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IDA's First Art-and-Tech Festival to Kickstart Conversations and Spark Public's Imagination of Life in a Smart Nation

28 Sept 2015 - As Singapore ramps up its efforts to become the world’s first Smart Nation, what is the impact of technology on our everyday lives? Experience artists’ interpretations of what technology and Smart Nation mean to them at the Festival of Tech, the first art-meets-technology festival organised by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday.

Singapore, 28 September 2015 | For Immediate Release

As Singapore ramps up its efforts to become the world’s first Smart Nation, what is the impact of technology on our everyday lives? Experience artists’ interpretations of what technology and Smart Nation mean to them at the Festival of Tech, the first art-meets-technology festival organised by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday. The Festival is inter-disciplinary, with artists, designers and tech communities coming together to present and discuss ideas of the future, some made tangible through interactive artworks.

During the Festival of Tech which runs from 10 to 18 October, the public can strike up conversations with street furniture such as lamp posts and even the Merlion – an interactive public activity designed by the artists to allude to how technologies such as the Internet of Things are making random objects part of our everyday interactions. The public can also experience sleeping in an installation that explores another group of artists’ vision of using public space for restorative sleep in our increasingly digital life.

Using art as a medium, the Festival of Tech aims to get the public to start conversations about the impact of technology in our daily lives and what Smart Nation can mean to us. Besides opportunities for reflection, the Festival has a fun element, too, where the public can exercise their artistic talents by taking part in online contests to showcase their creative interpretations of technology and Smart Nation.

The Festival of Tech will officially be launched by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall on 10 October.

Here is the Festival of Tech in brief:

FutureEverything Singapore

Headlining the Festival of Tech is FutureEverything Singapore, a collaboration between IDA and FutureEverything, an award-winning innovation lab for art, music and digital culture based in the UK. FutureEverything is bringing its landmark festival to Singapore, its first major collaboration in Asia. FutureEverything Singapore will feature curated activities that mesh tech and art; such as interactive street furniture (Hello Lamp Post: Singapore), a public art installation (The Chronarium), an innovation workshop, and a public conference (Signals of Tomorrow).

Hello Lamp Post: Singapore
Venues: Orchard and City areas
Dates: 10 – 18 October

Hello Lamp Post: Singapore is an urban experiment which explores the idea of intelligent street furniture, as more and more objects become connected via the internet. This interactive outdoor activity sees commonplace street furniture such as lamp posts, hydrants and bus stops being brought to life to converse with the public through text messaging. One of the highlights will be the Merlion for the public to “interact with” Refer to Annex 1 for Hello Lamp Post.

The Chronarium
Venue: The Cathay
Date: 10 – 15 October

The Chronarium is an experiential sleep laboratory that re-imagines a public space with hammocks for the public to recharge from our highly connected lives. This installation aims to provide shoppers an immersive audio-visual environment of pink noise and coloured light to rest and relax over 15 minutes. The location of The Chronarium in a shopping mall draws a parallel to our busy lives and the need to have good quality sleep, especially when studies have shown that there is a correlation between chronic lack and poor quality of sleep and health implications. Refer to Annex 2 for more details of The Chronarium.

Signals of Tomorrow Innovation Lab
Dates: 10 – 14 October (closed-door by-application workshop)
              17 – 18 October (Public showcase at ArtScience Museum)

To be held over four days and led by industry experts, the Signals of Tomorrow Innovation Lab conducted at the National Design Centre will devise imaginative ways to engage local professionals from the art, design and technology communities to envision the future of technology and a Smart Nation. Participants will showcase their prototyped participatory art and design projects at the ArtScience Museum from 17 – 18 October. The team behind the winning prototype will get a $40,000 development fund to refine its prototype and showcase it internationally at FutureEverything Manchester in March 2016. Refer to Annex 3 for Signals of Tomorrow Innovation Lab.

Signals of Tomorrow Conference
Venue: ArtScience Museum
Date: 17 October

The Signals of Tomorrow public conference will pull together an international phalanx of leading artists, designers and futurists to engage in a national conversation on the place of smart technologies in society and culture, and how these transform the way we live, work and play. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation initiative, will deliver the keynote address at this exciting conference. Refer to Annex 4 for Profiles of Speakers.

Crowd-sourced Tech Art Contests

The Festival of Tech is also going social. IDA is running two crowd-sourced tech art contests with attractive prizes for grabs. #TechFlatLay and #MySmartNation micro video contests offer an outlet for the public to unleash their creativity in interpreting tech and what Smart Nation means to them via various artistic forms, such as photos and videos respectively. Refer to Annex 5 for more details on Crowd-sourced Tech Art Contests.

Partnership with Straits Times

IDA will also partner The Straits Times to chronicle and commemorate the 35 years of Singapore’s tech development with a special online feature. This feature will look at how Singapore’s tech journey has evolved from 1981—when the then National Computer Board was first set up---to the present year, with the IDA as one of the key government agencies championing the country’s push to become a Smart Nation. This online feature will be launched at the opening ceremony of Festival of Tech.

"Singapore is in a festive mood this year, celebrating 50 years of independence. The next chapter of the Singapore Story is the journey to become a Smart Nation. Creativity is vital in this journey, and there is a role for everyone. We want to encourage not just the tech professionals, but artists, designers, students, basically everyone, to experiment and prototype. This is why we are excited to be working with FutureEverything in bringing its art and digital innovation spectacle here as part of the Festival of Tech. It’s great that everyone--of any age or background--will get the chance to experience tech through interactive art. We also hope the events around the island will help people enjoy the positive role of technology in their lives,” said Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA.

“With our first major venture into Asia, we are delighted to bring our 20 years of experience in championing and bringing innovative ideas to life, to the Singapore public. At a reflective moment for Singapore in its 50th year, we want to engage and stimulate the public to consider how its future society could be further shaped by technology and innovation,” said Drew Hemment, FutureEverything founder and CEO.


Related Resources

About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The mission of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is to develop information technology and telecommunications within Singapore with a view to serve citizens of all ages and companies of all sizes. IDA does this by actively supporting the growth of innovative technology companies and start-ups in Singapore, working with leading global IT companies as well as developing excellent information technology and telecommunications infrastructure, policies and capabilities for Singapore. For more news and information, visit Follow IDA on Facebook and Twitter.

About Smart Nation

Singapore strives to be a Smart Nation, in which our people are empowered by technology to lead meaningful and fulfilled lives. By harnessing the power of networks, data and info-comm technologies, we endeavour to improve living, create economic opportunity and build a closer community. We have the conducive environment to experiment, prototype and deploy innovative solutions that can be shared with other global cities. It is an exciting journey, and we want your ideas to help us realise our vision. For more information, please visit

For media clarifications, please contact:

TAN Boon Leng (Mr)
Manager, Corporate and Marketing Communications Division
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: (65) 6211 0375