Grace Baey

Capturing The Imagination: Art Installations at The Arts House

Text and Photos by Grace Baey

Amidst the line-up of events at Singapore Art Week 2022, The Arts House is currently a site for three new installation works by artists Speak Cryptic, Jason Wee and WY-TO, and the National Library Board. We spoke with the artists and organisers to learn more about their works, beyond what meets the eye.  

Quotes were edited for clarity and brevity.  

The Same Side of the Moon Always Faces Earth by Speak Cryptic

Location: The Arts House Lawn
Runs till 6 February 2022, 10am-10pm daily

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted Speak Cryptic to reflect on his life journey as an artist, which translated into his most recent work, The Same Side Of The Moon Always Faces Earth.

“It made me think about what I should do, and where I should go. The title of the work came to me first. Somehow it felt very poetic, and it gives you a very reassuring feeling. It stems from the idea of a true north, which points us forward when we’re lost.”

The work, which incorporates acrylic structures and a gravel path, presents a shift from his signature black and white aesthetic. He says: “What came first was thinking about the emotions – what do I want people to feel?” 

“I want people to walk through the work, and feel like they are being transported to a different place. I also wanted to introduce some stillness and isolation, and there are three soundscapes that I’ve incorporated which viewers can listen to on their phones when they experience the work.” 

“The biggest realisation I had during the pandemic was that art is my true north,” shares Speak Cryptic.

For the installation, Speak worked with Kendrick Tay from The Made Agency who helped with building the set, as well as curator Jezlyn Tan. 

An evening view of the installation.

The work also explores the idea of migration and moving across a body of water.

Visitors experiencing the work during the opening night on 14 January 2022.

A view of the installation from The Arts House.

More info

Curiocity: A Tessellation of Memories by the National Library Board (NLB)

Location: Play Den, The Arts House
Runs till 3 February 2022, 10am-10pm daily

Presented as part of Curiocity, an initiative of the National Library Board (NLB), which spotlights different facets of Singapore’s history, A Tessellation of Memories offers a reflective journey into our city’s past. Conceptualised by creative technology agency Tribal Worldwide, viewers can revisit six locales in the civic district, framed within an artful stream of infinity mirrors.

“We hope to be able to share lesser-known stories and interesting facts about Singapore’s history uncovered from NLB’s extensive collection of archival materials. Such stories have been brought to life even more vividly through these creative art installations,” said Ms Alicia Yeo, Acting Director, National Library.

These series of creative collaborations – with National Gallery Singapore as part of Light to Night Festival 2022 – are presented as part of NLB’s efforts to inspire greater appreciation and elicit a sense of curiosity and wonder of the country’s history and heritage.

The installation invites visitors to go back in space and time upon entering.

The first display features the history of how Bras Basah Road derived its name.

Viewers are guided through a pathway lined with fabric panels. 

Located above Bras Basah Road was Methodist Girls’ School, the first educational institution for girls established in Singapore by the Methodists.

The Empress Hotel was a popular venue for celebrations.

Singapore River, lined with bumboats, was where many communities made their living off from.   

More info

The City Beneath The City by Jason Wee and WY-TO

Location: The Arts House Lawn
Runs till 3 April 2022, 10am-10pm daily

Inspired by his short story “The City Beneath the City”, Jason Wee imagines a fantastical city where nothing is destroyed, and new buildings are added to the cityscape, layering over and through older buildings.

The installation features a section of the brutalist-designed OCBC Centre, once Singapore’s tallest building. The I.M Pei-designed building is visible from where the installation currently is.
The subterranean work includes subtle details – hidden delights to reward the sharp-eyed visitor.

“What’s not really visible to our eye [from a distance is] the black column, and concrete line above the window – folks might think that it’s part of a tile or something drawn on, but it’s actually a deliberate concrete seam.”

“There are no functional reasons for these elements, but they constitute a certain desire to contribute something other than pure utility. In that way, I want to begin a conversation of thinking about beauty in relation to subjects we often may not necessarily relate beauty to, especially brutalist architecture.”

The I.M. Pei-inspired building growing out of the ground also picks up a section of a shophouse roof.

The OCBC Centre reflected on the glass window of the installation.

Artist Jason Wee speaking with Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, Low Yen Ling, about his work.

The installation references I.M. Pei’s use of the triangle, which intersects with artist Jason Wee’s own interests in post-minimalist work. A light within suggests an office worker working at night.

A lady walks past the installation during the day, with Victoria Theatre in the background.

More Info

These three art installations are located in various venues at The Arts House. Admission is free. Click here for more information.

This content is sponsored by Arts House Limited. The money earned from paid advertising goes towards covering ArtsEquator’s running costs and paying our writers and content creators. We have a strict policy regarding which content which can and cannot be sponsored. To read more about our editorial policy, please go here.

About the author(s)

Grace Baey is a photographer and filmmaker based in Singapore. Trained as a human geographer, she’s especially interested in issues of place, identity and belonging. Her personal work focuses on transgender and queer identity in Southeast Asia. Website:

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