The National Library Board (NLB) has unveiled its initiative to inspire greater appreciation for Singapore’s identity and heritage, with the help of Tribal Worldwide. The initiative will see the creation of colourful installations, treasure hunts and talks, and a digital storytelling website.
Curiocity is the first of many initiatives that NLB is rolling out as part of the Singapore Storytellers role in its LAB25 - Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025. LAB25 is a five-year journey which aims to bring everyone together to reimagine and shape libraries and archives of the future.
As part of its Places & Perspectives initiative, an experiential showcase will be put up that takes visitors through colourful nooks and crannies to uncover six old icons of Singapore's entertainment landscape in the Bras Basah, Bugis precinct and the Civic District. A light installation at the Level 1 Plaza of National Library Building will be put up, and satellite displays will be made available at three locations in the Civic District: The Arts House, Asian Civilisations Museum and Esplanade Park. These installations, organised in collaboration with National Gallery Singapore (NGS), are part of the Light to Night Festival 2022, a marquee event of Singapore Art Week spearheaded by NGS.
An alternative cinema of the future through an immersive audio-visual installation called Psychic Cinema 2065 will see the reimagination of the former Jubilee Theatre. The installation is by design studio Space Objekt and sound designer Intriguant, and aims to reframe the cinematic experience by disorientating a key sense associated with it — sight.
At The Arts House sits a tessellation of memories designed by Tribal Worldwide. The installation uncovers Bras Basah Bugis precinct’s and Civic District’s historical spots, reframed within infinity mirrors to reveal glimpses of their former selves. Visitors will step back in time to experience the area’s past, learn about the vanished landmarks and piece them together, before returning to the past.
At the Asian Civilisations Museum, artist Ong Kian Peng’s immersive media installation “The River Connects” highlights the bridges along the Singapore River. As its title suggests, this work explores the possibilities of human connection on and by the river — an organic phenomenon that spans mobility, commerce and social interactions.
“With this showcase, we want to celebrate the rich history and culture of Singapore, as well as to make the vast collection of historical content from the National Library and the National Archives of Singapore more accessible than ever to the public. We hope that this can spark Singaporeans’ curiosity in exploring our country through different perspectives,” said Alicia Yeo, acting director, National Library.
Situated along Queen Elizabeth Walk at Esplanade Park, LUMBA is an interactive light installation inspired by the small sailing boats in kolek lumba — a sea sport once held during the New Year Regatta in the Civic District between the 19th and early 20th centuries. Featuring five standing sculptures modelled after the boats, this creation by interaction designer Alina Ling invites all to observe how the sails billow in sync with the wind.
These immersive installations are set to transport visitors back into the city’s past, and visitors can look forward to exploring the various connected themes of history and community through imaginative ways.
Benson Toh, executive creative director at Tribal Worldwide Singapore, said, “This is an exciting opportunity for us to tell Singapore’s history in unique and unexpected ways, while using creative expressions to help audiences reconnect with our past.”