Singapore’s history comes to life in a different way with The Future of Our Pasts Festival (TFOOPFest), a month-long festival exploring lesser-known stories of communities and places of the past and present, reimagined through artistic mediums.
Organised by Yale-NUS in support of the Singapore Bicentennial, TFOOPFest runs from 16 February to 17 March 2019 at various locations around the city.
The festival showcases projects by students and recent graduates from different tertiary institutions in Singapore and abroad, who have been commissioned to investigate less explored narratives of Singapore’s history, and present them via creative or artistic mediums. Through immersive performances, exhibitions, public installations, books, films, and a web documentary, these projects explore diverse themes of space, architecture, communities, language, race, relationships, and the arts.
TFOOPFest invites you to discover these stories with us, and engage with what our many pasts mean for Singapore — now and in the future.
If I had to explain in one sentence what The Future of Our Pasts is trying to achieve, my response would be this: To get more people in Singapore interested in history through stories.
Stories told by young people in Singapore of love, loss, discovery and identity. Stories all of us can relate to in some way.
Through their works, we encounter personal and community histories, memories, histories of places gone and places still existing. We become aware of the complexities of historical representation and identity-making.
The Future of Our Pasts is both a history grant, and an arts-and-media festival. Since its inception, the grant and festival (also known as TFOOPFest) has focused on engaging with history outside of academia. When the call for proposals was launched, applicants were encouraged to examine less-explored historical narratives and present their findings through artistic mediums. We wanted young Singaporeans to write their own history and in so doing develop a sense of belonging and identity. We are proud to present 11 projects by students and recent graduates from different tertiary institutions in Singapore and abroad. Over the year and a half since our open call, the teams were able to refine their ideas and project concepts through a series of workshops and critique sessions. For some project creators who are undertaking a creative project for the first time, this process has also been a journey of learning and discovery.
Each of their projects provide different entry points for audiences to ‘reimagine’ Singapore’s history, through performances, exhibitions, public installations, books, films, and a web documentary.
There will also be fringe programmes on offer during the month-long festival, such as a curated film screening series, walking tours, workshops, talks and panel discussions to encourage conversations about history.
I do hope you will take the time to attend and explore the different programmes at the festival. Our hope is for TFOOPFest to challenge and deepen our understanding of history, and serve as a catalyst for further ruminations about Singapore’s past.
The Festival Organising Team and I owe a great debt to many people (arts practitioners, scholars, and mentors) who have so generously offered their time and invaluable advice to our teams as they developed their projects. We are also very grateful to our invited speakers, panelists, workshop and walking tour leaders, who have enriched our festival programmes with their perspectives and insight.
My heartfelt thanks to Tan Li-Jen and Yap Zhiwen for their dedication and effort in managing this project. They have been instrumental in ensuring the smooth progress of TFOOPFest from conception to fruition. I wish also to express my thanks to our Festival Team and Volunteers who have worked tirelessly to ensure a successful festival. And finally, to all our project creators, I wish to convey my deepest appreciation for your hard work, creativity, and dedication to your projects. Congratulations!
—Professor Tan Tai Yong
Chair, Festival Steering Committee
Led by Yap Zhiwen
and Tan Li-Jen
Noelle Ngoc Phan,
Kwok Jia Yang,
Nur Hazeem Bin Abdul Nasser,
Manto Joseff Danielle,
and Charmaine Chua.
Chaired by Tan Tai Yong
Naoko Shimazu, Lee Chee Keng, Brian Farrell, John Solomon, Kwa Chong Guan
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