You are standing in a dimly-lit nightclub as the neon lights illuminate your silhouette for just a moment – a flash of blue, and you are swept up in the euphoria of the moment. You sit on one of the curved lounge couches and the flickering screen before you catch your attention. This is just one of the Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF)’s installations at Peace Centre, which transforms it into a neon-hued liminal space.
The installations evoke the feeling you get when you’re in a 7-Eleven convenience store at 3am as one of the overhead lights flicker, or the serene feeling of strolling down the airport’s departure hall, weightless and waiting.
In Hawaii Nights, a photography exhibition and installation by artist Aik Beng Chia, you’ll get to travel back in time to the heyday of the 60’s where partygoers danced under disco lights and confetti, watching the singers belt out sultry tunes. The lonely, haunting club carries with it an undertone of regret, with confetti strewn on the floor after the party, and empty couches of a time that has since faded into memory. Interwoven with the club atmosphere, his photography collection ‘The Night We Never Met’ tells a story of waiting, of missed connections, and of longing for something that feels real.
After the party ends, take a walk down a dark alley in Dark Cities, an experience that takes you into the heart of the city, conceptualised by artist Shyue Woon. Photographs are spaced out on the walls, matching its colour tones, with graffiti on the wall. There is a subtle element of uncertainty and fear here as you go deeper into the narrow alley, discovering something new at every turn. Dark Cities brings out the elusive and desperate purgatory of the darkest part of the city, plunging its visitors into an exploration of fear and fantasy.
Step into a video installation where a mysterious figure lingers in an abandoned hotel room, curtains half open and bedsheets strewn. Walk along Peace Centre’s corridors as photographs of empty cars and abandoned objects fill the space with an invisible, wistful presence. At last, the mysterious figure reappears in a biohazard bag, alone in an impersonal environment. Nowhere Here, a series of photographs and video installations, is a commentary on the feelings of isolation during the pandemic, and its psychological effects.
End off your visit to Peace Centre at Peace Agency, and wait for your turn. Enter the brightly-lit space with the ‘Peace Agency’ sign hanging above you as a never-ending wait begins. As you enter different rooms with different configurations, even taking a queue number for the immersion, perhaps this is an exercise in forgetting what you are waiting for, and simply letting yourself be in the moment, and asks the question, ‘What are you waiting for?‘. You can pen your responses to the question, and see what others have answered in a wall of shared experiences.
Watch Peace Centre take on a life of its own as it wraps itself around you, pulling you into a dark, gritty and nostalgic wonderland, and a trip down memory lane at the Singapore International Photography Festival.
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