Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) 2022 draws focus on rituals in performance
SINGAPORE: The Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA), Singapore's annual pinnacle performing arts festival presenting captivating and diverse works across theatre, music, dance, film and visual arts, returns from 20 May to 5 June 2022. Organised by Arts House Limited (AHL), SIFA 2022, titled The Anatomy of Performance – Ritual, marks the start of new Festival Director Natalie Hennedige's three-year tenure.
SIFA 2022-2024 is unified by a recurring title – The Anatomy of Performance – placing emphasis on artistic fluidity, multidisciplinary collaboration and internationality within festival commissions and presentations in both the physical and online space.
The addition of Ritual in the title focuses the curation to encompass nuanced notions of Ritual - from customary rites and rituals inherent in Singapore's diverse cultures to artists experimenting at the intersection of multidisciplinary practice and technology responding to Ritual within the nuances of digital language and expressiveness.
Natalie Hennedige says, "The performing arts remains an important space for reflection, creative articulation and nuanced expression. SIFA's proposition of performance creation from Singapore offers inspired artistic expression emerging from within Asia into the international arena by being a platform for rigorous artistic process and meaningful international collaboration."
SIFA 2022 aims to express the fluidity and intersections between art forms locally and internationally, and how in practice, many artists go beyond the conventional limits of artistic genres. This has created three layers of festival programming:
- Creation - a platform for SIFA's prime offerings encompassing new commissions, fresh iterations of works, and presentations by outstanding international artists.
- Life Profusion - SIFA's virtual stage which runs parallel to the live festival. Presenting five unique content categories: +DREAM, +EAT, +READ, +GROW, +DISCUSS, they aim to expand, organise and deepen the profusion of ideas and artistry radiating from the festival.
- SIFA X - marking the spot for alternative performance offerings, with the inaugural edition oneirism helmed by SAtheCollective's artistic director, Andy Chia.
SIFA 2022's headlining commissions are in line with the festival's commitment to encompass diverse perspectives that signal present-day interculturalism and global interconnectedness, as the catalyst for creative intersections and bold artistic innovation:
Life Profusion will launch the world premiere of world-renowned science fiction artist Lucy McRae's performance film, Delicate Spells of Mind, dissecting the operating system of the mind.
- Opening commission MEPAAN presents an ethereal sonic and visual nature-centered opus by Singapore Chinese Orchestra and Malaysia-based creative agency, The Tuyang Initiative.
- Holly Herndon: PROTO by Holly Herndon, an exhilarating concert from a musician at the forefront of today's technological revolutions, with sounds synthesised by Herndon and her A.I. "baby" Spawn.
- The Once and Future presents an expanded cinema experience by Singaporean filmmaker Yeo Siew Hua, paired with live music from musicians of the Berliner Philharmoniker.
- Remotes X Quantum stems from a collaboration between playwright Eleanor Wong and Philippines-based John Torres that marries film and installation.
- The Neon Hieroglyph by British artist and 2019 Turner Prize Winner Tai Shani makes a new iteration of her work performed by Malaysian actress Jo Kukathas.
- Internationally acclaimed Singapore director Ong Keng Sen presents project SALOME, starring Singaporean actor Janice Koh and Berlin-based performance artist Michael(a) Daoud, adopting documentary film-making as an approach to unveil the rituals of projection and self-mythologising.
- Ceremonial Enactments by MAX.TAN, Nadi Singapura and Bhaskar's Arts Academy puts together three re-enactments of culturally specific customs and rites from birth, to weddings.
- Devil's Cherry by Paul Rae and Kaylene Tan presents a fantastical tale of ordinary desire, the escape it promises, and the dreams it damns, set where urban life meets the Australian Bush.
Keeping the festival momentum going are digital commissions on-demand via SIFA on Demand, with four key commissions that will be available digitally till 10 July – MEPAAN, Ceremonial Enactments, Bangsawan Gemala Malam, and Delicate Spells of Mind. Tickets can be purchased at S$15 per show or S$25 for bundle of 4.