Of all the 7 new attractions to have opened in Singapore since the beginning of 2016, the brand new permanent exhibition at ArtScience Museum has got to be the most fun and engaging for children. Well, I dare say even adults will be left mesmerized by what the exhibition has to offer.
Opened since 12 March 2016, FUTURE WORLD: Where Art Meets Science at ArtScience Museum allows kids to imagine, play and explore in Singapore's largest digital art gallery, where 15 digital art installations come to life through cutting-edge science and technology. Think a huge indoor digital playground spanning over 1,500 square metres!
After I attended the media opening preview, I knew I had to bring the monkies down for them to experience it for themselves. And you know what? They thoroughly enjoyed it... because this exhibition has got to be ArtScience Museum's most child-friendly one to date.
This is one exhibition that truly encourages kids to actively use every part of their bodies - eyes, ears, mouths, hands, legs - and interact with the digital artworks on display. Extremely important because the installations dynamically evolve based on the kids' presence and participation!
So other than the relatively affordable admission price of S$35 for 2 adults and 2 kids (Singaporeans & PRs), here's why you need to check it out with the kiddos.
Visitors will be able to embark on a journey of discovery through four key narratives – Nature, Town, Park and Space.
The adventure begins with an enchanting stroll through an interactive world of flora and fauna comprised entirely of digital technology, recreating the experience of being connected to nature. One cool thing to note is the artwork is both generative – the plants and butterflies are created algorithmically, and reactive – they respond to touch. What this means the plants and butterflies may just wither and die respectively as you reach out to them. Pretty amazing!
Oh, and the flowers blooms in tune with the four seasons of the year so although it may be all colourful now, the flowers are replaced with other varieties come autumn and winter.
The 100 Years Sea Animation Diorama installation gives a glimpse into the future, as it illustrates the rising sea levels wrought by climate change.
The prediction of the world’s rising sea levels over a century is condensed into a ten-minute time frame. As the borders between the screen and the viewer dissolve, it creates the illusion of the viewer eventually being swallowed by the rising sea, encouraging visitors to reflect on the long-term environmental effects of climate change.
From what I observed, this section is by far the most popular with kids. And erm, even some adults too!
At Connecting! Train Block, kids work and play together to design their own transportation network. Wooden blocks, distinguished by shape and color, are used to design roads, railways and rivers. Cars, airplanes, boats and helicopters can also be added to bring life to the infrastructure.
Roads and railways appear when connections are created between the blocks, and are projected onto the table surface. As more blocks are placed on the surface, the table becomes busier, ultimately developing a cityscape.
A Table Where Little People Live is just cuteness overload. Just like what the installation's title says, little people live inside the round table.
When kids place their hands, or an object, on the table, the little people jump onto it. The actions of the little people change in response to the shape and colour of the objects which they interact with. The more they are interacted with, the more the little people become animated and playful!
Media Block Chair consists of several fiberglass light cubes which kids can use to construct colourful furniture, like chairs and benches, or structures such as walls.
The fun part of it is each block communicates information to each other when they are connected, changing colour in the process! For example, if you place red-coloured block on top of a blue one, the one on top changes colour to purple.
Sketch Town depicts a fictitious town based on Singapore, including recognisable landmarks such as Marina Bay Sands, ArtScience Museum, the Merlion, and the Singapore Flyer... and let me just say be prepared to spend loads of time at this installation!
Here, kids can let their imagination run wild, as they colour in and draw objects such as cars, airplanes, buildings, and spaceships.
Once they are done, scan them using the digital scanners onsite and watch the kids' eyes open in amazement as they see their two-dimensional pictures become animated and appear in the large projected screen! The artwork is also interactive as visitors will be able to touch them, bringing the town to life in the process.
Want something even cooler? The Sketch Town Paper Craft enables the kids to print their drawings into paper craft patterns, which can then be brought home to be assembled into 3-D models! Trust me when I say the kids will NOT stop at one, or two... or even three.
The third chapter encourages visitors to have fun, and also to appreciate and reflect on ‘play’ as an integral and essential part of human survival.
Take a moment to pause at Universe of Water Particles, located in between TOWN and PARK. This eight-metre tall digital waterfall was created in a virtual space, displaying thousands of water particles elegantly cascading down the façade of the wall.
The water particles are digitally programmed and generated to produce an accurate water fall simulation flowing in accordance to the law of physics, producing an uncannily real waterfall that appears to be alive.
If your kids are still itching for more colouring work, the Sketch Aquarium - a digitally rendered aquatic world of underwater animals - works in the same manner as Sketch Town.
Colour a variety of sea creatures on paper, scan them digitally and watch them swim to life in the virtual aquarium. The artwork grows and evolves constantly as different images are added. Kids can even feed the fish and sea creatures by touching specific images on the screen.
If some active movement is favoured, head to the Create! Hopscotch for Geniuses where the classic childhood game of Hopscotch gets a digital twist. Using tablets, kids will be able to design their own customised hopscotch game by arranging circles, triangles and squares which are then projected onto the floor.
When participants expertly land on the same shapes in succession, they trigger off beautiful colors and sounds. The effects become increasingly more vibrant as one's accuracy improves.
Even more rigorous exercise can be found at Light Ball Orchestra, where kids will have a ball of a time. Literally.
Touching one of the large balls changes the colour and sound of the balls around it, creating a ripple-like effect. Children can experiment with creating their own music freely as they run and play among a multitude of light balls, changing their sounds and colours as they touch them, There is a separate play area with smaller light balls for toddlers.
At Story of the Time when Gods were Everywhere installation, visitors can create their own environment by touching Chinese and Japanese characters, which then transform into natural elements such as wind, rain, trees and mountains.
Just as in nature where no two moments are repeated, the child experiences a new story each time he/she touches the artwork.
Despite consisting of only one installation, THIS has got to be the most beautiful, gorgeous and some say, most instagrammable part of the entire FUTURE WORLD exhibition.
Crystal Universe conjures up visions of space and the vast universe around us.
Utilising Interactive 4-D Vision technology, this artwork allows visitors to affect over 170,000 LED lights to give the illusion of stars moving in space. Yes, you can control the lighting sequence and patterns via your smartphone (link is provided at the installation).
Don't get me wrong, I still love outdoor playgrounds where the monkies can work up a perspiration. But digital indoor playgrounds like FUTURE WORLD is a great way to let the kids blend the arts and science in a creative manner. Plus, it's the perfect outing for those unbearably hot or rainy days!
We spent a total of 3 hours there on a weekend and even then, the monkies still could not get enough of it!
A word of advice: Go during a weekday if possible as it can get really crowded on weekends. Else, go really early on a weekend and purchase your tickets online beforehand because the queue at the ticket counter can be crazily long!
Oh and did you know? Children get FREE entry every Friday (up to four children under 12 years old) with every adult ticket purchased!
CONGRATULATIONS to JULIANA LIM!
You have won a ArtScience Museum's FUTURE WORLD Family Package for 2 adults and 3 children!
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for prize collection details by 27 May 2016. Thanks!
FUTURE WORLD: Where Art Meets Science
Address: ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands
Opening hours: 10am to 7pm daily (Last Admission 6pm)
Singapore Residents - Adult $14 | Child (2-12) $7 | Senior (65 & above) $11 | Family (2A&2C) $35 | Annual Pass (Individual) $90 | Annual Pass (Family) $150
Standard - Adult $17 | Child (2-12) $10 | Senior (65 & above) $14 | Family (2A&2C) $44 | Annual Pass (Individual) $90 | Annual Pass (Family) $150