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FutureEverything Singapore: Signals of Tomorrow

Sat 10th - Thu 15th October 2015

On the cusp of its 50th anniversary, FutureEverything were invited to design and curate a digital festival for Singapore. We asked, what might the vision for a “Smart Nation” look like in Singapore? And how might we bridge the worlds of technology, government and industry with those of society, art and culture?

Venue: Various venues, Singapore

The theme of FutureEverything Singapore was Signals of Tomorrow – marking Singapore’s 50th anniversary and celebrating visions for the future through the lens of art, design and digital culture. For nine days in October, the festival took over the popular imagination, public space, daytime TV and political debate in Singapore, enjoying critical acclaim as Singapore’s first festival of art and technology.

FutureEverything Singapore welcomed some incredible people to the conversation from areas as vast as urbanism, architecture, media art, data science, entrepreneurship, social innovation, circular economy, food security, education and the local literary scene.

The festival was designed to experiment in ideas around a technologically-enabled future Singapore, and to help to build a culture of permission and risk taking. In a conference keynote, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister in Charge of the Smart Nation initiative, spoke on transformation in energy, healthcare, food production, manufacturing and logistics, and urged Singaporeans “instead of fearing the future and waiting for someone else to do something…be active, be creative, make it, improve it, create the future.”

Artworks were presented across the city, each one responding to the speed and density of urban living in Singapore, offering a moment of play or contemplation, and presenting future scenarios that may be commonplace in years to come. Below we capture some of our highlights from the festival.

Impact

220,000+ participated in the festival
60,000 people attended in person

ArtScience Lates: Gazelle Twin & Yazuru Maeda

FutureEverything Singapore launched at the iconic ArtScience Museum with an audiovisual feast by the Zentai Art Project, ‘UFO’. Joining Yuzuru Maeda on stage were musicians Kai Lam, CIRCUITRIP and NZSDLX, taking the audience through blissed out ambient drones, surprising vocal collages and the emergence of six Zentai dancers weaving their way through the audience. Gazelle Twin followed, stalking the stage in her trademark style, the angled lighting exposing an alien-like aspect to her onstage persona.

Hello Lamp Post

In this playful, public realm experiment, street furniture and objects seemingly came to life and held conversations with members of the public via SMS messaging. There were 15,000 conversations with nearly 700 inanimate objects, among them fire hydrants, shops, post boxes, streetlamps, signposts, and Singapore’s famous Merlion – a huge half fish, half lion stone structure which spouts water from its mouth.

Signals of Tomorrow Conference

What is a Smart Nation, and what does it mean to be a smart citizen? Taking place at ArtScience Museum, the Signals of Tomorrow Conference opened up new conversations around how life, work and play are fundamentally transformed by technology, exploring these themes through lens of art and digital culture.

Signals of Tomorrow Innovation Lab and Showcase

In the Signals of Tomorrow innovation lab, 50 designers, artists, technologists and urbanists collaborated at the National Design Centre to create new innovations addressing societal challenges in Singapore. Their inventions were then showcased at the ArtScience Museum.

The Chronarium by Loop.pH

This pop-up sleep laboratory saw over 800 people taking part in the ‘experiment’, while thousands of others observed the proceedings. Upon entering visitors were invited to lay back and rest inside white fabric pods suspended above the ground, while audio and visual stimuli induced a change in brain state and reset the circadian rhythms.

“This is not just a festival to celebrate technology; we see this as a festival to celebrate creativity where art, design, tech and science intersect. The great response from the public towards the festival shows that we are receptive to new ways of interpreting tech and having fun at the same time. And trying out new things is what we hope to imbue in our people as Singapore’s Smart Nation needs our community to be willing to experiment and to be confident in creating with tech.”

– Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA)

FutureEverything Singapore was a partnership between FutureEverything and Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), one of the key government agencies championing Singapore’s efforts to become the world’s first Smart Nation. The festival was the flagship digital culture component of SG50, the year long celebrations that marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of Singapore.

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