Future World: A new children’s play space at Art Science Museum

The kids had a really awesome time last week exploring Future World, the new permanent exhibition at the Art Science Museum. It was a whole new world of play.

Future World is a collaboration between Art Science Museum and TeamLab, an award-winning Tokyo-based art collective of “ultra-technologists” that includes artists, programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians, architects and designers. Future World is touted to be Singapore’s largest interactive digital playground, and I think the kids have to agree with this.

Future world_table

There are 4 different spaces within the exhibition – Nature, Town, Park and Space. Our favourites were Park and Space. Most of the exhibits are designed to be highly interactive. Take this Table Where Little People Lived, which comes to life when visitors “play” with its inhabitants. Try moving the wooden blocks around the table and the little people will react and change their movements accordingly. It even responds when you place your hands on the table! JJ was very excited trying to “catch” the little people, and observing how they react to different things and movements.

Future world_screen

This huge screen is the Sketch Town installation. It includes recognisable landmarks such as Marina Bay Sands, ArtScience Museum, the Merlion and the Singapore Flyer. The kids got to colour drawings of buildings, cars, and even spaceships. Then watch their creations come alive (in 3D) after they are placed on a scanner and “transported” into Sketch Town itself. Very cool!

The same drawings can be scanned into a 3D paper model version that they can bring home and cut and fold to form their own 3D models.

What’s more, kids can interact with the screen by tapping on buildings and cars, and watch them hop, dance, or skip, with accompanying music. And watch out for the dragon who comes to attack Sketch Town – when you see it, tap on the fighter jets on the screen and they will start shooting at it!

Future world_colouring

There is a similar installation called Sketch Aquarium, a digitally rendered aquatic world of underwater animals. Both Vera and JJ were busy colouring (and scanning) in different fishes and marine life.

After a while, JJ got distracted with the Light Ball Orchestra, made up of luminous multi-coloured giant balls. The balls react when touched and played with, they glow and change colour, and create different kinds of sounds when kicked and rolled over. A multi-sensorial experience!

He was content rolling and frolicking with the balls for a pretty long time.

Future world_balls

Then he discovered the Create! Hopscotch for Geniuses…now this is where he really got hooked.

Here you can create your own game of hopscotch by arranging different shapes on a tablet, which are then projected onto the floor. As you hop your way through the course, different light and sound effects are triggered. Also, specific shapes and colours create different visual effects on the forest background projected onto a separate screen, so it’s interesting for older children to observe.

Like the Light Ball Orchestra, this was a great game for JJ, who like most boys can’t stop moving their bodies. 😛

Future world_hopscotch

Finally, we come to the final highlight of our visit – the Crystal Universe, a beautiful and intriguing installation made up of over 170,000 LED lights arranged across the room. There’s a tablet here that allows you to create different lighting and movmeent effects. Vera said this was her favourite part of the exhibition. It definitely was a magical experience so I can understand why!

Future world_crystals

Future World, the new permanent exhibition at ArtScience Museum, is now open. Ticketing information here.

Admission prices (for Singapore :

  • Adults: S$14
  • Child (2-12 years): S$7
  • Family (2 Adults + 2 Children): S$35
  • Senior (65 & above):S$11
  • Every Friday is Family Friday! Up to four children under 12 years old enter for free with every adult ticket purchased.

Timed-entry has been introduced from 1 April 2016. Admission times are: 10am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm, 4pm and 5.30pm (last entry).

It’s definitely worth a visit, so go check it out!

50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic at the ArtScience Museum

“A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.” – Ansel Adams

NatGeo Afghan woman

You might recognise this famous photograph of an Afghan girl (left), taken by Steve McCurry for a cover of National Geographic. The word “haunting” has been used to describe her eyes, eyes that had seen too much horror for a young lady. The photograph on the right is the same woman, 17 years later.

At the 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic exhibition, I came in touch with photographs that were engaging, compelling, and insightful, revealing the inner lives of  people and animals across the globe.

Below is a series of photographs, made up of panoramic shots, of an underground cave in the Bahamas. It’s amazing what professional photographers will do to pursue their passions, including exposing themselves to a certain degree of danger. Apparently, these underwater caves had never been explored before this expedition.

This is a photograph of a sleeping Tuareg family in Sub-Saharan Mali. The photographer, Joanna Pinneo, had actually travelled to Mali to see how the drought was affecting Tuareg nomads. The trip led to her meeting a local family, and she was actually invited into their home. This was how she managed to capture this intimate moment.

This photograph of some wandering, lost camels shrouded in fire and darkness was actually taken in the day-time. But the smoke and fumes from the destruction of war make it seem like it was taken at midnight!

This photograph of a polar bear was taken blind. The photographer simply rowed his boat closer to the bear, and put his camera into the water and clicked. Amazing how even such “accidental” photographs can be so beautiful.

What I really like about the exhibition is how it gives a better understanding of the way people and animals lived in their original habitats, and also how humans and animals interact or impact on the other.

This one below of Jane Goodall, a British primatologist, bowing to a chimpanzee named Jou Jou who was seeking some attention and affection, was particularly touching.

We also had a chance to make our own photograms! This simple workshop aims to imparts basic darkroom techniques to participants, and allows visitors to create their own photograms using traditional print photography methods.

Here is my photogram composition (left), and how it turned out on the photographic paper (right). It was quite fun for me to experience the darkroom again (having gone through a photography module once). It would definitely engage the older kids aged 6 and above.

photogram fun

This 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic is running at the ArtScience Museum until 27 October 2013. If you prefer a guided tour to learn about the stories behind the iconic photographs on display, tours are provided complimentary every Sunday, 11:30am-12:30pm, on a first-come-first-served basis.

The ArtScience Museum is also running a “What’s Your Story” contest, on Facebook. Do check it out, as you’ll stand to win a S$500 shopping voucher and a 1 night’s stay at Marina Bay Sands!

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