After-dark shows at ArtsScience Museum

SINGAPORE - Arty night owls will have a new hangout next week with the start of ArtScience Museum's free, monthly after-dark performance series.

ArtScience Late, starting next Thursday, takes place on one Thursday night a month at the Marina Bay Sands museum. It will feature shows by both local and international artists, mixing up genres such as dance, music and visual art.

First in the line-up next week is a collaboration between beatboxer Charles Wong and video artist Quincy Teofisto. Beat Box It! is on at the museum's Expression Gallery, level four, at 8.30pm.

"All I can say is, expect the unexpected," says Wong, 28, who will be using tools such as a loop pedal to add layers to his vocal sounds during the show.

He says the collaboration is a dream come true. "I've always wanted to see the visual resonance of my beats."

Besides showcasing his vocal percussion techniques, Wong will also teach the audience how to "drop a beat". He adds: "I advise everyone to come with an open mind, an open mouth... and plenty of mouthwash."

Interactivity is a key element of ArtScience Late, says its 40-year-old curator Vanini Belarmino.

"ArtScience Late is a succession of performances that plays with the notion of body as an instrument, body working with instruments, body in space," she says. "These performances will not be complete without active engagement and participation by the public."

The series is aimed at bringing the museum to life after sundown, as well as introducing a different vibe to it.

"Once a month, the museum transforms into a buzzy, chill-out, night-time destination" says Ms Honor Harger, 38, executive director of the museum. The museum, she adds, is keen to showcase a new generation of performers who "work at the intersection of art, technology and science". "It's about what happens when you bring different modes of practice together," she says.

While there is something for everyone, the organisers expect the series to appeal most to those aged below 30. This group is most likely to enjoy staying out late and having fun in town.

So far, the museum has lined up a total of nine shows until January next year. Visual artist Urich Lau, sound and performance artist Kai Lam, and Japanese violinist Yuzuru Maeda are the next performers - on June 12 with Life Circuit.

The ArtScience Museum will be open till 10pm for ArtScience Late events and drinks will be sold at the bar in the museum lobby.

From 7 to 10pm on ArtScience Late nights, those who attend the shows can also buy one-for-one standard tickets to the museum's touring exhibitions.

Arts management student Tricia Tang is looking forward to the upcoming ArtScience Late nights. "The whole idea of featuring different styles every month is quite exciting," says Ms Tang, 20, who regularly attends theatre productions and exhibitions.

"I like watching shows on weekday nights because it is less crowded," she adds. "It's a good form of entertainment after a hectic day." The ArtScience Museum is not the only museum in Singapore with a late-night programme.

The Singapore Art Museum and Asian Civilisations Museum have extended opening hours on Fridays until 9pm.

And the annual Singapore Night Festival, organised by the National Heritage Board every August, sees the National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Art Museum and its 8Q annexe, Peranakan Museum and The Substation staying open until 2am. Visitors to the festival can enjoy special performances and installations, as well as free admission to the museum's exhibits.

Last year's Singapore Night Festival attracted more than 500,000 visitors.

This article was published on May 16 in The Straits Times.

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