SINGAPORE - Pop singer Katy Perry once raised the possibility of speaking with inanimate objects when she crooned in her hit song Firework: "Do you ever feel like a plastic bag". And now, for the first time, people here may be able to do just that.
They can strike up conversations with street furniture like lamp posts or icons like the Merlion over a nine-day period starting from Saturday to Oct 18, as part of an arts-meets-technology festival organised by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA). The Festival of Tech was officially launched by Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim on Saturday evening at the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall. It is organised in celebration of Singapore's golden jubilee, and to mark the country's efforts to becoming the world's first Smart Nation.
During the nine-day festival, art will be used as a medium to get people talking about the impact of technology in our daily lives. Chatting with inanimate objects like lamp posts and fire hydrants, for instance, is made possible through an initiative by exhibitor PAN Studio. To take part, people just need to text the number and code attached to the object and it will "talk" back with messages left by previous recipients.
The Hello Lamp Post initiative aims to get people to rediscover their local environment, share memories of their city and uncover the stories that others have left behind. But beyond objects, they can also have conversations with iconic landmarks - the Merlion, the Helix Bridge and the Singapore Flyer are just some examples.
Another exhibit during the festival is a public sleep laboratory called The Chronarium.
It is designed by London-based Loop.pH, a design and architectural studio. At The Chronarium, Dhoby Ghaut shopping mall The Cathay is transformed into a "restorative, calm and contemplative experience" via different environmental stimuli that hopes to provide more harmonious sleep. Through such an experience, the exhibitors hope to explore the use of public space to tackle the problem of the chronic lack and poor quality of sleep that people today experience.
The Straits Times is also partnering the IDA with the launch of the Supercharging Singapore microsite, which went live at 3pm on Saturday afternoon.
On the microsite, which can be accessed here, The Straits Times recounts the 35 years of Singapore's infocommunications history.