The theme for 2008 is Art and History. According to Artistic Director Alvin Tan: “Art provides us with the means to create our logbook of catastrophes, travesties, joys and successes of the past, which we can refer to as we are swept off into the future. The 20 works presented at the Festival aim to unearth myriad perspectives on this theme, and we would like to challenge our audiences to engage with and respond to these issues”.

The Festival has kept to its recommendation system of Virgin and Veteran, as a Festival guide to help audiences decide on the shows and exhibitions to catch. The Virgin and Veteran tags help to identify what is easy to access (Virgin) and what may be suitable for the more seasoned Fringe fans (Veteran).


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p>These are, of course, purely recommendations from the Festival – audiences are free to dispute the categories through their own encounters with the works!


Title Sponsor Mobile One continues its 11th year of sponsorship with a boost in funding. pledging $200,000 a year in 2008 and 2009. According to M1, the increase in support is in recognition of the growth of the Festival – in terms of its outreach to the Singapore audience and its strong local and international content.

The Festival reached out to more than 153,000 people in 2007 with a variety of free and ticketed events.

This increase in funding also coincides with the Festival’s direction towards an increase in commissioned works by artists, and Asian premieres of established, cutting edge international artists. The robust support, will enable the Festival to grow from strength to strength…

The Workers from Samsui


This year’s Festival Highlights include three events which speak to the heart of the In The Workers from Samsui, local photographer Sim Chi Yin takes us through the lives of three Samsui women in the twilight years of their lives through a series of photographic documentation.

The exhibition invites us to witness their resilience, strength and hardship and examine their contributions and impact on our society today. However, the images will not be exhibited at a gallery but at bus stops all over Singapore, from Hougang to Jurong.

From Finland, we have Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, who will kick start the Singapore chapter of The Complaints Choir Project. Previously staged to popular acclaim in cities such as Helsinki, Birmingham, St Petersburg and Hamburg, The Complaints Choir initiative now arrives for the first time in Asia! The two Finnish artists will be in Singapore to recruit local participants for the Singapore Complaints Choir, who will hone their griping – and singing – skills over a two-week period. The uniquely Singaporean song of laments will then be crafted and performed in public spaces islandwide at the end of the Festival. So come join the Choir and demonstrate our well-established complaint culture to the world!

Eclipse by Haresh Sharma

The Necessary Stage, together with Scotland’s 7:84 Theatre Company, brings you the critically acclaimed Eclipse. Written by Haresh Sharma and directed by Josephine Ronan, this one-man play presents the trials and tribulations of three generations of men, as witnessed through the eyes of a young Singaporean male travelling back to his father’s birthplace in Pakistan to scatter his ashes.

First staged as a short play in Scotland to rave reviews, it has been developed as a full-length play to premier at this year’s Festival.

Other notable events include two Festival Commissions – Above Us Only Sky by Zizi Azah Bte Abdul Majid (who wrote and directed the highly successful How Did the Cat Get So Fat?, featured in the 2007 edition of the Festival); and Ming Wong’s Filem-Filem-Filem, a video-installation inspired by the early films of Malaya.

With venues partners including the Esplanade, The Arts House, National Museum of Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum; With an array of top-notch artists from around the world; With free and ticketed art-works that will engage, confront and question… The M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2008 is set to be a platform for meaningful and provocative art.

But what is the role of Art in relation to History? Is Art a rendition, an interpretation, a record amongst many other records? Art allows us to document and respond to history. It is our logbook of the chain of catastrophes and travesties of the past, which we can refer to as we are swept off into the future.

Art has been used as a powerful medium to record what one regards as history. In the process of creation, more often than not, our interpretation with history works as catharsis and release, and we discover more about our individual beings. What is the role of history, then, as we continue to be buffeted and engulfed by the storm of progress? History does not necessarily reflect reality, but rather what we are to believe as real. History too is an interpretation. It is not cut and dried nor cast in stone. It is malleable and can be manipulated by whoever holds power to perpetuate control.

In this sense, history serves to document and educate, but it also provides us with raw materials that we can apply to our template of the present-day, i.e. a postmodern interpretation of what used to be modern. History is not necessarily about the past. Time and time again, humanity has exposed its folly and hubris by repeating its previous mistakes. Hence, as we investigate the role of history and its dialogue with art, we are also compelled to deal and contrast with its antithesis: the future.

In exploring the role and fault lines of history, we are compelled to cast ourselves into the future too, and contemplate on the concept of utopia – is it a concept that is meaningful in these times? Join the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2008 to unearth the myriad perspectives on Art & History.

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