Arts Picks: An underground city of the future in a historic district, Arts News & Top Stories

Arts Picks: An underground city of the future in a historic district, Arts News & Top Stories

Sub/merged and An Unnatural History

Though the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is still undergoing renovation, passersby can glimpse a city of the future and scenes from the past in two new hybrid works on the hoardings surrounding its buildings.

Sub/merged, artist Finbarr Fallon’s work on the Bras Basah Road hoarding of the main building, visualises a subterranean city of the future.

Fallon, an architectural photographer, has previously proposed large-scale underground living in Singapore in his work Subterranean Singapore 2065, which was part of the ArtScience Museum’s exhibition 2219: Futures Imagined last year.

In Sub/merged, he builds on the network of sub-surface passages and transit corridors around the site of the museum, which is located in a highly regulated historic precinct where there are restrictions on building heights, due to the many national monuments in the area.

In the city of his vision, trees grow in suspension under solar collectors and artificial light; robot gardeners tend to walls of vertical hydroponic crops; and submarines and ferries carry commuters through the water pipe network.

The mural features three augmented-reality “portals” with QR codes that will make them open up and come alive on your screen.

The SAM at 8Q hoarding along Queen Street features An Unnatural History by illustrators Darel Seow and Lee Xin Li.

This bounteous mural melds snapshots of the area’s history with a panoply of wildlife – from street scenes outside the old Victoria Building, constructed in 1925, to fantastical crowds of flying fish, mammals and birds. There are 168 species depicted; viewers are encouraged to try and spot them all.

WHERE: Singapore Art Museum, Bras Basah Road and Queen Street

MRT: Bras Basah; Dhoby Ghaut

WHEN: Till June 6, daily


INFO: Singapore Art Museum’s website. To find out more about the murals, go to Sub/merged’s website and An Unnatural History’s website respectively

Where The Wild Beasts Feed


In this digital production by dance company Arts Fission, professional dancers alongside the children of the annual Young People Environmental Dance-Theatre programme play wildlife who are forced to forage for food in an urban wasteland.

WHERE: Sistic Live

WHEN: Monday (Jan 4) to Jan 31

ADMISSION: $10 via Sistic (call 6348 5555 or go to Sistic’s website)

INFO: Arts Fission’s website

Erasure – The World Tournament


Those who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s may fondly recall “eraser wrestling”, in which players collected erasers with country flags printed on them and tried to flip them on top of their opponents’.

Revisit those days with this eraser wrestling contest organised at The Substation by associate artist Shaiful Risan as part of the Proposals For Novel Ways Of Being initiative.

Shaiful, 38, was himself an avid eraser wrestler in primary school. It may seem like a juvenile pastime, he says, but one could also see it as geopolitical allegory. The project arose from his “absurdist hope” that international conflicts might be easily resolved via eraser wrestling, instead of through war and atrocity.

The title, Erasure, is partly wordplay, but also alludes to global changes through the years that have “erased” memories, cultures and entire nations. For example, one of the erasers used in the match has the flag of Yugoslavia, a nation which no longer exists.

The tournament will feature 16 teams in a knockout format, using flag erasers from the early 1990s. Subsequently, these will be part of a gallery exhibition at The Substation.

WHERE: The Substation, 45 Armenian Street

MRT: Bras Basah

WHEN: Tournament next Friday (Jan 8), 7.30to 9pm; exhibition from Jan 9 to 16

ADMISSION: Tickets to watch the tournament are $8 from this website. Contestants, who should be aged 16 and above, can register for free at by Tuesday (Jan 5)

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