29 April – 12 June 2022, 11.30am to 8.30pm daily
Artist present on Fridays to Sundays, 5pm to 8pm
Orchard Road (Mandarin Gallery Outdoor Walkway)
In its eighth edition, Art Encounters returned to Orchard Road from 29 April to 12 June 2022 with Afterman: Synthesis Lab, a futuristic exhibition by maker-designer Bao Songyu that used 3D printing and robotics to manufacture fantastical specimens.
By transporting audiences to the year 2222, Afterman invited us to imagine a reality where unique organisms can be designed through CRISPR technology, a marvel that allows customised gene editing. Challenging the conventional critique that customised gene editing lets humans play God, the showcase considered the potential of this technology as an accelerating agent of biodiversity.
Visitors explored a speculative herbarium containing mutated specimens with composite features from various animals, plants and fungi, whose designs were based on responses collected from previous audiences.
In the second container, an interactive lab allowed visitors to create their own hybrid specimen by assembling parts "grown" by the artist. With 40 different parts to choose from, each inspired by real plants, animal and fungi characteristics and adaptations, they brought their unique specimens to life by altering its movement!
Check out the hashtag #Afterman2222 on Instagram to view an online repository of what visitors created in the lab!
The artist was also present on Fridays to Sundays throughout the exhibition to interact with visitors and guide them through the assembly process.
About the Artist
Bao Songyu (b. 1993, China) is a maker-designer with interests in social interactions, the future of humans and visual phenomenons. Bao’s work ranges from installations to kinetic sculptures with elements of robotics and artificial life. He aims to continue experimenting with different materials in 3D printing to further his understanding of their applications.
Bao is currently pursuing his Masters in Nanyang Technological University, School of Art, Design and Media. In 2019, he received the inaugural NTU Global Art Prize for his graduating work, Museum of Marine Life 2119. Subsequently, his works have also been exhibited at the ArtScience Museum, National Gallery Singapore and Hainan, China.
Behind the Scenes