What is unique about The O.P.E.N.?
Unlike many Singapore festivals with their post-show discussions and curator tours, the public is connected 4 weeks before SIFA 2014 opens with its ideas, issues and themes. Festival Director Ong Keng Sen envisions The O.P.E.N. as a platform to “open hearts, open minds and open spaces”; not limiting the conversations about the festival to aesthetics, but going beyond it. For example, the public attending a talk at the O.P.E.N. will gain insights of how artists negotiate and are influenced by certain historical events. Or they may engage on the themes and issues of a film they have just watched, linking it with their experiences elsewhere. At The O.P.E.N., specialists from various disciplines (connectors) are invited to connect the public with world events of the 20th century. There will be specialists from biotechnology, digital culture, journalism, art and other fields who will share their perspectives. Ultimately, The O.P.E.N. is a social affair. It is about people, their ideas, their questions about the world and humanity. This is the reason for calling The O.P.E.N. a popular academy, an academy of the people.
What are the different platforms in The O.P.E.N.?
BRUNCH TALKS: eat with, and enjoy the company of specially selected panelists as they banter over the week’s highlights at The O.P.E.N.

FILM SCREENINGS: watch films selected for their appeal and relationship to the Festival’s themes. Some screenings will be followed by intimate discussions, like a “movie club”, where you can discuss the impact these films have had on knowing and living the world.

BEGINNER’S GUIDES: workshops and demonstrations that are interactive platforms for the public to access the legacies of the 20th century.

INSIGHTS: talks where local and international speakers from various disciplines share on special issues and topics.

How does The O.P.E.N. connect with the festival theme Legacy and the Expanded Classic?
Legacy and the Expanded Classic – that’s the overarching theme of SIFA 2014. The O.P.E.N.’s response is to focus on legacy as footprints: Do the footprints of our past affect the footprints of our future? How are individuals around the world variously affected by past and present world events? How are these issues and concerns expressed through the medium of art? These questions thread and frame the various events at The O.P.E.N.

Look out for The O.P.E.N. Tags. These tags identify what each O.P.E.N. event is about and connect the event to the theme of Legacy and The Expanded Classic of SIFA 2014.

#Iconic Legacies: identifies topics discussing icons of the 20th Century art world, featuring specifically Bertolt Brecht, Martha Graham and Wooster Group.

#Legacies of Violence: locates discussions around some of the key violent flashpoints of the 20th century, the expression that was generated through fear and the ensuing activism. 

 #Legacies of Science: points to discussions on the developments in medical science, their benefits and the ethical questions that follow.

#Digital Legacies: tags discussions on the legacy of digital connectivity.

#Personal Legacies: points to discussions on personal stories as significant markers of time and space and artists' responses to political, social and economic conditions.
What are some of the highlights of The O.P.E.N.?
One of the highlights of The O.P.E.N. is Ways of Wandering. It is a participatory public arts engagement project conceived by Noorlinah Mohamed. In Ways of Wandering, participants will work with five artist-mentors from different artistic fields. Drawing from personal reflections to global issues, participants will generate material for creative work that will culminate in two free public showings at two heritage outdoor sites on 11 and 12 July 2014.

Another highlight of The O.P.E.N. is the international 89+ project. Renowned curator, writer, critic and historian of art Hans Ulrich Obrist will give a keynote lecture on 5 July 2014 under the subject of Legacies of the 20th Century: Internet and Digital Culture. Together with co-founder and co-curator Simon Castets, they will engage innovators based in Singapore, born in 1989 and after. 1989 was the year that the internet started. This keynote lecture forms part of the Singapore edition of the international 89+ project – a multidisciplinary research mapping transformations in the world with the rise of digital culture. Obrist is presently the Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and the Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery, London. Obrist is also the author of The Interview Project, an extensive on-going project of interviews.
Who are some of the connectors at The O.P.E.N.?
Over 30 “connectors”, both Singapore and International-based guest artists and speakers connect you with their perspectives on the world.

The Singapore connectors include Jason Wee (Visual Artist); Philip Tan (Music Director and Composer); Jeremiah Choy (Theatre Director and Producer); Sharda Harrison (Actor); Joavien Ng (Dancer and Choreographer); Sophron Quartet (String Quartet) amongst others.
When is The O.P.E.N.?
The O.P.E.N. runs from 26 June – 12 July, 2014.
All The O.P.E.N. events, unless otherwise stated, will be held at 72-13 Mohammed Sultan Road 239007.
How does the public attend The O.P.E.N.?
Attendance at the O.P.E.N. is by a non-transferable one-pass entry ticket of only $45, available from SISTIC in April 2014. The O.P.E.N. Pass allows multiple entry to events for one pass holder. The O.P.E.N. Concession Pass at $25 is available to students, senior citizens and NSF. Registration is required for all events in the O.P.E.N. The public is advised to register early as seats to the various events are limited. Ticketing and event registration details are available at theopen.sifa.sg.
Copyright 2014. Arts House Limited.
Unless otherwise stated, other images by Jeannie Ho