Lit Up fest’s multidisciplinary feel goes full swing this year
SINGAPORE — Five years after it first started and the indie festival Lit Up is now all about Progression.
That’s the theme for this year’s edition, which runs from July 19 to 21 at Aliwal Arts Centre. After starting out as a literary arts-based event in 2009, organisers Word Forward has been slowly branching out into other art forms, with this year taking on a decidedly more obvious multidisciplinary bent.
“It started as an emerging writing and performance festival and we moved into multidisciplinary from 2011 and gone full swing this year,” explained performance poet Marc Nair, who came on board as the festival’s artistic director last year.
Events range from readings and plays to a visual arts exhibition and band performances. The list of participating artists are just as broad, from comedy improv group Yes! And Improv to singer-songwriter Eugenia. Workshops in lomography, lettering, among others, are also on offer.
“It’s kind of morphed in its identity, but one of the things at its heart is text — it’s one of the grounding aspects of the festival. A lot of the performances are very text-driven, spoken word naturally, as well as the plays,” Nair clarified, dismissing the idea that it might alienate literary types.
He added: “We already have the Singapore Writers Festival and we didn’t want to replicate that. I think, in a way, there’s balance. We might be trying to reach out to too many genres, but we’re not completely used to seeing a multidisciplinary festival in this country so I’m quite excited.”
The artistic crossover begins with the festival programme collaterals, as they’ve transformed it into a proper zine featuring commissioned works from writers and visual artists.
Nair has also plans to make the event regional—or at least have regional links. This year will have an opening night spoken word show featuring seven female poets from Singapore and Malaysia.
Collaboration is the name of the game for many of the events. Performance artist Lee Wen, for instance, is teaming up with poet/playwright Ng Yi-Sheng for a durational reading of Singapore literature works. The piece Echo will be a devised piece retelling the tale of Narcissus featuring artists from different backgrounds. The visual arts programme, too, will include the segment Tete-a-tete, which sees artists from different backgrounds working together, like sound artist Bani Haykal and photographer Geraldine Kang.
“The relationship between literature and visual arts is a significant one. They inform each other strongly and having this component as part of the festival unfolded quite naturally,” said curator and TODAY contributor Joleen Loh.