“Dive into dream worlds coloured by words and music, the creative outcomes of three collaborative projects between Singapore writers and musicians. Each interprets a dream in all its intimacy and duality, navigating through the blurry spaces of consciousness and the boundaries of conscience.”
This is the description given to this unique event – a ‘crossover’ of literature and music that features the combination of Stephanie Ye & Ferry, Daren Shiau & Riot !n Magenta and Dave Chua & weish. But what does it all mean, you ask?
Well, before we hear from the artists in question, I thought we’d start with the originators – a collaboration between co-organisers National Arts Council (NAC) & The Esplanade – to find what was the thinking behind Dimensions & Demons. For this task we have Yeow Kai Chai, Director, Singapore Writers Festival, NAC and Licia Sucipto, Programmer, The Esplanade Co Ltd in the hot seats, so to speak.
What was the basis for selecting the specific artists and exact collaborations?
Kai Chai: The Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) team picked the writers and our friends at Esplanade the musicians. We wanted writers who have worked across genres and mediums, and are open to collaborations.
Dave Chua had worked with comic artists and his cult novel Gone Case was turned into a telemovie. Stephanie Ye worked with dancers when she was in the Iowa Fall Residency in 2013. Daren Shiau moonlights as a DJ and loves music. We understand that it’s a delicate matchmaking arrangement, but we are hoping for creative sparks and a willingness to step outside the comfort zone.
We are glad that the writers and musicians involved are game and have committed time and dedication.
Licia: Esplanade has worked with Ferry, weish and Riot !n Magenta on a number of occasions, including presenting these artists as part of Baybeats, our annual alternative music festival. Through these opportunities, we found them to be open to various possibilities and collaborations, and a good fit with the writers suggested by the SWF team.
What were the parameters of the collaboration given to the artists?
Licia: Our brief to the writer-musician pairs was for them to jointly come up with a segment that explores different aspects of dreams or to come up with interpretations of their common relationship with reality. The artists were free to take any approach they wished, be it a literal response to the theme, or a figurative exploration of the idea. Our Programming and Technical Production teams at Esplanade are working closely with the artists to help them translate their ideas for the stage. In addition, Esplanade is helping to market and publicise the production.
What is the meaning behind the title of the event?
Licia: Our theme is “dream worlds” and we chose this because we felt that it had the potential to draw many different reactions and inspire different interpretations. Looking at the three works is almost akin to visiting different spaces in our collective imaginations and in each of them encountering experiences and struggles that we can all relate to. Thus, we arrived at the idea of Dimensions & Demons for the production’s title.
Why “Dream Worlds” as the subject matter?
Kai Chai: It’s a riff on the SWF theme this year, Island of Dreams. SWF and Esplanade want to explore the subliminal realities of human existence, and how artists conjure up their imaginary worlds as well.
What do you hope to achieve with Dimensions & Demons?
Kai Chai: SWF hopes that this will lay the foundation for more meaningful collaborations with partners such as Esplanade as we seek to explore new and interesting ways for artistic creation. We also wish the writers and musicians (and artists from other art forms) would discover each other’s works and start communicating.
Licia: As the national arts centre, Esplanade regularly seeks and facilitates opportunities for conversations and exchanges between artists, across disciplines or genres. Dimensions & Demons is one such opportunity. We hope that these new relationships and experiences inspire our artists with fresh insights and spur them to explore new dimensions of their craft, possibly leading to future collaborations.
Next: We speak to the artists involved in the coming days… still there’s more …