Art What! Arts Preview

Art What!: Eighth Edition of Art Encounters at Orchard Road, features 3D-printed sculpture by Bao Songyu

The much-anticipated Art Encounters by Art Outreach, a travelling exhibition series housed in repurposed shipping containers, will return to Orchard Road from 29th April to 12th June 2022.

In its eighth edition, Art Encounters will feature an interactive 3D-printed and robotics installation by local maker-designer Bao Songyu that anticipates an exciting future where genetic diversity abounds. Bao is known for his work in 3D printing and robotics, which he uses to explore social and environmental issues. His kinetic sculptures and installations, which have been featured in ArtScience Museum, HATCH Art Project and National Gallery Singapore, make use of the flexibility offered by 3D printing to explore issues of the future.

Transporting audiences to the year 2222, the first container in Afterman: Synthesis Lab will feature a series of speculative robots from the future, which have taken on composite adaptations and mutations drawn from various plant, animal and fungi specimens. Each sculpture’s traits were crowdsourced from previous audiences, then designed and constructed by Bao using 3D printing, and assembled on a motor to allow them to move realistically.

This process of customisation is inspired by the power of CRISPR technology, a marvel that allows scientists to manipulate genes by targeting and editing parts of the genome. Challenging the conventional critique that customised gene editing lets humans play God, Afterman considers the potential of harnessing such technology to accelerate biodiversity, offering a solution to replenish what we have lost through environmental degradation and cure diseases.

In keeping with Art Encounter’s mission to bring art closer to the public, the second container is an interactive lab where audiences can create their own specimens by assembling parts already “grown” by the artist and toggling motors to bring them to life. The lab imagines a near future when CRISPR technology is readily available to the public. Visitors are encouraged to share images of their creation with others by posting it on Instagram with the #Afterman2222.

Bao Songyu is a maker-designer with interests in social interactions, the future of humans and visual phenomenons. Bao’s work ranges from installations to kinetic sculptures with elements of robotics and artificial life. He aims to continue experimenting with different materials in 3D printing to further his understanding of their applications. Bao is currently pursuing his Masters in Nanyang Technological University, School of Art, Design and Media. In 2019, he received the inaugural NTU Global Art Prize for his graduating work, Museum of Marine Life 2119. Subsequently, his works have also been exhibited at the ArtScience Museum, National Gallery Singapore and Hainan, China.

Bao Songyu. Photo Credit: Colin Wan.

Art Encounters 8 – Afterman: Synthesis Lab runs from 29th April to 12th June 2022 at Mandarin Gallery (Outdoor Walkway), Orchard Road. More information available here

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