The National Museum of Singapore, in collaboration with the Maybank Foundation, has launched a captivating new series of commissioned video artworks, titled “Spinning Connections: Creative Takes on Intangible Cultural Heritage”. This innovative presentation celebrates the rich tapestry of intangible cultural heritage within Singapore and the broader Southeast Asia region, focusing on elements such as food, dance, martial arts, and storytelling.

These commissioned artworks, each bringing to life a different facet of intangible cultural heritage, are showcased on the Museum’s LED Wall. Chosen from a collection of entries submitted through an Open Call exercise, the selected pieces aim to engage audiences by presenting a modern interpretation of enduring traditions, thus fostering a deep connection to the past while invoking an understanding of the present.

The four video artworks, employing a variety of artistic styles, explore pressing contemporary issues while paying homage to the region’s cultural heritage:

  1. “Gestures of One” by Biome Entertainment uses cinematic language to celebrate Singapore’s diverse cultural heritage. This piece explores Chinese, Malay, and Indian dance forms as a dialogue and interaction, creating an immersive experience that symbolises unity and solidarity.
  2. “Re(union)” by Addpetizer emphasises the universal ‘language’ of food, highlighting the central role of rice in local and regional cuisine. The unifying power of this humble crop symbolises the confluence of cultures that have shaped Singapore’s hawker and food heritage.
  3. Paradise Pictures’ “Kilat Kan Silat” aims to bring the martial art form Silat Tua, deeply ingrained in the culture and traditions of Southeast Asia, to the fore. This film spotlights the beauty and power of Silat Tua, promoting appreciation of the region’s cultural richness.
  4. “Madu” by Studio 1914 is a retelling of a traditional Southeast Asian fairytale about honey hunters. Using an AI model, the piece revives our connection to nature and cultural heritage, revealing enduring links through the lens of the National Museum of Singapore’s William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings.

“Spinning Connections” is an important step towards enhancing our understanding and appreciation of our intangible cultural heritage. This collection of video artworks stands as an inspirational testament to the enduring relevance of our cultural roots and traditions amidst rapid modernisation. It is on display until 6 August 2023, and more information about the showcase can be found at go.gov.sg/spinningconnections.

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