Textures: A Weekend with Words –
These Storied Walls
I am round to bursting with
my stories and all I ask is
that you listen.
— Jollin Tan, Full Circle
This extract from Jollin’s poem has been on the wall behind my desk for the last two years and every time I read it, I’m struck by the energy in those simple lines.
Working in a national building with as much history as I do, I cannot help but wonder what stories it has kept within its walls. The Arts House was built in 1827 and in the last 193-year history, it has been through so many transformations. It has heard the passing of court sentences and then Parliamentary Bills, rejoiced at the opening of a play, exhibition, concert and was home to a cantankerous cat named Baby for over 10 years. As The Arts House moves resolutely into its next role as the national home for Literary Arts, each person—whether writer, artist or audience member—who comes through the doors will add their mark, their story to its walls.
In this edition of Textures, we invite audiences to spend a little more time in the house, to look a little closer, and listen a little more carefully. Our programming has a heavier focus on interactive exhibitions and installations incorporating not just visual but audio elements. We hope this will provide audiences a multisensory and more accessible way to experience Sing Lit. Please come back throughout the weekend to see if you can spot or hear something different.
With Say What Ah?, the walls of the house will speak to audiences as members of the literary community whisper their favourite Sing Lit verses in your ear. Sorta Scary Singapore Stories takes a different lens through 360° VR illustrations of a story while you listen to it being read. We are also excited about a special collaboration with Master Storyteller Kamini Ramachandran and inter-disciplinary sound artist FERRY in O/Aural Waves: Spirited Words as they explore the intersection between sound and story in an installation with scheduled live performances. Audiences are invited to interact with the installation and have an opportunity to be part of the performance as well. The beautiful sounds of the gamelan will feature across three programmes: Panggilan Pulau, Adventures of a Kampung Boy, and The Village Idiot. The latter two programmes will be perfect for kids.
Textures’ programming will also be extended to the lawn of the House with our first commissioned outdoor installations featuring the worlds of Troy Chin and Sherlock Sam (AJ Low and Drewscape). In addition, we will be converting one of our rooms into comic artist Cheah Sin Ann’s studio as a way to showcase his 20-year (and counting!) career.
Textures is indeed bursting at the seams with stories—aural, visual and performative—and all we ask is for your time to share them with you.