Tote smartphone lanterns at Gardens by the Bay this Mid-Autumn festival

'Reflection of the Moon', one of the lantern sets showcased at Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay.
'Reflection of the Moon', one of the lantern sets showcased at Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay.PHOTO: GARDENS BY THE BAY
'The Matchmaker', one of the lantern sets showcased at Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay.
'The Matchmaker', one of the lantern sets showcased at Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay.PHOTO: GARDENS BY THE BAY
'Chang Er', one of the lantern sets showcased at Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay.
'Chang Er', one of the lantern sets showcased at Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay.PHOTO: GARDENS BY THE BAY
'The Jade Rabbit', one of the lantern sets showcased at Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay.
'The Jade Rabbit', one of the lantern sets showcased at Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay.PHOTO: GARDENS BY THE BAY
'The Ten Suns', one of the lantern sets showcased at Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay.
'The Ten Suns', one of the lantern sets showcased at Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay.PHOTO: GARDENS BY THE BAY

SINGAPORE - Old and new will meet in a brilliantly lit mash-up at Gardens by the Bay's celebration of Mid-Autumn Festival next month (September).

This year marks the first time visitors can use their mobile phones as a "lantern" and join in a mass lantern procession taking place on Sept 4 at the annual Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay festivities.

It entails downloading a smartphone application on a handset, attaching a lantern phone casing and affixing the mobile phone onto a selfie stick, to mimic carrying an actual lantern.

The casing was designed by Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) lecturers, who were also involved in the app's development.

Visitors using the app will see their phones light up in different shades of colours as they walk down the lantern procession route.

The app can be downloaded for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play store from Aug 24.

The 10,000 lantern phone casings will be given out free on a first-come-first-serve basis on the day of the procession. Selfie sticks are also available in limited numbers and visitors are encouraged to bring their own.

The mid-autumn event, in its fourth year, is jointly organised by Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH's) Chinese Media Group and the National Arts Council, in partnership with the National Library Board and the People's Association.

The festival will run from Sept 3 to 18 and President Tony Tan Keng Yam will officially launch it on Sept 4.

Ms Ong Chui Leng, Gardens by the Bay's Director of Programming said on Tuesday (Aug 16) that the gardens aimed for an "old-meets-new twist" for the festival.

"That's why we've collaborated with the SUTD to come up with a unique interactive lantern that leverages on the ubiquitous smartphone to provide light."

The event's mass lantern procession involving phones will bring festival-goers to the highlight of this year's celebrations - 10 massive lantern sets, some up to 27-m long, depicting scenes from Asian myths related to the moon.

In another nod towards introducing more modern elements in this year's event, multimedia installation Ron Arad's 720 Degrees, brought in by the Singapore International Festival of Arts, will also be featured.

The 18-m wide circular installation resembles a gigantic lantern visitors can admire from the outside and in, with its 6,000 curtain-like silicon strands that light up with images and videos.

Visitors can also catch nightly performances featuring multiracial performers at the mid-autumn event. They can also enjoy riddle games down at the craft booths, while those hungry for a quick bite can head down to a food street and be delighted with options such as salted egg fries.

There are also free nightly storytelling sessions sharing tales of the moon to keep children occupied.

As part of the celebrations, SPH's Chinese Media Group will also organise a special colouring event at the garden on Sept 4. Visitors can participate for $10 and the net proceeds from the event will be donated to the beneficiaries under President's Challenge 2016.

janlee@sph.com.sg

For more information, visit www.gardensbythebay.com.sg.