Aliwal Arts Centre will be premiering Aliwal Tracks on 21 December 2020, a 13-part web series inspired by the sounds of Kampong Glam. Starring some of Singapore’s leading street, urban and traditional artists and creatives based in Aliwal Arts Centre, viewers are invited to rediscover Kampong Glam through explorative and performative videos centered around the everyday sounds of the neighbourhood. With digital performances, behind-the-scenes footage and virtual exhibitions, meander through the streets of one of Singapore’s most vibrant enclaves and explore hidden street art, age-old stories from residents as well as sounds and beats of Kampong Glam.
“Aliwal Tracks is a way for us to celebrate the multi-faceted and vibrant precinct of Kampong Glam, in place of our signature festivals – Aliwal Arts Night Crawl and Aliwal Urban Art Fest this year. By watching the videos produced by our artists at Aliwal Arts Centre, we hope audiences will appreciate the charm of Kampong Glam and be inspired to make a trip down to explore all these hidden sights, spaces and sounds,” Kenneth Chng, Centre Manager at Aliwal Arts Centre and series producer shares.
Once home to Malay, Arab and Bugis communities in the early 1800s, Kampong Glam has since evolved to become one of Singapore’s cultural and creative hub in the heart of the city. Truly a precinct where the old and new sit side by side, monuments such as the former Malay Palace and the Sultan Mosque are surrounded by trendy bars and popular food joints, with many seemingly quiet back alleys and streets connecting the two. With the buzz of activity, comes a headiness of raw sounds, providing a rich source of aural inspiration for the nine arts groups involved in Aliwal Tracks.
The series will be introduced across three volumes starting 21st December 2020, with the first featuring works inspired by Kampong Glam’s history, heritage and culture. Volume 2 will then focus on street and urban art, exploring the present and future of Kampong Glam. In between these two volumes will be “Remix”, bringing together elements from both cultural and urban art styles.
In the first volume, centred around Heritage and Culture, get introduced to NADI Singapura’s Rampak Rebano,the 2020 edition of one of their earliest works. Featuring a myriad of joyful rhythms made with the rebana (traditional Malay hand drum), Nadi Singapura celebrates the beauty of community and the identity of Kampong Glam. Nine Years Theatre’s 2016 production Red Demon featured compositions by sound designer Chong Li Chuan, and this 2020 edition features the same hauntingly meditative music that fuses Southeast Asian elements with contemporary western music styles, coupled with footage centered on the textures of the less-travelled corners Aliwal Street and the flora and fauna of the precinct. Theatre Ekamatra and NADA’s Pelesit takes its name from a shapeshifting spirit in Malay folklore that absorbs beauty wherever it goes, and invites you on a meandering journey through various spots around Kampong Glam.
Mixed Tape sees artists from RSCLS, 67 Studio and The Blackboko Studio come together to paint a massive mural at Aliwal Arts Centre, combining styles, inspiration, music and technology into this unique piece, where you can even activate original music and soundtracks via the QR-codes embedded in the wall when you see it in person. David Siow’s City Fringe is a modern composition that honours the precinct’s cultural heritage, made of sounds recorded from Kampong Glam and featuring vocals from Jean Seizure, while Looking for Mr Gelam by Word Forward takes you on a VR-journey back in time to the year 1825, in search of the elusive Mr Gelam around Beach Road and Kampong Glam with Uncle Sam and his niece, Ling.
In Volume 2, Aliwal Tracks looks at the Urban and Contemporary, with Loopholes by INTER-MISSION, featuring exchanges between Bernice Lee and Teow Yue Han, meant to give form to complex technologically-mediated means of embodiment exacerbated by the virus-as-choreographer. INTER-MISSION also presents VJ Conference: Respiring Soma, which explores the body as a performative medium. Chowk Productions’ Behind These Walls is a site specific performance in response to the natural sounds, history, and architecture of Kampong Gelam, while New Opera presents a preview of their upcoming production of Stravinsky’s The Rakes’s Process.
RSCLS’ CANSTOP is a collaboration amongst Southeast Asian Graffiti artists, showcasing new works of art by Singaporean urban artists, using resin sculpture canvases created by their Indonesian counterparts, while NADI’s JatIdentity explores the sound of the body as a percussive medium and presents an energetic and rhythmic performance inspired by the vibrant Kampong Glam. Finally, Placid searches out calm and quiet corners, seeking remnants to conjure their own versions of the past.
Aliwal Tracks begins on 21st December 2020. More information available here