Artworks move into Woodlands

Artist Michael Lee's How Are Things installation at the Woodlands Stadium (top) and a performance that is part of the Jumbo Fabrica arts trail (above).
Artist Michael Lee's How Are Things installation at the Woodlands Stadium (above) and a performance that is part of the Jumbo Fabrica arts trail.PHOTO: PLACING HOME: WOODLANDS
Artist Michael Lee's How Are Things installation at the Woodlands Stadium (top) and a performance that is part of the Jumbo Fabrica arts trail (above).
Artist Michael Lee's How Are Things installation at the Woodlands Stadium and a performance that is part of the Jumbo Fabrica arts trail (above).PHOTO: PLACING HOME: WOODLANDS

The Arts In Your Neighbourhood programme moves north this month with an installation in the stadium and other arts events

Residents who exercise at Woodlands Stadium might have noticed small changes at the grandstand over the past two weeks.

Some of the seats are now covered in luminous holographic stickers, giving them a 1960s space-age feel. There are also giant letters, spelling out the phrase, "How are things", across the grandstand steps.

These elements are part of an anamorphic art installation, created by Singaporean artist Michael Lee, 46, as part of the Arts In Your Neighbourhood programme. The programme, organised by the National Arts Council, will showcase contemporary and performing arts at 18 locations across Singapore from Thursday to Nov 25.

Lee says he and the stadium manager made a conscious decision to not put up barricades while the work was being installed. This intrigued some of the people who use the stadium, from football players and joggers in the evening to people attending yoga and dance classes right on the steps where the work is installed.

Lee adds: "The community noticed something seemed to be happening. Some were curious: 'Wow. what's this?' Others attempted to interpret: 'I know, the shiny chairs are from a spaceship?' I noticed some joggers looking at the grandstand to find the sweet spot to read the words."

  • VIEW IT / HOW ARE THINGS BY MICHAEL LEE

  • WHERE: Woodlands Stadium

    WHEN: Till Jan 31

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: For more details, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/245321686153456/

  • THE RUBBISH PRINCE BY 3PUMPKINS

  • WHERE: Various locations including Admiralty Park

    WHEN: Nov 17 to 25

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: For more details, go to www.facebook.com/therubbishprince

  • JUMBO FABRICA BY SWEET TOOTH

  • WHERE: Kampung Admiralty Community Plaza

    WHEN: Nov 19 to 25, 11am to 6pm; Nov 24 and 25, 4 to 7pm

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: For more details, go to www.facebook.com/sweettooth.bycake

  • THE FOUR FLAVOURS OF LIFE BY TENG ENSEMBLE AND LEE WUSHU ARTS THEATRE

  • WHERE: Bedok Town Square

    WHEN: Saturday, 5 and 7pm

    ADMISSION: Free

The sweet spot, by the way, is at the top of the viewing stand opposite the grandstand, and is marked by red tape.

It is not just residents who can see the installation. Commuters on the trains between Woodlands and Marsiling stations will be able to see it too.

Lee's work is one of five installations curated by Dr Wang Ruobing, 43, which form part of the Placing Home: Woodlands exhibition. The lecturer at Lasalle College of the Arts says of the show: "The artworks are conceived and created with a locality in mind, creating a point of view that reflects how the artists respond to our time and a place like Woodlands, a pivot town that connects Singapore with Johor Baru, Malaysia."

There are more than 70 activities for this year's Arts In Your Neighbourhood, with nearly half focused on Woodlands, this season's focus town.

Besides the contemporary art exhibition, there will be live performances and other activities.

Families in Woodlands can watch out for The Rubbish Prince, a puppet show by arts company 3Pumpkins, which features a 4.5m-tall puppet created from recycled materials.

Director Danny Yeo, 45, says he hopes the whimsical creation will help "transform public areas - like parks and playgrounds - from ordinary to extraordinary, and also allow the neighbours to reimagine their living spaces".

"We wanted to create a sense of wonder in a familiar environment by breaking normalcy and surpassing assumptions of community performances through theatrical magic."

Another family-friendly show combines music with wushu. The Four Flavours Of Life presents four new music works, played by Teng Ensemble, with performances by Malaysia's Lee Wushu Arts Theatre.

Those who prefer a more hands-on experience can check out Jumbo Fabrica, an hour-long walking trail with three pit stops along the way, where participants can take a tour of a jumbo flat and watch two performances. They can also try their hand at upcycling old furniture, donated by residents, at various pop-up stations. This experience is created by Sweet Tooth, Cake Theatrical's education and outreach programme.

Jumbo Fabrica performer Nur Suhaili Safari Wijaya, 30, says the neighbourhood was the inspiration for the work: "It has unique characteristics, especially when we look at the inter-generational population, with both the elderly who still live in the old estate and young families who have created a home in Build-To-Order apartments. So, we were excited to find out about the perspectives and memories of people, from those who have stayed, studied and worked here for more than three decades to those who have just moved in."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2018, with the headline 'Artworks move into Woodlands'. Print Edition | Subscribe