Monthly Archives: October 2016

Delicate maneouvres in quadrant space
A talk for the Crossing Quadrant Working Group meeting
Malta, 21-24 October 2016

The Inaugural Maltese Gathering of the Crossing Quadrants Working Group ( was designed to enable sharing, reflection and conviviality in the spectacular setting of Malta. The participants gave short presentations that conveyed something quirky or fascinating about their present reality; mental prototypes; issues they have been wrestling with that they wanted to discuss; or meandering meditations on the cosmos and all it contains …

I gave a talk called ‘Delicate maneouvers in quadrant space’. The intent was to give a snapshot of some of the practitioners and programmes we have developed at ArtScience Museum in Singapore.

I referenced:
Lin Xiao Fang, artist from China (pictured below)
Yang Yongliang, artist from China (pictured above)
Zhang Dali, artist from China
Nguyen Trinh Thi, Vietnamese artist and filmmaker
Lee Wen, artist from Singapore (pictured below)
Arts Fission, dancers from Singapore (pictured below)
Alvin Pang, Writer/Poet from Singapore (pictured below)
Aaron Maniam, Writer/Poet from Singapore (pictured below)
Cheryl Chung, Foresight analyst and policy-maker from Singapore (pictured below)


Unexpected Partners: Science & Art
A talk for the World Summit on Arts & Culture
Malta, 18-21 October 2016

I was privileged to be amongst the speakers at the he 7th World Summit on Arts & Culture (, where participants explored the theme: At the Crossroads – Cultural Leadership in the 21st Century. The summit addressed a number of critical issues from the impact of multilateral trade negotiations on cultural policies, to how we can advocate for freedom of expression and cultural rights. I was speaking at a session called “Unexpected partnerships: where are the new spaces for creation and creativity and how do we support them?” (

My talk was about unexpected partnerships between science and the arts. One of the reference points for the talk was this quote:

“Making art can be very helpful for scientists when they are failing to make progress. Sometimes you have to dive in deeply, but sometimes you’re stuck have to get unstuck.”
– Robbert Dijkgraaf Theoretical physicist and director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (quoted in Nature

As well as being a scientist of world-renown, Dijkgraaf often practices art. In a fascinating piece of evidence that partnerships between art and science extend more deeply than we realise, Dijkgraaf credits his attendance at art school as the reason he is a scientist today. This was a key reference for a talk, where I spoke about artists, technologist and scientists who have shown their work at ArtScience Museum.
I referenced the work of:
Luke Jerram (pictured above)
Jeremy Sharma (pictured below)
Tan Peng Kian
The Centre for Quantum Computing’s arts programme

A Museum of the Future? What would that look like?
A talk for the East of West, West of East conference
17 – 19 October 2016

Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner once remarked: “We cannot change the present, but we can change the future, through the young people”.

East of West West of East was a conference convened by Para-Limes at NTU that explored barriers and resonances between East and West. Talks explored the limits of Eastern and Western ways of thinking and different concepts of change. The Western scientific way of thinking, which is expressed and conceptualized in high precision words often ignores the context in which it is framed and has hit a wall in explaining the real world. So does the Eastern way of thinking that is expressed in words that carry ambiguity and have meaning only within a context, carrying richness in interpretation but being subject to lack of precision. Both ways of thinking can co-exist in a world with a low population and large resources. But in a crowded and interconnected world, where east and west increasingly move into each other’s resource spaces, a synthesis must be found between both modes of thinking, to make sure that problems facing the whole of humanity can be effectively addressed, and that misunderstandings will not escalate into major conflicts.

I took part in a plenary session of East of West West of East that examined what aspects of “East”, “West” will stand the test of time? Which will prove transient against the tide of history and end up in museums by the time 2050 rolls around?

My talk addressed what museums, which are focused on the future, might be like, using ArtScience Museum, as a case study.

The talk is online here: