Beyond earth: ArtScience Museum's new films and virtual reality experiences will send you soaring to space

Beyond earth: ArtScience Museum's new films and virtual reality experiences will send you soaring to space
PHOTO: Faber Courtial

For thousands of years, humankind has gazed into the deep, dark sky and wondered: What's out there?

And in the last few decades, we've taken baby steps into space's endless mysteries, discovering worlds and wonders beyond imagining.

Beyond space travel, that boundless curiosity has spilled over into the creation of cutting-edge art experiences, and nowhere more so than at Singapore's ArtScience Museum.

From Nov 25, 2021 to Feb 27, 2022, the museum is launching us into space with Beyond Earth, an interstellar-themed programme of films and virtual reality artworks.

Up for sci-fi thrillers, dreamy documentaries on space travel, and even a flight to the moon via a VR headset? Here's our rundown of the programme highlights.

Immerse in VR space missions with Spacewalkers

PHOTO: Faber Courtial

Most of us might never get to live our astronaut dreams, but here's the next best thing: A virtual reality leap into space.

Over at the freshly launched VR Gallery, ArtScience Museum is set to push the frontiers of immersive experience with Spacewalkers.

Spacewalkers follows hot on the heels of Hyperrealities - the VR Gallery's debut programme starring contemporary artists Olafur Eliasson, Marina Abramović, and Anish Kapoor - and you can expect tickets to sell out just as swiftly.

Crafted by leading German VR studio Faber Courtial, Spacewalkers features two exhilarating VR artworks that plunge us into outer space.

First premiered at the Venice International Film Festival 2020, the experiences were moulded with exclusive archival footage and NASA recordings from the Apollo missions - which means you can expect to relive a slice of history in rich, authentic detail.

1st Step - From Earth to the Moon (2019) traces the footsteps of the legendary Apollo mission that took mankind's first step on the moon.

Forget simply learning about their awe-inspiring journey - you can now experience the view from right inside the command capsule, plummet through the dizzying depths of space, and soak up lunar landscapes recreated in 3D.

Meanwhile, 2nd Step - From the Moon to Mars and Beyond (2018) takes us hurtling beyond Earth's orbit and onward to the mysterious Red Planet - Mars.

This VR film propels us through the jaw-dropping settings of current and future space missions, drawing on the stirring music of Debussy and Ravel to introduce an emotional dimension to the documentary.

Spacewalkers will run from Nov 25, 2021 to Feb 27, 2022 at VR Gallery, ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974.

Tickets are priced from $16 (Singaporean adults) and $12 (Singaporean concession).

Catch space-themed films in Beyond Earth

The Space That Makes Us Human by The Karman Project. PHOTO: NOWNESS

The latest series in the ArtScience on Screen programme, Beyond Earth is nothing short of a cinematic journey to the stars.

From award-winning thrillers to groundbreaking documentaries, the rich selection spans youthful fantasies about spaceflight, explorations of meteorites, and poetic odes to the moon.

The best part? Most of the films are free admission, so be sure to book your ticket to space quickly.

November-December films

Arrival. PHOTO: 2016 Xenolinguistics, LLC

This holiday season, you can look forward to catching a lineup of family-friendly films.

Take a trip to a not-so-distant future with Dennis Villeneuve's acclaimed Arrival (2016), based on Ted Chiang's award-winning novella Story of Your Life.

With the arrival of twelve alien spacecraft across Earth, and linguist Louise Banks must race to decode the aliens' language, in order to unravel their mysterious messages about a "weapon" - one with disturbing implications for humankind's perception of time.

For your little ones, get their imaginations soaring with two fun fantasy animations.

Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out (1989) is a throwback to the first of Nick Park's award-winning comedy series, in which eccentric inventor Wallace and his dog blast off in a homemade rocket to find out if the moon is really made of cheese.

Meanwhile, Moomins and the Comet Chase (2010) stars Moomintroll's adventure to a remote observatory with his forest friends, where they learn of dreadful news: a ferocious comet blazing toward Moominvalley.

January-February films

Gagarine. PHOTO: Anticipate Pictures

For the coming year, film buffs can expect a provocative lineup of arthouse films, including Southeast Asian and Singaporean premieres.

One highlight to catch is certainly Gagarine (2020) - a debut by Fanny Liatard and Jeremy Trouilh that rocketed to acclaim at Cannes 2020.

Set in the decaying Parisian estate of Gagarine Cite, this haunting film stars 16-year-old dreamer Youri - a boy who wants to be an astronaut, and who sets out to save his beloved home from demolition by turning it into his "starship".

Making its Singapore premiere, Tadhg O'Sullivan's To The Moon (2020) is a dreamy, cinematic ode to Earth's only natural satellite - one that weaves archival footage and literary snippets into a meditation on the moon's meaning for people across centuries.

Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds. PHOTO: Sandbox Films

Documentary lovers, Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds (2020) should tickle your fancy.

Directed by Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer, the film delves into the earth-shaking cultural impacts of meteorites across time - from the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs to the Black Stone believed to have fallen from Paradise.

Then hop aboard a cross-continental journey with Planetary (2015), a documentary by Planetary Collective USA.

In the face of climate change, this visually stunning film calls for a mindset shift in perceiving our planet as interconnected.

Beyond Earth will run from Nov 25, 2021 to Feb 27, 2022 at ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974.

Ticketed films (Gagarine and Planetary) are priced at $5, while admission to all other films is free. Pre-booking for film screenings is recommended; book your slots online here.

ALSO READ: Ever seen headphones made of chamber pots? ArtScience Museum's ode to sound art is a must-see (and must-hear)

This article was first published in City Nomads.

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