Environment, Innovation at Voilah! French Festival Singapore 2018

Voilah! – a French-Singapore celebration of the arts, culture and science will take place from 1 April to 5 May at various locations in Singapore. This year's themes include the environment and innovation, reports Mallika Naguran.

SINGAPORE, 29 March 2018. More than 20 arts and cultural programmes will be showcased at Voilah! French Festival Singapore 2018, as France and Singapore pay homage to 10 years of cultural cooperation and exchange this year.

The festival returns to Singapore from 1 April to 5 May to feature French-Singapore partnerships and innovation in the arts, culture and science. The programme comprises visual arts, film and music framed by new technologies and techniques.

Issues of the day such as threats to natural landscapes, conservation of culture and wildlife, tension between humanity and technology, and more can be appreciated through showcases as well.

French Ambassador to Singapore, HE Marc Abensour, said, “Voilah! has become a veritable annual celebration of the long-standing friendship that France and Singapore share. Beyond a colourful display of creative expressions, the festival is more importantly a key platform for knowledge-sharing and collaboration between both communities, especially towards issues that matter. Voilah! 2018 invites everyone to join in its spirit of discovery and breaking boundaries, and it is my hope that each festival-goer leaves inspired and emboldened to effect change for the future.”

Here are a few highlights of what’s on at Voilah! 2018:

The Environment

Michel Rawicki’s photo exhibition, Touched by the Cold, provokes thoughts on the fragility of nature and of climate change. The French photographer spent the last 20 years documenting the plight of wildlife in the poles – a region that bears the brunt of current environmental concerns. Festival-goers will be transported to the depths of the Arctic by the retrospective photograph series, all in the artist’s hopes of igniting climate change discussions and a greater awareness on the importance of conserving nature’s beauty. This exhibition is pretty much aligned to Singapore’s Year of Climate Action this year.

 Michel Rawicki captures the beauty of nature in his photograph exhibition at Voilah! 2018 that also carry environmental nuances. Courtesy Michel Rawicki.

Michel Rawicki captures the beauty of nature in his photograph exhibition at Voilah! 2018 that also carry environmental nuances. Courtesy Michel Rawicki.

What: Exhibition

When: 1 April – 6 May 2018

Venue: Colonnade, Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay

Admission: Free

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 Botanical Notes reveal the works of botanist Francis Halle at Voilah! 2018. Courtesy Francis Halle.

Botanical Notes reveal the works of botanist Francis Halle at Voilah! 2018. Courtesy Francis Halle.

Botanist Francis Hallé has spent close to 50 years documenting the flora and fauna in rainforests and gardens around the world through detailed hand-drawn sketches. Botanical Notes is an exposition of Francis’ life’s work, reflecting the importance and impact that his drawings have had on the fragile, fast-changing natural landscapes of the world.

What: Exhibition

When: 24 March – 22 April 2018

Venue: People’s Gallery, Singapore Botanic Gardens

Admission: Free

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A Spotlight on Innovation 

Voilah! 2018 also turns the spotlight towards today’s issues, presenting different perspectives through new techniques and technologies.

In an age of rapidly-developing technologies, there is constant discussion on the limitless possibilities of innovation. Yves Gellie confronts festival-goers with an inside look at the development of humanoid technology. He presents the world premiere of Human Version, a photo exhibition that dives into the world of scientific research laboratories dedicated to the development of robots, or humanoids. The exhibition ponders the fate of humankind, yet is also an unnerving ode to the increasingly-close relationship shared by man and robots today.

What: Exhibition

When: 14 April – 26 May 2018

Venue: La Galerie, Alliance Française de Singapour

Admission: Free

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Mathieu Briand will bring the laboratory into the National Design Centre, making science fiction a reality in his debut performance exhibition, A-DROYX. Over 12 days, the artist will create his very own child-like humanoids from scratch, and visitors are invited to watch and interact as he designs, models and programmes his creations into life.

 Blurring the lines between androids and humans, Mathieu Briand's A-DROYX invites people to explore boundaries in his lab exhibition at Voilah! 2018. Courtesy M.Briand

Blurring the lines between androids and humans, Mathieu Briand's A-DROYX invites people to explore boundaries in his lab exhibition at Voilah! 2018. Courtesy M.Briand

What: Exhibition

When: 26 April – 5 May 2018

Venue: Gallery 1, National Design Center

Admission: Free

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Asian Arts and Civilisations

For the first time, a selection of masterpieces from the collection of Paris’ Musée Guimet – Europe’s leading museum of Asian art – will be travelling out of France to be showcased as part of Asian Civilisations Museum’s blockbuster exhibition, Angkor: Exploring Cambodia’s Sacred City. As part of the exhibition, Voilah! has also worked with the museum to gather international thought leaders from France, Cambodia, USA, Australia and Singapore, for a symposium discussing the legacy, present day challenges and future plans of the world heritage site.

What: Exhibition

When: 8 April – 22 July 2018

Venue: Asian Civilisation Museum

Admission: Ticketed. See www.acm.org.sg

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The cultural and musical traditions of Southeast Asia take the stage too, as part of ROOTS – a musical walk through the years 1870 to 1915, also known in Europe as the Belle Epoque or the Golden Age. Helmed by a multi-national cast led by artistic director Sabrina Zuber, the performance will twin the works of some of Southeast Asia and Europe’s greatest composers and the popular melodies of those times. 

What: Music

When: 27 April 2018

Venue: Esplanade Recital Studio

Admission: Ticketed. See Peatix.

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Unique French-Singapore collaborations 

Sound artist and composer Tarek Atoui presents his first solo exhibition in Southeast Asia, titled The Ground: From the Land to the Sea. His presentation – a spatial composition that comprises various sounds, instruments, music and new technologies – includes an aural collection with unique Singapore sounds, recorded at local harbours and waterfronts. At the core of Atoui’s practice is an on-going process of inviting composers and artists to collaborate on his pieces, in search of new ideas, gestures and experiences. Here, he has invited acclaimed local sound artists and musicians Vivian Wang and Yuen Chee Wai, and music curator Mark Wong, as well as French drummer and electro-acoustic composer, Uriel Barthélémi, to interact and create their own interpretations of his composition within the exhibition.

What: Exhibition

When: 24 March – 24 June 2018

Venue: NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, Gillman Barracks

Admission: Free

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Inspiring a new generation of young local performers, acclaimed French choreographers Annie Vigier and Franck Apertet (Les gens d’Uterpan) have worked with the graduating dance students from LASALLE College of the Arts (School of Dance and Theatre) to present Prologue – a newly-commissioned work premiering on 6 April. A poignant piece reflecting the serendipity of the crossing of paths, the performance will be showcased as part of the students’ graduation showcase.

What: Dance

When: 6-7 April 2018

Venue: Singapore Airlines Theatre

Admission: Ticketed. See Peatix

About the Festival

Voilah!’ is organised by the French Embassy and the Institut Français Singapour, with the support of these partners: Asian Civilisations Museum, Alliance Française de Singapour, Esplanade Recital Studio, Gardens by the Bay, INTERSECTIONS Gallery, LASALLE College of the Arts, National Design Centre, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, Singapore Botanic Gardens, The Projector, Zouk, and the community of French businesses based in Singapore. 

For event timings and further information on the festival, please visit www.voilah.sg.   

Download the Voilah! French Festival Singapore 2018 programme here.