We checked out Imaginarium: Over the Ocean, Under the Sea at SAM at 8Q today. While the kids had fun with some of the installations, generally it was a lot less interactive than we had hoped it would be.
First up, there’s Underwater Labyrinth by Janice Wong (yes, the chef) and the corals are made from 1,000 kg of isomalt sugar and 200 kg of chocolate. The installation smells pretty darn good but it’s for your eyes only so don’t try licking it or anything. You’re not in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!
Also on the ground floor is Dimana Mogus? (Where is Mogus?) by Indonesian artist Mulyana. The sea creatures and the coral landscapes are all crocheted from yarn! The kids liked this because of the giant fish cushions they could throw themselves onto but they aren’t actually supposed to handle the sea creatures and coral which was a pity because they are so soft and cuddly.
Along the staircase landings is Apex Predator by Yuree Kensaku from Thailand. The murals appear happy and colourful but a closer look forces us to think about Man’s insatiable greed and exploitation of the oceans. Some kids may find the murals a little scary.
My favourite installation was ADA by Polish artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski. ADA is a giant glowing sphere with charcoal studs affixed to her surface and she leaves her mark as she is moved through the room by the visitors. The marks are only seen when she sheds light on them. Be prepared for blackened hands and faces when your kid is done pushing ADA around!
The series of sculptures by Thai artist Krit Ngamson was probably the least interactive of all the installations. The 3 sculptures reinterpret iconic artworks to explore issues concerning the oceans and pay homage to artists Marcel Duchamp, Damien Hirst and Salvador Dali. There’s absolutely no touching allowed. The kids got bored here pretty quickly.
Suara Muara (The Sounds of the Estuary) by Papermoon Puppet Theatre from Indonesia engages visitors aurally with sounds of overlapping waves. The mixed media installation brings to mind an old fishing village that time has forgotten. Pretty interesting to look at but you will have to constantly remind the kids not to touch anything except the headphones.
Plastic Ocean by Singaporean artist Tan Zi Xi is highly thought-provoking, recreating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with 14,000 pieces of non-biodegradable items. Kids are supposed to walk through and not touch anything and they have to keep to the path instead of trying to duck underneath the suspended trash (in case of sharp edges, I think). The concept is really interesting but I wish it could be more interactive. I probably have enough trash at home to come up with something like this.
Imaginarium 2016 is worth a visit and encourages kids to think about the oceans and our impact on marine creatures. However, it is not very interactive or hands-on so be ready to supervise the kids closely to make sure they don’t touch anything they are not supposed to.
Imaginarium: Over the Ocean, Under the Sea
14 May – 28 Aug 2016
SAM at 8Q
8 Queen St, Singapore 189555
Mon to Sun: 10 am to 7 pm; Fri: 10 am to 9 pm
Free for Citizens/ Permanent Residents & Children below 6
Adults: $10, Students/ Senior Citizens above 60: $5
More info here.