Hands on Lenses – a curatorial debut at the ArtScience Museum Singapore

Lab coats transform you into perfect screens

Lab coats can transform you into perfect screens

I am happy to announce the Hands on Lenses exhibition at the ArtScience exhibition, curated by myself, and with most pieces fabricated by myself too.

“Have you ever observed the world upside down through a droplet of water? You were looking through nature’s own lens. Have you ever notice the bright spots under a thick tree on a sunny day? You were observing nature’s own pinhole camera manifestation, and the result of light traveling in a straight line. Lenses have been used for centuries by artists and by scientists alike to record and marvel at the world around them, from camera obscuras used to accurately draw, to microscopes to look at the unseen, and photography to record that world. With the advent of easily available lenses that can be recovered from everyday objects (disposable cameras, laser pointers, DVD players, magnifying glasses , eyeglasses…), it is possible to make simple but ever-engaging objects and contraptions, devices that harness the properties of light traveling in a straight line, and lenses bending (refracting) those lines. We now invite you to play with light with and without lenses, and get inspired to make your own.”

Conceived as an exhibition where the public can touch and manipulate the pieces to play with the lenses and basic optics, the space runs without facilitators most of the time. The goal is to get the public to look through lenses or simple holes set up to create interesting images. Some lens set ups allow you to deal with the very small (3 hand-made microscopes on display), some create real images on pieces of paper or other surfaces. Bonus: there are 4 take-home sheets for you to create these simple set-ups at home. When planning and setting up the exhibition, I followed this simple idea: “Playing gives you time to ask questions and answer them yourself”. In the words of one visitor carrying a large camera around her neck: “What you have done, is remove all the magic from these expensive and fancy cameras!” But she didn’t seem disappointed. Hands on Lenses is part of “Ocean of Possibilities”, a photography exhibition at the ArtScience Museum Singapore. Dates: 30th October – 28th December. Accompanied tours: 8, 9, 13 and 22nd November , 13th, 20th December. 3-5pm

5 Responses to “Hands on Lenses – a curatorial debut at the ArtScience Museum Singapore”
  1. Isabelle, may I know the dates?


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  1. […] a curriculum based on the pinhole to teach trouble-shooting and basic science reasoning, curating a hands-on exhibition at the ArtScience Museum, and even help to polish the “Learn to Fail” participatory […]

  2. […] In 2014, the combination of lens experiments and pinhole photography led to a show I curated for the ArtScience Museum, entitled “Hands On Lenses”.  […]

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