With the world in isolation, how can we better connect with each other through the language of art?
Life In A Cloud unfolds in chapters. Each new chapter is introduced on a Sunday – symbolically a day of rest, resolution and inspiration for the coming week – and over the course of eight Sundays.
As viewers encounter each chapter, they encounter range; the richness and diversity of voices that exist within and from Singapore’s artistic landscape, gaining insight into some incredible artistic minds from our very shores.
Curated by Natalie Hennedige (Festival Director Designate, Singapore International Festival of Arts), Life in a Cloud is commissioned by the National Arts Council with the support of Arts House Limited.
9 Aug 2020
Photo by Sean Lee
Kirsten Tan is a New York-based Singaporean filmmaker whose debut feature Pop Aye premiered as an opening night film of Sundance Film Festival 2017, and was awarded a Special Jury Prize for Screenwriting. The film picked up other accolades along the festival circuit and was invited to represent Singapore at the Oscars. Her short films 10 Minutes Later, Fonzi, Sink, Cold Noodles and Dahdi have collectively received over ten international awards. A Sundance Institute, Cannes Cinéfondation Atelier and Cinereach Film Fellow, she was accorded the Young Artist Award by NAC in 2015 and was nominated as a Singaporean of the Year by The Straits Times in 2018.
In these unusual days, I have been dreaming about creating in a vacuum. Filmmaking is a communal act; I am a filmmaker in isolation. How do I create within/without this solipsism, and what comes before a film? Technically speaking: colour bars. They’re meant to calibrate our eyes, so we can individually adjust variances on our monitor, to ensure that we’re collectively seeing the same thing. Solidarity in castellated shades of green, red, magenta, cyan, yellow, and blue. When I can’t step outside, I dream of creation at its most granular: my latent emotions pinned down on the axis of six SMPTE colour bars and a 1kHz sine wave tone.
16 Aug 2020
Photo by Sean Lee
Over the years, Santha Bhaskar has become synonymous with unique choreographies and concepts. Her curatorial interests lie in exploration and engagement. And with her commitment to the sophistication of traditional Indian dance and her innovative spirit of cross-cultural explorations, her works speak for themselves and continue to raise the bar and push the boundaries.
She has staged numerous productions as part of the Academy’s annual season. Some notable works include her first full-length dance drama, the Chinese folk tale Butterfly Lovers (1958) and the Thai mythological story Manohra (1996 & 2018), which infused movements and elements from Chinese and Thai dance respectively. Her Parinaamam (1993), which was based on the local poem “Sita’s Complaint”, gave audiences a new perspective on the traditional Ramayana.
More recently, she created Rasa & Dhwani (2003), a repertoire inspired by local poems in different languages; People Get Connected (2006), which traced human communication through the ages; Vibrations (2007), an experimental collaboration of dance, light and dramatics; CHAKRA (2012), the first traditional Indian dance production to incorporate sand art; XPressions (2013), a work that pushed boundaries in terms of orchestration and use of space; as well as Sambhavna 2.0 (2017), a work that brought quantum physics to life. Her adventurous nature has also given rise to Pappadum (2006), a light-hearted dance drama with hip-hop dance group NUS Dance Blast! and Amazing Race (2012), a curious collaboration with local comedian Kumar.
Santha Bhaskar was conferred the Cultural Medallion award in 1990, the highest honour accorded to Arts practitioners in Singapore. In 2016 she was also awarded the Bintang Bakti Masyarakat (Public Service Star) for her continued dedication.
In these unusual days, I have been dreaming that I’m losing my Dance and myself in the wilderness of TIME (KAALA).
Time appears in cycles; and each cycle had pierced my heart with different emotions.
By the nature of our time, the aesthetics of performance and the essence of my art “RASA” will be lost. Its philosophical exegesis is challenged by the human ability to absorb virtually.
I ROMANCE with Dance
Now PATHOS my companion
The LAUGHTER of my audience, where are they?
The more distant, the greater my RAGE
Staring at the screen – enough of this DISGUST!
A mask covers my FEAR of the “Unknown”
COURAGE to explore
To connect to WONDER
I surrender to “KAALA”
And my DANCE becomes DIVINE
23 Aug 2020
Photo by Sean Lee
NADA is a visual arts/sound project that explores the myth and synthetic history of a fabricated group of the same name. A concept developed by Rizman Putra and Safuan Johari, the duo blurs the line between fiction and reality, summoning hauntological soundscapes and seeking lost futures.
Nyata & Mimpi (Reality & Dreams)
We have been dreaming about removing the invisible wall that separates dreams from reality. An eternal state of liminality, where the mind jogs through routines of ambiguous cycles; familiar but never the same, foreign but comforting. Thoughts loop in liberating rhythms, sooner becomes later with no pressures in between. Day becomes night and in darkness light breaks again, fracturing narratives and dispensing specks of logic into the air. They float in space like tiny mechanical drones dancing to a waltz. At every downbeat, is the need to resist the gravitational pull of consciousness, swaying to our song of love and hate.
30 Aug 2020
Photo by Amaal Said
Sharlene Teo’s debut novel Ponti won the inaugural Deborah Rogers Writer’s Award, was shortlisted for the Hearst Big Book Award and Edward Stanford Fiction Award, longlisted for the Jhalak Prize and selected by Ali Smith as one of the best debut works of fiction of 2018. Her short fiction has been shortlisted for the Berlin Writing Prize and her non-fiction has appeared in publications such as the TLS, LitHub, Tate Etc, Wasafiri, The London Magazine and the upcoming Sceptre Books Anthology East Side Voices.
Under the looming threat of Covid, a lion and a rabbit struggle to cope with the struggles of cohabitation, social distancing and what it means to be an essential animal.
