubin, creating images of the island that reveals itself when we reach past easy nostalgia towards a reckoning with loss, history, and a future filled with thorny questions.

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TNH AFTERIMAGES

by Dana Lam


Visual and performance artist and writer Dana Lam trips the light fantastic, in a manner of speaking, in her creative response to the lush and mesmerising experience of taking in The Neon Hieroglyph.

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Crossing Over

by Hong Xinyi


Ceremonial Enactments' exploration of devotion demands a lot from you, not least a real confrontation with the question of whether you can give yourself over to something larger. Here's what I came up with: not everybody wants to, or gets to, conceive, conjugate, and consecrate. But everybody craves to connect, somehow; to create, one way or another. Life passes like a dream, and of late has felt like a series of punches to the eye. Still, we be-frenemy our ghosts; have faith that love threads us to infinity. We walk across the great divide, even if, especially if, the bridge to travel is narrow and tenuous. We try to feel another heart beat. We re-dedicate ourselves to joy.

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Composing MEPAAN: Constructing collaboration with the Chinese orchestra

Moderated by Samuel Wong


How does the creative process actually work? MEPAAN featured three world premieres of compositions commissioned for SIFA — Island Sunrise by Eric Watson, Song of the Night Wind by Koh Cheng Jin, and March to Eternity by Wang Chenwei. In this conversation moderated by The Teng Ensemble's Samuel Wong, these three composers illuminate the ways they approached the cross-cultural nature of MEPAAN, a collaboration between the Singapore Chinese Orchestra and The Tuyang Initiative, a Sarawak-based creative agency focused on Borneo indigenous cultural heritage. They also reflect on how their personal identities are expressed in their work, and the iterative process of putting their scores to practice — because it's one thing to write, and another thing to listen.

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LITTLE HISTORIES OF BIG TOPICS


Ahead of the festival, check out a series of essays that bring contextual colour to SIFA 2022’s performance offerings.

The meanings of rituals

by Hong Xinyi


In Ceremonial Enactments, three Singaporean companies re-imagine customs and rites from Singapore's diverse cultures, enacted at moments of birth, union, and worship. Coming of age, departing from life, and staving off illness are also moments commonly structured by rituals, because these offer clear coordinates during times of profound transition into the unknown. In a changed world where we have all adopted new rituals, what now are the observances and pieties of art?

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Within Us, Always

by Alena Murang


In many Dayak  languages, there is no word for music, or for art. Yet, our community is filled with song, poetry, dance, paintings, and carvings.

Perhaps this is a testament to how engrained art and music are in the fabric of our highland communities — how there is no “performer”, no “performance”, but rather that music was a part of ritual, of togetherness, where everyone was either playing an instrument, singing together, or dancing.

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Bangsawan's past, present and future

by Jamal Mohamad


Bangsawan was once the most popular form of Malay theatre in Singapore and other parts of the Malay-speaking world. At its peak, it was performed and enjoyed by the masses, regardless of their race or heritage. Its evolution has taken it to film, television, and radio. In Singapore, bangsawan’s popularity declined tremendously some time in the late 1980s, almost disappearing entirely. But since then, there have been efforts to keep the form alive in modern interpretations or adaptations. This article will look at various efforts by local theatre and dance companies to keep the spirit of bangsawan alive, and examine the reasons behind these efforts and the impact they have had on the overall perception and popularity of bangsawan today.

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Imagining the future

by Hong Xinyi


In The Once and Future, Delicate Spells of Mind, Remotes x Quantum, and the work of Holly Herndon, imaginings of the future entwine with a fascination with the fate of human corporealities within ailing landscapes. As virtual realities and faraway places take centrestage in the human story, what do we do with the vivid vulnerabilities of flesh and home?

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The Last Island

by Marcus Ng

It's easy to forget that Singapore is an island.

It's also easy to forget that Singapore isn't just one isle, but an archipelago of more than 65 islands.

And who can blame us, when we have lost much of what made Singapore an island.

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Tracing witches

by Hong Xinyi


The Neon Hieroglyph and project SALOME deal, obliquely and otherwise, with the idea of witches, which is to say with the notions and realities of women with unsettling and transgressive powers. This essay explores shifting representations of the witch-like woman across time.

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