Not checked out Future World at ArtScience Museum yet, mama? This new permanent exhibit is a delight for kids (and adults) of all ages!
For weeks I’d been hearing about the new Future World exhibit at ArtScience Museum, but for a variety of reasons kept having to delay my visit. The good news is that it’s a permanent exhibition (for the next three years, anyway) set up to celebrate ArtScience Museum’s fifth anniversary, so it’s not going anywhere. The bad news is that it was so awesome that I regret not sharing the news with our audience sooner. Go there now, mamas (though preferably at an off-peak time if you can swing it)!
Defining Future World’s overarching theme is a little bit tricky, but in broad terms it’s described as “Singapore’s largest digital playground” and an interactive exploration of the “intersection between art, science, technology and culture”.
In layman’s terms, I’d say it’s an exhibit where the audience helps bring art to life. Have you ever seen the movie Big? You know the awesome scene where he’s playing the giant piano with his feet? This is kind of like that, writ large (and the piano not only makes sounds, but the impact of each footstep shows a starburst of colors that will have little ones guffawing in amazement).
Created in collaboration with the Japanese art and technology collective teamLab, FutureWorld takes up nearly a quarter of the museum’s total gallery space. It feels less like an art exhibit, and more like a hands-on interactive play space, for both kids and adults. Don’t believe me? Check out this selfie I took with my toddler in the “Crystal Universe”, an immense light installation featuring over 170,000 LED lights that give the illusion of stars moving in space. It’s been amongst Future World’s most Instagrammed features, and with good reason – you can’t help but feel a sense of wonder being surrounded by ever-changing twinkling lights.
Future World is organised into four themed areas – “Nature”, “Town”, Park” and “Space” – but kids will probably have little appreciation for the distinction. Both “Town” and “Park”, for instance, have cool drawing activities where you can color with special crayons, scan your creation, and watch it appear on a live screen. My daugther spent a solid five minutes marveling as “Maggie’s shark” swam back and forth across the “Sketch Aqarium” screen. (She brazenly disregarded the instructions to “Colour within the lines” so her shark was a bit more avant garde than the other sea creatures on screen.)
Other highlights for Maggie included the giant slide in the “Town” section (I was amazed at all the high school and uni students who seemed to enjoy sliding down next to her); “Create! Hopskotch for Geniuses” in “Park” (the aforementioned exploding starburst mat. Older kids can use a touchpad to create their own hopskotch course, but Maggie just loved running back and forth along the illuminated pathway); and the “Light Ball Orchestra” in “Park”, where touching giant balls changes their colours and sounds. This one once again seemed to be a surprising hit with plenty of adults.
Older kids (and tired mamas) might appreciate the “100 Years Sea Animation Diorama” chill out zone in “Nature”, a classical Japanese woodblock carving come to life that shows the real impact of 100 years of climate change. It’s a beautifully peaceful and immersive setting, with giant pillows strewn across the floor. Train lovers are also apt to go nuts for “Connecting! Train Block” in “Town”, which allows you to build your very own transportation infrastructure on an interactive touch pad.
Finally, this mama loved the tranquility of “Universe of Water Particles” at the edge of “Nature”. It’s a living two-story waterfall that can’t help but inspire a sense of calm. I’m also itching to go back because a brand new installation, “Graffiti Nature”, has just opened up. It looks to be another sketching zone where guests can draw fantastical flora and fauna that will meander between zones. What child wouldn’t be inspired by whales, butterflies, turtles and tiny lizards peacefully co-existing?
Maggie and I visited on a Thursday afternoon, and even at this time the exhibit was fairly crowded. I’ve heard it can get a bit nuts on weekends, so plan accordingly, mamas. That said, I think it would make for a solid 1-2 hours of fun over school holidays (the more your kids are into drawing, the longer they’ll love it, I think). In an effort to space out the crowds and let everyone have ample time to interact with the installations, there are six set admissions times throughout the day (see details below).
It’s so dynamic that I can see us going back every few months and Maggie interacting with the exhibits in an entirely different way than the time before. I like that it’s far less static than what you’d find at a regular indoor playground, yet still has aspects of physicality (the slide, the light ball orchestra) that let little ones burn off some energy. If this is what the future looks like, sign me up!
Future World is open daily as part of the ArtScience Museum. Tickets are available for purchase at the museum, all Marina Bay Sands box offices, and on the website. Daily admission times to the exhibit are 10am, 11:30am, 1pm, 2:30pm, 4pm and 5:30pm. ArtScience Museum is open daily from 10am to 7pm. Ticket prices vary depending upon age and residency status; see website for details.
Future World at ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956, Tel: (+65) 6688 8868, www.marinabaysands.com/artsciencemuseum