You thought the Singapore Biennale was the only one biennale revealing their plans today? There’s one more. The 3rd Singapore International Photography Festival.
I’ve to admit I’ve a soft spot for this festival by the 2902 Gallery folks led by Gwen Lee. Since 2008, it’s been chugging along with good quality work and, post-fest, has been travelling overseas quite a bit. Despite little government funding.
It will run from Oct 5 to Nov 17 at seven venues. Aside from exhibitions, workshops, talks and film-screenings, they’re going full on with community/student engagement. Yes, even they’ve been bitten by the bug, but the programme’s pretty solid. More on that later.
Highlights this year are two solo showcases at SMU linkway.
There’s Thomas Sauvin’s Silvermine, some 300 photos from an archive of 35mm colour film negatives of souvenir snapshots by Beijing peeps from the `80s that Sauvin had salvaged from a recycling zone. There’s also the 42m-long The History Of Monuments by Wang Qing Song—an epic scroll through history that the Chinese artist recreated with 300 models.
The always promising all-over-the-place-in-a-good-way Open Call exhibition is, however, what I would recommend. It comprises the bulk of the festival anyway. Curators Patricia Levasseur de la Motte, Zeng Han and Alejandro Castellote have canvassed and chosen from some 9,000 images 414 works from 50 photographers from 25 countries (you’ve got six Singaporeans). A bulk of it will be at first time venue partner ArtScience Museum, but it’s also going to be at Alliance Francaise, Selegie Arts Centre, National Library, SMU Gallery, The Substation and The Arts House. The best way to experience it? Just go. That’s what I did the last time.
There will also be an exhibition of works by participants of the Magnum Mentorship programme, ongoing since July. The culmination sees the works of 23 photographers (10 homegrown ones) on display at The Arts House from Oct 14 to 20.
In a somewhat related note, you’ve also got the Portfolio Review where you can, well, get your portfolio reviewed. It’s from Oct 6 to 9, but slots are limited to 40. Registration closes on Sept 26.
There will be professional workshops, too, courtesy of Italian photographer Andrea Botto, French photojournalist Alain Jullien and our own Chow Chee Yong.
Photographer Tan Ngiap Heng has also curated a film section, which includes, among others Image Makers: Singaporean Photographers, a set of mini-documentaries by Tay Kay Chin, John Clang and Chow Chee Yong, on Oct 12 and 20.
As for the education/public programmes, they’re setting up a mobile dark room. Called House Of Photography, it’s a converted shipping container where you can try out old school photography techniques. It’ll start at the National Library before heading to Jurong Regional Library and Yew Tee Point until next year.
We’re also rather impressed with the education programme. Collectively called Conversations With The Black Box, it’s targeted at upper secondary school and JC students and they’ve got customized packages (wah, so savvy) where aside from a guided tour, students can also choose to 1) go out and have fun with their very own camera obscura (beat that Instagram!), 2) do a bit of creative writing based on old school or family photographs, and learn how to shoot self portraits, or 3) do a “photographic treasure hunt” around Singapore’s arts belt (Bras Basah-Bugis district). They’ll also get a kit that teaches them how to do photo essays and create their own pinhole camera. Woot.
(The Singapore International Photography Festival 2012 runs from Oct 5 to Nov 17. For more information, visit their website. All photos used are courtesy of the artists and the festival.)