Imaginarium 2016: Over the ocean, Under the sea

img_3914Following our first Imaginarium experience, we had been looking forward to this annual event and glad that when it was time to check it out, we didn’t do it alone and had other kiddos come along to join in the fun which included Bubba’s cousins as well as Mama Mag and her little cutie.

Delving into the deep, Imaginarium: Over the Ocean, Under the Sea – the sixth edition of SAM’s children-focused annual exhibition – invites adventurers of all ages into the watery realms of our Earth as seen through the eyes of contemporary artists.

A whimsical introduction to the many stories and ideas that surround seascapes, Imaginarium: Over the Ocean, Under the Sea presents tactile and interactive works that encourage discovery through exploration and play. At SAM at 8Q, young people are invited to comb the shores and navigate the deep where they make the acquaintance of mysterious denizens and underwater wonders. We hope that, as protectors of the future, our young visitors will also think about the impact we have on the natural world, and of how, through inventive and wise ideas, we can save our earth and its awe-inspiring oceans.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere were a total of 7 different exhibits that the little ones could explore at Imaginarium but to be honest, I felt that it wasn’t too age-appropriate for Bubba. After getting our entry passes or in this case, stickers to SAM, we waited in line patiently to visit the Instagram-worthy art installation by Mulyana titled Where is Mogus.

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img_3947In this mixed media installation with yarn, cotton, felt, synthetic fur, vulcanised copper wire and dacron filling Dimensions variable The Mogus, an imaginary octopus monster. The young and young-at-heart have the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with whimsical sea monsters set in a colourful dream seascape.

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Through this installation, Mulyana hopes to create an environment in which visitors can interact with Mogus and his underwater friends; his soft, tactile sculptures encourage play, imagination and exploration.

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Truth be told, the kids had the most fun at this exhibition. They ran, they jumped to their hearts’ content on the super soft fish-shaped cushion and even us adults had a whale of a time fooling around with them like little kids. When the 10 minutes of free play was up, we were sad to leave but we knew that others were waiting in the queue and it’s only fair that they have their share of fun.

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One installation that featured a strong environmental theme was the Plastic Ocean installation by Tan Zi Xi. It was quite funny because the moment Bubba walked into the room, she went ‘Oh, supermarket!‘ I had to tell her otherwise, explaining the concept may be challenging to her as I was focused more on stopping her from happily pulling down the labels that looked painstakingly hung individually.

TAN ZI XI (b. 1985, Singapore) Plastic Ocean 2016 Installation with plastic, nylon string, wooden pedestals Dimensions variable An Effort Most Futile 2008 Inkjet on acid-free paper (set of 5) Dimensions variable Garbage… garbage galore! What happens when we heedlessly throw away that much garbage? 269,000 tons of plastic debris floats on the surface of our world’s oceans, creating hazardous living environments for marine life. In Plastic Ocean, artist Tan Zi Xi tackles the issue of pollution head-on with her recreation of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Comprising approximately 26,000 pieces of non-biodegradables, her installation invites viewers to experience the sensation of floating in a sea of trash. At the same time, the artwork embodies the wonders of recycling and repurposing, and the transformative power of art.

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Another installation that saw us waiting in line was this huge helium balloon exhibit in a darkened room.

KARINA SMIGLA-BOBINSKI (b. 1967, Poland) ADA 2010 Installation with PVC balloons, helium, charcoal, foil, tape 235 × 235 × 235 cm (each balloon) ADA is an interactive art-making machine, although she does not operate in the way we would normally imagine. A post-industrial “creature” that glows with the bioluminescence of denizens of the deep, ADA floats freely and is the sole light source in her confined space. While ADA requires animation from visitors, it quickly becomes clear that we hold little sway over her. A giant sphere with charcoal studs affixed to her surface, she moves through the room, making indelible marks along the walls, ceiling and floor of the gallery. These marks are only apparent when ADA moves near them, shedding light on and highlighting the consequences of visitor interaction and similarly, our relationship with the sea.

The older kids really loved this for the giant lighted sphere was almost weightless and floated quite easily around the room. Unfortunately, the Bub was knocked down by the giant balloon and ended up crying for a bit before I picked her up and continued to encourage her to play with the rest of her cousins and Ash for this activity. A total of about 5 minutes was spent exploring this particular exhibit.

img_3953We did spend some time to check out the rest of the exhibits at Imaginarium except for short film screening for I didn’t think the Bub would be able to sit still.

Imaginarium : Over the Ocean, Under the Sea exhibition is now on till 28 August 2016 at the Singapore Art Museum. If you do have some time, it will still be worth a visit for the little ones in tow. While we don’t think too highly of this year’s exhibition, we still had a lovely time and will be looking forward to next year’s edition of Imaginarium.

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