Science meets art in Science Centre exhibition Light Field

On display: New Beginning by Muhammad Amirul (above), inspired by sunsets; and Bejewelled by Tan Yang Er (left).
On display: Bejewelled by Tan Yang Er.PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
On display: New Beginning by Muhammad Amirul (above), inspired by sunsets; and Bejewelled by Tan Yang Er (left).
On display: New Beginning by Muhammad Amirul, inspired by sunsets.PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Howie Kim photographed with his projection mapping installation, The World Revolves Around You.
Howie Kim photographed with his projection mapping installation, The World Revolves Around You. PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Visitors exploring Priyageetha Dia's installation, Transmission.
Visitors exploring Priyageetha Dia's installation, Transmission. PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Light| Dark is a mixed-media installation work by Wong King Lam, Viena Lee, Sylvester Tan and Bridgel Sze that pays homage to bioluminescence, a form of luminescence found in nature.
Light| Dark is a mixed-media installation work by Wong King Lam, Viena Lee, Sylvester Tan and Bridgel Sze that pays homage to bioluminescence, a form of luminescence found in nature. PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Before one enters the art installation, the familiar tune from the popular mobile phone game Bejeweled Blitz can be heard from a distance.

Upon entering the 96 sq ft space, one's senses are pushed into overdrive.

The room is dark, aside from the projection of the game on one of four walls. The images rest on your skin as you inevitably obstruct the projection. All this while a sweet scent fills your nose.

Smooth, glossy jewels identical to those in the game - made from foam and wood and ranging from about 0.5 to 1m in diameter - dangle from the ceiling on cables, bringing the virtual game into reality.

"It's meant to overwhelm," says the installation's artist Tan Yang Er, 24. "I'm encouraging visitors to take pictures and touch everything and, when they leave, there's that sense of emptiness that only true life and touch can fill.

"I'm hoping they realise that nothing beats true touch, which you can't get virtually."

  • BOOK IT /LIGHT FIELD

  • WHERE: Hall B, Science Centre Singapore, 15 Science Centre Road

    WHEN: Till Sunday, 10 am to 6pm

    ADMISSION: Free for Singaporeans and permanent residents on weekdays, $6 (adults) and $4 (children and senior citizens) on weekends and public holidays; $12 (adults and senior citizens), $8 (children) for foreigners

    INFO: www.visualsg.com

She explains her inspiration for the installation: "There's no way to escape technology. Games like Bejeweled are played by everyone nowadays, even the uncles and aunties on the bus, so it really gels three generations - us, our parents and even our grandparents."

Tan's mixed-media installation is one of five on display at the Science Centre Singapore till Sunday.

From neon lights and PVC sheets to large pieces of fabric mimicking sunsets, the exhibition is organised by Science Centre Singapore in collaboration with local young artists selected by Gushcloud Entertainment.

The four other pieces, a mix of art and science installations by seven other young artists, ranging in age from 21 to 27, also follow the Light Field theme.

The art-tech exhibition is part of the fourth edition of Visual SG, an annual art science festival.

Science Centre Singapore's chief executive Lim Tit Meng hopes that the centre's collaboration with youth will be seen as a statement of sorts.

"We want to make a statement to youth that if they want to co-create with us, we have the space for them," he says. "We want to collaborate with young people because they can be very creative with their energy.

"Art in the form of imagination inspires science, but science can sometimes realise the dreams of an artist."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2017, with the headline 'Gem of an installation'. Print Edition | Subscribe