The ArtScience Museum

The ArtScience Museum by my left shoulder.  The double helix bridge we had to cross by Sharleen’s right shoulder.  The Marina Bay Sands Resort in the back ground.

Study the science of art.  Study the art of science.  Develop your senses – especially learn how to see.  Realize that everything connects to everything. – Leonardo da Vinci Artist and Scientist

Located at the base of the Marina Sands Resort was Singapore’s ArtScience Museum.  Like a giant cement lotus it attracted the attention from people all around.  There were several exhibits available here; however we were drawn to Singapore 2219.  Many items were “no touch” and “off limits” so looking only.  However there were some interactive items in the exhibit.

This exhibit was presented in 5 acts.

  1. Arrival
  2. Home
  3. Underworld
  4. Adaptation
  5. Memories

Act 1:

Six giant screens all showing different images pieced together in a multifaceted artistic rendition of where we are now was powerful.  A type of visual poetic argument containing images and storylines that explained the nature of our current calamity.  The fact that it is large, on six screens, and pieced together from multi-media add to the reality of our confusion in how we are dealing with our changing planet and our roll in that change.  I found myself moved beyond words and hugging my family afterwards.

Act 2:

We entered a near futuristic home in Singapore.  Hydroponically grown food, kayaks to get around the flooded streets, preserves, food ration schedules, and meal worm gardens were all essential for existence in a world with higher sea levels, massive agricultural failures, and inability to run to the corner store to buy what you need.  This home was the model of self reliance.

Act 3:

As the surface of Earth may become unbearable for a time, subterranean existence may be a real possibility.  This section of the museum imagined what it might look like.  As the environmental challenges to come may bring down reliable computer infrastructure, books make a comeback.  An interested aspect of this Act was a library of essential books.  How do we pass on essential knowledge?  More importantly, what is “essential” to pass on?

art_science1
As we stood on the circles holding hands the Cherry Blossom tree bloomed.  If we embraced, the leaves grew.  When we let go, all the leaves fell off and it went dormant.  Lisa Parks exhibit emphasizes the importance of human connection to foster growth.  At the same time, it illustrates how fleeting that life can be.  The cherry blossoms only bloom for one week out of the year.  Our connections, while possibly lasting a life time, are fleeting and momentary at best over the span of human existence.  How can we pass those connections, which are vital to our species’ survival, onto to the next generations.  In my mind, as I contemplated this, I felt that Sharleen and I are doing our best here by sharing this year long experience with Alyssa and Kylie.  It is our hope that our love stays with them long after we are gone and this year of extra time we spent with them cements into them the important values Sharleen and I share.

Act 4:

This exhibit was most thought provoking for us.  A group of nine visitors entered a chamber and listened to actors read about adaptation.  We met and explored a species much older than humans and will long outlive us.  The centerpiece was an aquarium of jellyfish.  The lighting in the room changed periodically sometimes making it seem we were looking in a mirror, reflecting on our existence.  Other times the aquarium was illuminated, so we only saw the jellyfish.  During this time we hear from experts in German, Spanish, and English describe all things jellyfish and why they will persevere when we will not.  For a bit, the aquarium was translucent, allowing us to see humans (another group of 9) on the other side and contemplate them from a different perspective.

Win >< win by German theatre company Rimini Protokoll (Act 4). ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA Photocredit: Strait Times

Act 5:

In this last sections, we were asked to consider what trinkets and stuff would be left behind by us for later generations.  Would they know what all the statues and figurines were all about?  If they found a violin husk,  a basketball, or a car part, what would it be to them?  It hammered home the point of the ephemeral meanings we attach to objects.

The exhibit was thought provoking for us all

Final Reflections

Because I didn’t mention it before, rumors of Singapore’s cleanliness are not exaggerated. I saw a few pieces of litter, but overall the place was impeccable.  The metro was organized, orderly, and cleaned regularly.  Every public bathroom was clean and well stocked.  Most bathrooms had a digital survey screen for rating your bathroom experience.  Messaging about behaving well, treating others kindly, and being thoughtful about resource use for the planet was everywhere.
Learning opportunities everywhere which is probably why Alyssa and Kylie were so motivated to learn.

I was left wondering if this was the future.  Giant domes housing what is left of earth’s resources. Insect and animal free environments where people can experience a pruned and gardened forest sanctuary.  Tiny segments of pristine forest manicured, curated, and fenced off.  Cement and wooden pathways keep the plants safe from us and us safe from the plants.  No mosquitoes, bees, spiders, or leeches — no wild things at all to make us jump or squirm.  Just one giant garden to remind of of how beautiful earth once was.

2 comments

  1. Wow, Danny, this really resonated with me. What a profound experience – and so important to your family (even those what are far away and are related to your through soul, not blood, like me).

    I want to go to this place.

    Blessings on you all, safe travels, and happy holidays.
    love,
    Ms. J

    Like

    • These exhibits were amazing. The story they told was profound. It wasn’t doom and gloom, but an attempt at a realistic vision of a possible future. Together with our visit to the Gardens by the Bay and the Botanical Gardens we had an enriching educational experience.

      Like

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