Invitation to Dream – A Fire Garden Installation

This year’s Singapore Arts Festival opens with programme called “Invitation to Dream – A Fire Garden Installation” by the French  fire alchemist, Compagnie Carabosse. Spanning across the historic sites of the Esplanade Park and Empress Place, it consists of several contraptions of towering sculptures of metal, clay pots, fire curtains, blazing garlands and intricate patterns of flame.

Armed with only my trusty Panasonic Lumix LX3, I was there with my friend David and YS to shoot the event. I was there early, and I noticed that it’s a rather hazy evening.

Hazy evening with the Cavanagh Bridge and Fullerton Hotel in the foreground.
The Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort (Casino) shrouded in haze.

At 7pm, the performers start to light the fire garlands known as “Fion Fions”.

Lighting the Fion Fions
The lit Fion Fions near Empress Place

The Fireball is a metal sphere made up of 10 meridians with a ring at each pole. Firepots are placed on the metal rings. There are a few of them on-site, here’re a few shots of one of them.

A photographer takes a shot of the Fireball.

There’s also this interesting contraption featuring a “cyclist” cycling to and fro on a tightrope. I wonder how it’s being propelled.

Funambrule - A cyclist on a tightrope.

Under a little tent, guitarist “ORL” gave his performance.

Guitarist "ORL" performing

Here’s a wider shot, showing part of the tent.

Guitarist "ORL" performing under the tent

Along the Queen Elizabeth Walk, we have the Lianas, which are pots connected together by metal chains to form a garland.

Lianas along Queen Elizabeth Walk. In the background are the Esplanade, the Singapore Flyer and the hotels.

Right outside the Asian Civilisations Museum at Empress Place, there are the Meli Melos. These are a series of circular metal structures which spin slowly in different ways. Firepots are attached to each circle measuring 4.5m tall.

Meli Melos

At one end of the Cavanagh Bridge, we see the Stovepipe. The operator slowly lowers the pipe into the burning pot of parrifin wax by turning the wheel, and after a small wait, he raises it, whereupon there is a small “explosion” and smoke which comes up from the pipe. Quite a impressive sight to see, but unfortunately it’s something which is hard to capture.

Stovepipe and operator

Here’s a close-up of the operator. As there was not much lighting, I was forced to use ISO 1600 on the Panasonic Lumix LX3, which gave kind of a noisy picture. Therefore, I decided to give it the B&W treatment.

Stovepipe Operator

Still at Empress Place, we have these burning charcoal balls suspended above the ground.

Charcoal Balls

Finally, the “Forest of Vests”, which looks like a whole “forest” of singlets.

Forest of Vests

There are a few more similar installations which I did not shoot/post. Overall, I kind of enjoyed the installation although it made the already hot and humid Singapore weather worse off. Such an installation would probably work better in cold countries where the heat will be much appreciated.

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