Aug. 23rd, 2011


Aug. 23rd, 2011 03:09 am
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Well, having avoided Universal Studios today due to the forecast it turned out to be a lovely day with nothing more unusual than a little humid haze. I still had a great day though!

I started out with the National Museum of Singapore, several of their galleries had a blackout but the star exhibit on the history of Singapore was just fine. It had an audio-visual guide that you carried around with you - like the usual audioguides that get handed out, just far, far better. It allowed you to customise your tour, partially by choosing personal stories or the stories of major events, and through being able to control the depth of information at every step. Sometimes specific items would have additional photo or video information on the guide. It was very, very cool. The information on the early 20th century was particularly fascinating, as was the still un-deciphered Singapore Stone. Unfortunately after a certain point i'd just had too much to take in one session. I skimmed through the rest. It'd be a great exhibit to do in two or three visits instead of just one.

I intended on walking over to the Asian Civilizations Museum, and stopped to have steamed dumplings for (late) lunch on the way, then went through a rather unusual little art exhibition in a place called Power Station (or something much like that). Turns out the museum has moved, and the map I have has it in the wrong place, though curiously the write-up on it has the right address. I started walking in the general direction of the new location - it looked like a long way on the map, especially considering it's several MRT stations to get there, but walking that distance showed me that the idea of scale the MRT had given me wasn't quite right, it wasn't so far after all. By the time I was getting there though, it was getting on towards 5pm, and the museum closes at 7pm. I headed over to the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands as it stays open until 10pm. I decided to do all three major exhibitions and the SkyPark over at the hotel. I'll try to describe them but it's honestly hard to do them justice. Should you find yourself in Singapore... go see them.

The first exhibition was 'Van Gogh Alive' which was a very non-traditional exhibition. There were no actual artifacts on show, instead over forty projectors in an unusually shaped gallery... they projected onto all wall surfaces (using all of the wall, not just part) and at times onto the floor. The pictures were constantly changing, and sometimes moving, lots of close ups as well as full shots of the paintings. All of it was set to classical music. I could try to explain the experience for a long time and still not capture it properly, but like Amococo, which I talked about a while ago, it gave me a feeling of being... elsewhere. There were very few people in the exhibition for most of the time I was there and I found a bench from which I couldn't see anyone at all. Just sitting there and taking in the music and visuals was incredible. It was strange to leave it. I could have stayed there all day...

The next exhibit was a collection of items from a shipwreck that occured sometime between 825-850 CE. Over 60, 000 articles, most entirely intact, were recovered from the bottom of the ocean around 1998. It was truly fascinating. Most items were new at that time, but two particular items (Silver mirrors from China) were around a thousand years old when the ship sank...

The third exhibition was a Dali exhibition, as with the other two, brilliantly presented. A combination of prints and bronzes were on display with some good explanations here and there. I have always found Dali's work intriguing and it was great to be able to get up close - this exhibition did not put items behind cordons or in glass boxes (well, except for a very few close to the end) but instead there were a few subtle don't touch signs, and trust for the museum patrons. I loved that.

What blew my mind was that on the way to the SkyPark (if you've seen the building in singapore that looks like three towers with a boat on top... it's the boat) I saw at least three more Dali bronzes - on loan from another gallery - on display in the Shopping Centre - and once again, no cordons! St George was missing his spear, but I suppose that'd be for safety reasons. It looked like it would be easy to return to its rightful place later on. All of them were other copies of those on display in the Museum, but no less in quality.

Getting to the SkyPark was a bit of a challenge. I had to find my way through a shopping centre which was a bit maze-like and enormous. And you can't just cross the road, you have to find the tunnel under it, which was not as well signposted as most things in Singapore. On my way I couldn't help but notice that this shopping centre/hotel complex has a lot of thigns... an expo/conference centre, a theatre, an ice skating rink, a canal... (Really. A canal. With boats on it)

I did find my way to the SkyPark with time to spend an hour up there (It also closes at 10pm). The SkyPark is level 56/57 of the building (the middle is raised and has restaurants and a bar). I was thrilled to see the shipping lane from up there - it looks wonderful all lit up. I saw it from a plane two years ago and didn't have my camera handy then, but did today! I could also see that there is a lot of building work still ongoing in Singapore. It looks like it'll continue to change at an astounding rate. I had a cocktail up there - a Damsel in Distress - which takes the record for most expensive drink I've bought myself yet - and had a bit of time to relax. Should have considered I last ate at 3pm... but it wasn't that powerful a cocktail (phew!) so I was fine. I moved over to another viewing platform just as a light and sound show down on the harbour started (that's what's going on at the bottom of the photo), Some of the laser elements were coming from above where I was standing. As with the exhibitions, I could have stayed a long time, but the area was closing...

I headed down to the food court by the skating rink which was still very much open and finally, at 10:30, had dinner... Butter Chicken. I picked up a small passionfruit and orange meringue tart on my way out and headed back to the hostel to have it for dessert - it was sublime. And now, here I am... hopefully Universal Stuidos will be on for tomorrow!

I didn't do very well at keeping today's entry short, but in my defence, I could very easily have written pages and pages on pretty well every part of my day...


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