2 and 1/2 D Cinema

Documenting the installation

For once, it seems like my workshops for children and my own art-making have collided in an obvious way.

After running workshops and drawing classes for children for many years, as well as observing/guiding my own children, I have an intuition into what makes (some) kids tick. At the same time, I have been spending some much time in front of the projection for my own performative lectures (and in defiance of what presentation gurus will tell you), and using the moving image for various projects. Therefore this latest project was a project waiting to happen. It is described on my workshop website as an “interactive cinema experience”, and basically lets the children walk into the cinema-like space, and walk into the beam of the projector. Soon, they figure out that their antics in front of the projection are being filmed, and they enjoy watching themselves on the TV screen, outside the projection space. If they stay long enough or come back, they start interacting with the actual film rather than just the beam of light.

It is a collaboration with Russell Morton, with whom I have made my Educational Videos, as well as the “Buang, the Lost Malay Scientist” documentary. To create the footage, we had to select from hours of footage filmed by Ivan Polunin in the 60s. The resulting films had to be dubbed because they came with no sound. This means that I got to spend hours in the little stream behind the house, recording the sound of nature, children playing and catching fish. Finally, I called on Mohamad Riduan, a sound artist/sculptor to help create the sound for one of the 5 films on display.

The result is exciting, not least because I get to observe how children interact with the work, and learn from them. I also hope that in a small way, this exhibition (together with other beautiful installations at the PlayDome) will help make children better equipped to view contemporary art. They understand that art requires a commitment and risk-taking from the part of the viewer. Hopefully, they will grow up to become responsive to alternative forms of art. The Museum text also claims they will learn about SIngapore in the 60’s; between “Children at Play”, “Fishing on the Kelong”, “On the Farm”, “Fishing in Woodlands” and “on the Beach”, I think something will stick…

Please, if you are in Singapore between the 7th and the 26th of June 2011, come to the Singapore National Museum, get your PlayDome ticket, and come and visit the 2 and 1/2D Cinema (Open everyday except Monday, 10am-6pm).

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