6 Sep 2020
Kaylene Tan was co-artistic director, with Paul Rae, of Spell Seven Performance Club from 1997-2016. Kaylene works across different theatrical forms and is particularly interested in sonic experiences such as audio walks and headphone theatre. Her theatre production of In the Silence of Your Heart for (Esplanade Theatres on the Bay) won Best Sound Design at the 2018 Life! Theatre Awards. Most recently, she wrote the text for Lost Cinema 20/20 for Brian Gothong Tan.
6 Sep 2020
Paul Rae was co-artistic director, with Kaylene Tan, of Spell Seven Performance Club from 1997-2016. His performances include Tree Duet (2009), Family Duet (2013), and National Language Class (2015). He is now Associate Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of Theatre & Human Rights (2009), and Real Theatre: Essays in Experience (2019).
In these unusual times, I have been dreaming about dreaming about sleepwalking. And making a sleep walk about waking, waking from these unusual times. This film explores isolation while isolating with another, and the tension between dependency and loneliness in a long-term relationship.
13 Sep 2020
Photo by Sean Lee
Iskandar Jalil (b. 5 January 1940) was conferred an honorary doctorate, awarded as Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by the Nanyang Technological University in July 2016. This followed the conferment of the Meritorious Service Medal in the Singapore National Day Awards  and Order of the Rising Sun - Gold Rays with Rosette  by the Japanese government.
Celebrated as Singapore’s Master Potter and a leading educator in ceramics art, Iskandar received the nation’s highest cultural award, the Cultural Medallion in 1988 and numerous cultural accolades. He was awarded two Colombo Plan Scholarships, for the study of textile weaving and spinning in India  and ceramics engineering in Japan . His works are characteristically simple but robust, with highly tactile and rich surfaces.
He is commended as a committed educator whose teaching profession has spanned over four decades. His early career began by teaching mathematics, science and sports before specialising in ceramic art. The schools he taught at included Jalan Daud Primary School, Siglap, Dunman and Telok Kurau and Victoria Secondary schools. He also taught at Geylang Vocational Institute (now Northlight School) and had a long tenure at Baharuddin Vocational Institute (BVI) [1969-1990]. He continued to teach after BVI’s merger with Temasek Polytechnic Design School, retiring in 1999.
Iskandar has held multiple art advisory and educational positions including at the National Arts Council. He had been an external examiner for MARA Institute of Technology, Malaysia and Curtin University, Australia and was instrumental in the founding of the St. Patrick’s Art Centre (later Lasalle College of the Arts) in the 1980s. He also taught at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and National University of Singapore (NUS) Extra Mural Studies Department.
He has donated his vessels for numerous charity causes and has undertaken extensive volunteer work for community centres, the Association of Paraplegics and with Mercy Relief (in setting up kilns in Cambodia). He also carries out private ‘sponsorships’ for students in the arts. He has shaped pottery collectives at the Malay Heritage Centre and Jalan Bahar Clay Studios and continues to mentor and helm the Temasek Potters (TP) at the TP pottery studio.
In these unusual days, I have been dreaming about my dialogue with clay. My ceramic creations have all the imperfections of Nature, coarse, irregular, not contrived or cliched, yet it communicates. It is done spontaneously, very fluid with all the sensitivity and creativity that God has given me. Aesthetically comfortable, the work is quite often conceptualised from the heart and the skill with the minimum of brainwork. It is similar to Nature’s way of creating a world around us, simple, practical and yet very quiet and absorbing.
20 Sep 2020
Photo by Sean Lee
Randy Chan is the Principal of Zarch Collaboratives. His portfolio spans architecture, landscape urbanism, art installations, curation, galleries and exhibitions. His works have received local and international recognition and have been featured in a number of architectural publications with awards including the SIA Architectural Design Award (Gold), URA Urban Heritage Award, Futurarc Green Leadership Award, IFLA AAPME Award (Outstanding). The firm’s projects mirror Randy’s fascination with sustainability, landscape urbanism, placemaking, community, heritage and narrative. Highlights include the Warehouse Hotel, No.17 Geylang Lorong 24A Shophouse, Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden Extension, Windsor Nature Park, Lien Villa and the Sustainable Singapore Gallery at Marina Barrage. In 2018, the Warehouse Hotel was awarded Hotel of the Year at the prestigious AHEAD Asia hospitality awards. Additionally, Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden and the Sustainable Singapore Gallery were shortlisted at the World Architecture Festival and the INSIDE World Festival of Interiors respectively.
Working at the intersection of art and architecture, Randy’s creative oeuvre includes stints as principal set and stage designer for the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games ceremonies, several editions of the National Day Parade and Singapore’s Supergarden Pavilion at the 2008 Venice Biennale. Randy was appointed creative director and designer of the Singapore Pavilion at the World Expo 2005, 2012 and Singapore: Inside Out traveling exhibition 2015 and 2017. His artworks include Memory Conduit, Sonic Womb, File Not Found exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris and Building as a Body. A collaboration with local designer kwodrent and commissioned by the Singapore Art Museum, Building as a Body was awarded Design of the Year at the President’s Design Award 2012.
Randy currently serves on the Jury Panel of the Singapore Institute of Architects and is part of the Sub-Committee on Future Corporate Capabilities and Innovation, Committee on the Future Economy. Additionally, Randy serves on the Venice Biennale Artist Selection Panel and the Board of Directors, Wild Rice Theatre.
In these unusual days, I have been dreaming of a treehouse which stands elevated in the middle of a disused school field. It has a banyan tree in the middle and there is an improvised colourful drape and netting which transverses from end to end. I see myself toiling under night and day covering and draping it, intertwining the drape and my body and the treehouse as one. Spin and spin and never stop.