SMU Arts Fest 2023: POST hits high notes of creativity, innovation and artistic excellence
The SMU Arts Fest 2023 took place over 6 weekends from 18 August to 24 September 2023 and featured collaborations between SMU arts CCA clubs, alumni, and institutions in the Bras Basah.Bugis precinct - LASALLE College of the Arts, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and School of the Arts (SOTA). SMU also partnered the National Heritage Board (NHB) in the Singapore Night Festival.
The festival drew a record number of 13726 attendees, 72% of whom registered as first-time SMU Arts Fest goers. It also sold out all its seven ticketed performances.
Among the festival sponsors were Microsoft and Samsung who supplied gadgets, prizes and backdrop technology for a number of programmes. The former also conducted AI workshops for students.
Themed POST, the festival delved into the complexities of post-modernity and aimed to evoke conversations about the past, present and future. Festival director Seah Wee Thye, who heads the Arts and Creative Experience teams in SMU Office of Student Life explained that this theme was especially appropriate, post-pandemic. He said, “We are interested in what comes after. Anything and everything that happens following a major event will challenge us to embrace the unknown, navigate unchartered territories and potentially shape a future that may surpass our wildest imaginations; and this Arts Fest is an exploration of that.”
SMU President Professor Lily Kong welcomed about 100 invited guests to the festival opening exhibition, Me, Myself and AI on 18 August at SMU de Suantio Gallery. Student artists from SMU ARTDICTED, SMU Literati, SMUSAIC and NAFA’s School of Design and Media presented intriguing pieces set against the evolving social landscape shaped by AI.
Commenting on the exhibition, Prof Lily Kong said, “I enjoyed Me, Myself and AI very much! It was so impressive that our young artists from SMU and NAFA demonstrated their conceptual, creative, analytical, artistic and literary abilities. They were so eloquent too, in explaining their work. Our SMU Students are not formally students of art, but it was clear they had much talent! Well done, all!”
Prof Steve Dixon, President of LASALLE, who also enjoyed his tour of the exhibition said, “Brilliant and fascinating work, so thoughtful and thought provoking, bravo all!”
The Social Post was a much-anticipated collaboration with Singapore Night Festival – which also opened on 18 August. Between segments of light projections against the façade of the National Museum, SMU Campus Green came to life with crowd rousing performances by SMU Chinese Orchestra, SMU Eurhythmix, SMU Funk Movement, SMU MLCC Rentak, SMU Samba Masala, SMU Stereometa, SMU SoundFoundry and SMU VOIX. Dancers from SOTA were also featured in the concert line-up. Thousands of festival revellers were entertained over two weekends of music, song and dance extravaganza. Taking inspiration from the Night Festival’s theme of Singapore, the Great Port City, students presented their artistic interpretation of living (and partying) in our dynamic digital hub.
This year’s SMU Arts Fest showcased close to 500 talented performers. Among them were close to 300 undergraduates from 15 SMU arts CCAs, as well as 150 alumni. SMU Eluminix, the alumni wing of hip-hop group SMU Eurhythmix, presented their first full-scale dance production, MMRS.
Other performances included Beyond Human, a dance production by SMU INDANCITY, which explored themes of identity and relationships in a post-human world. A number of dancers' dramatic costumes were designed by students from LASALLE College of the Arts’ Fashion Design and Textiles Programme.
In the play, Love & Information by Caryl Churchill, 13 student and alumni actors from SMU StageIT portrayed various characters’ struggle with identity and their search for love, amidst endless and at times, senseless information.
Below are some highlights of the stunning visual showcases.
SMU Broadcast & Entertainment’s annual host competition, Voice Personality Hunt, upsized this year as 28 aspiring talents outspoke and outwitted each another in Post Script. Crowds of supporters and fans gathered at the SMU “Big Steps” on a balmy 1 September evening to witness the finals, judged by celebrity hosts Anita Kapoor, Joshua Simon and Steven Chia.
Planning a festival of such a scale, though challenging, was a rewarding experience for the organising team. “It was a rollercoaster ride collaborating with large teams and prominent brands for the six-week event, but it certainly pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone,” said Anna Lim, a SMU Business student and the festival’s Marketing Creatives Deputy Director.
Congratulations to all student artistes, choreographers, artistic directors and organisers for a successful run of the SMU Arts Fest!
In the words of Prof Kwok Kian Woon Vice, Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Arts Singapore, this was “such a wonderful festival that involves so many people and with many creative ideas seeing fruition and with students learning hands on about collaboration and coordination. Congratulations and keep up the great work. Looking forward to next year's!"
Catch video highlights of Arts Fest 2023 here!