The year-end is imminent— along with a new edition of the wildly-fun-and-successful Singapore Writers Festival (starts 2 Nov 2018)! Since I've spent the past year+ working for a tech startup that's building its own AI-powered blockchain for digital transactions, I've been asked to host a session on 10 Nov where we all get to imagine the future that's nearly upon us. How will this emerging magick/ technology transform the collective memory and behavior of humanity? Will it activate man to a higher level of existence or drag us to ever lower common denominators of consciousness? Join me on 10 Nov at 1430hrs and let's gaze into this dark crystal together. -Aaron
#tech4humanity #blockchain #AI #embracechynge #SGLit #SGPoetry #SWF2018
Singapore poet Theophilus Kwek was part of the birthday celebrations and subsequently wrote a lovely warm-hearted article about it.
A pair of songs I composed in 2017 with lyricist Aaron Lee - “Song of the Fisherfolk” & “One by One” - will be performed by “SPEDacular Voices”, the combined choir of Special Education (SPED) schools, at the opening of the 2018 MOE SPED Conference - Nov 2nd at Singapore Expo.
The performance involves 140 students and 20 teachers from 12 SPED schools. Special thanks to music master teacher Suriati Suradi for so magnificently bringing the songs to life for the teachers, and to SPEDacular Voices conductor Irene Jansen for bringing out the best from the students in every sense. Thanks as well to NAC & Liu Yonglun for matchmaking this special partnership.
Without doubt, this is one of my most precious & important musical collaborations - because it manifests how music connects people despite differences, and shows how we are all the same, and therefore not quite so alone in the universe.
- Facebook post and photos by Kelly Tang, 27 August 2018 (public post setting)
MEET OUR #PPF2018 FEATURE POET...Aaron Lee
What led you to writing poetry?
I have been an avid reader since my childhood, and not long after being introduced to literature in class as an early teen, I decided to try to write my own poems. Unusually for that time, my school organised a poetry writing competition and I won the top prize when I was 16. This, and the encouragement of some teachers, made me take poetry writing seriously.
What can you tell us about the poetry you write?
My writing stems from themes that I feel strongly about. It's deeply personal, though not confessional. It's almost lyric poetry in that regard. I also care a lot about the aural and musical qualities of the line. That might seem strange, given that I'm not into spoken word poetry.
Why do you write what you write?
I write as a way to stop the world turning for a moment, to process life as it happens, to examine its trajectory.
What has been your proudest accomplishment(s) to date in regards to poetry and why?
Last year, the ArtScience Museum in Singapore asked to put up some lines from my poem "I Sing the Galactic" in big fonts on a wall of the museum. I'm quite a science (astronomy and natural sciences) geek, and it's a real thrill to me to have some thoughts next to quotes from famous scientists and philosophers. When you next get to Singapore, please go visit-- it's a great Museum!
What or who are guaranteed sources of inspiration for you when writing poetry?
My wife the national artist Namiko Chan Takahashi, has been my primary muse for nearly 20 years. She even likes me to recite my poems to her in the bedroom. I reckon it helps her sleep!
If you could have a famous poet, living or dead, write you a poem, who would you choose and why?
Seamus Heaney. I so admire his imagination and skill. Plus I wrote him a poem in the 1990s and he died before returning the favour.
What or who are the most exciting things about poetry at the moment?
The growing diversity of non-native voices in the English speaking world, is simply wonderful.
What do you hope to achieve with your poetry and writing?
I want people to be delighted and illuminated by a perfectly-wrought phrase or line. I want people to look under the veneer of things, to consider them deeply and from other viewpoints than their own. And I hope to see empathy and compassion take root in society; in fact this is the mission of LANIAKEA, the art collective that Namiko and I set up in 2014 <www.laniakea.la>.
Aaron will be here very soon! His books, pictured below, are available now from Ethos Books.
See the whole post at the Perth Poetry Festival Facebook page.
"Thought shapes art, and art shapes life." - Francis Schaeffer
The newly refurbished Pavilion of the Nations at the historic Bible House in Singapore was where the Bible Societies of eighteen Asian countries gathered this month at the International Bible Engagement Conference 2018.
Where the work of the Bible Society had traditionally focused on translation, publishing and distribution, it was now considered timely to expand its remit to include literacy, engagement and advocacy.
As part of the Arts Collective (an all-volunteer group of artists under the auspices of the Singapore Bible Society), Aaron was invited to share with the General Secretaries and representatives of the Bible Societies about the arts as a new (old) way of deepening engagement of Scripture. How wonderful it would be if Christians move beyond reading the Bible for information to immerse ourselves in it, in order to encounter the living God of His-tory. Seeing with "the eye of the heart", those that are called and gifted should make art that exegetes the human condition and thereby "till the soil of culture" in a post-Christian world.
Fellow members of the Arts Collective Seah Tziyan (arts consultant) and Tay Swee Lin (curator) shared about recent initiatives such as the "Colours of the Bible" annual art competition, DECLARE - the annual 72-hour public reading of the entire Bible, as well the GoForth Missions Conference 2018 that featured a creative arts track for the first time.
The session ended with a Q&A and an invitation to Bible Societies to collaborate with artists of faith in their own countries in this endeavour. AMDG
Namiko and Aaron recently hosted a group of artists at the Laniakea studio (where Namiko is currently HCSA artist-in-residence) in Geylang. The artists were in the middle of a two-week residency in Holland Village. This is the first residency for artists of the Christian faith in recent memory. We had a memorable time sharing, laughing, praying, eating together and encouraging one another. Ronald Wong, author of "The Justice Demand", took us on a walking tour of the neighbourhood and shared about the community needs in the area. Crea (part of CRU) is doing wonderful ministry!
Click here for the video
Sputnik Magazine's "Artist of the Week" celebrates faith-driven artists making work for universal audiences.
"Namiko is an astoundingly talented, hard-working and empathetic artist doing fantastic things..." - Jonny Mellor
Namiko's oil painting "Beyond Belief" (2017) is featured in the first ever Sputnik Poetry & Visuals anthology, a gorgeously-produced coffetable book exclusively for patrons of Sputnik.