Arts platform to break new ground

Arts platform to break new ground

SINGAPORE - For emerging artists eager to score a break in the crowded arts scene here, the chance for a solo show at The Substation's annual anniversary celebration, Septfest, is a coup.

Home-grown sound artist Zulkifle Mahmod, for one, says he was honoured to be picked to perform at the event in 2007, never mind that he had just returned from presenting his soundscape, Sonic Dome - An Empire Of Thoughts, at the prestigious Venice Biennale then.

Zulkifle, 38, says: "I still considered myself an emerging artist then, so it was quite a big deal to show at Septfest.

"It is an important alternative platform in Singapore where different forms of arts - visual, performing and sound - come together."

Six years on, he remains involved in the month-long festival, albeit as a curator for its popular Open Call programme, which selects and showcases works by upcoming artists. This year, three new artists will present solo works.

Sound artist James Lye, 24, who is mentored by Zulkifle, will debut Power To The. An interactive sound installation, it empowers visitors to control and manipulate samples of sounds unique to Singapore, including people speaking in a local accent.

Visual artist Kin Chui, 28, will debut a multimedia installation, Performing Coloniality. The work is inspired by the Javanese dance form, Kuda Kepang, which was once widely performed here but has since faded away from the scene. It aims to raise issues of cultural identity and post-colonialism.

The performance piece Do Gorillas Peel Bananas?, by artist Chan Sze-Wei, 33, will also premiere at Open Call. Her first full-length improvisation piece with elements of choreography and dialogue aims to tackle issues of censorship.

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