Experiential arts event 29Rooms Asia wants to provoke thoughts in Singapore debut

The immersive exhibition, which will be held next February, will feature snap-worthy themed rooms curated by international celebrities and homegrown artists.
by Kenneth SZ Goh

Photo: 29Rooms/Facebook

Fancy resting on a gigantic mattress with the proverbial sheep hanging over, strolling in a bergamot and sandalwood-scented forest or riding on a merry-go-round that transports you to different times in a day?

Visitors at the upcoming 29Rooms Asia, an experiential event-meets-arts exhibition can lap up in the interactive playground (and take many selfies along the way) when the inaugural Asian edition of the event comes to Singapore, from February 1 to 10, 2023.

The event, which is run by media company Refinery29, will be held at the West Lawn in Gardens By The Bay, which was vacated by the Orient Express exhibition.

Launched in 2015, 29Rooms started out as a roving arts exhibition-meets-party that has toured major cities in the United States. Over three million people from 24 countries have participated in its online and physical events over the years. Its last edition, which was held in New York City and Los Angeles in 2019, attracted around 120,000 visitors.

The event is famed for having celebrities and artists such as Lizzo, Solange Knowles, Margot Robbie and RuPaul co-curate its themed rooms and programmes. The line-up of international stars for 29Rooms Asia will be announced at a later date.

Credit: 29Rooms/Facebook

With a ‘Lost and Found’ theme, 29Rooms Asia aims to spur guests to rediscover, reimagine and redefine the meaning of possibilities. The theme is timely, given how the movement restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic has made many people reflect and contemplate on their life choices and their relationship with work and loved ones, which spurred movements such as the Great Resignation and put the spotlight on mental wellness.

Visitors can participate in a dynamic line-up of thought-provoking interactive installations, performances, and workshops that span areas such as art, culture, fashion and beauty, music, F&B and wellness.

Making its debut in the 29Rooms history is the XRoom, a sprawling 800 sqm space that will host a diverse range of programmes, from restaurant pop-ups, music performances, panel discussions and DJ sessions and more.

The organisers are also collaborating with visual arts organisation Art Outreach Singapore to bring homegrown artists to helm some of the spaces. For example, journaling artist StephTCreates will be part of the ‘Dora’s Diary’ room, which belongs to a wide-eyed eight-year-old girl from Shanghai, who became a social media sensation. StephTCreates will guide participants to pen their entries in workbooks.

Singapore artists to curate some of the rooms

Credit: 29Rooms/Facebook

Another Singapore visual artist Dawn Ng, who goes by the moniker Aeropalmics, will be part of the ‘Paradise Found’ space, which centres on one’s me-time experience in toilets. The space will feature creative and tongue-in-cheek interpretations of the humble porcelain bowl, where some might get hit with a bout of toilet inspiration. Visitors can also take home artwork that is printed on toilet paper.

The Pixel Toilet, which includes a pixelated mirror, is a play on how digital devices have infiltrated routine toilet trips.

At the ‘Flag Your Goals’ space, visitors can print their goals on a t-shirt and hang them on bamboo poles. The interactive space is inspired by the practice of hanging drying clothes on bamboo poles, which is a familiar sight in many public housing estates in Singapore.

Renowned Hong Kong multimedia artist Desmond Leung will helm Huetopia, a rousing gradient-hued art installation, where visitors can re-examine the poetic nature humans once had with hour.

With no recommended route, visitors can visit any of the 29 spaces in any way that they desire and linger around for an abundance of photo or TikTok opportunities. Organisers expect most people to spend around two tours touring the various rooms. Ticket prices start from$38.

Feeling peckish? The ‘Nice to Meet You Space’ doubles up as a cafe, which will feature eateries from well-known establishments. The space also has quirky seating options such as a see-saw-turned-couple’s chair and a five-person table balanced on a set of springs.

On choosing Singapore to debut 29Rooms Asia, which is targeted at Generation Z and millennials, Cory Haik, Chief Operating Officer of VICE Media Group says: “29Rooms brings people together in a celebration of creativity, and there’s no better place for its international debut than Singapore; the hub of art, culture and technology in Asia.” 29Rooms Asia will also travel to Shanghai in mid-2023.

This story originally published on thepeakmagazine.com.sg

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