Real and virtual worlds collide at MeshMinds 2.0, an interactive exhibition that advocates environmental change

Alfonsus Wong’s “PaperChase AR”. Photo: The MeshMinds Foundation
Alfonsus Wong’s “PaperChase AR”. Photo: The MeshMinds Foundation

Where art meets technology, there MeshMinds 2.0 resides. It’s back for a second year with over 20 multi-sensory experiences in its ArtxTechforGood exhibition put together by non-profit arts organization The MeshMinds Foundation as part of ArtScience Museum’s “ArtScience in Focus” program. Basically, the 10-day event uses augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D modeling and printing, and artificial intelligence to spotlight environment issues like climate change and spark conversations about global sustainability challenges.

All this is an effort to inspire action towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which include creating sustainable cities and communities, and responsible consumption and production.

Everything’s interactive and engaging, and requires you to get hands-on with headsets or scan QR codes to watch static works of art come to life. No standing around and pretending to admire artworks you don’t quite understand here.

A massive installation, “Animaker Asia” by André Wee and OMAi lets visitors play around with building blocks to create silhouettes of Southeast Asia’s endangered animals and scan them into the system to virtualize and personalize them before they appear in the virtual realm project on a huge screen.

'A Better Tomorrow' by Andre Wee. Photo: The MeshMinds Foundation
“A Better Tomorrow” by Andre Wee. Photo: The MeshMinds Foundation

Also by Wee, “A Better Tomorrow” offers a peek at what SG75 would look like, teaching the public how they can contribute to a sustainable Singapore through clean energy, recycling, and a reduced reliance on fossil fuels. Next up, “The Mount That Keeps Growing” by DPLMT is an AR experience that looks at the global waste situation in the form of an artwork that replaces apparel with trash. You can also capture your image on selfie mode with the rubbish-filled headpiece as your crowning glory.

'The Mount That Keeps Growing' by DPLMT. Photo: The MeshMinds Foundation
“The Mount That Keeps Growing” by DPLMT. Photo: The MeshMinds Foundation

Those passionate about the issue of plastic pollution in the ocean can check out “Discover Our Oceans” by Warrior9 VR and stroll through art installations by students from United World College of Southeast Asia before you dive into underwater VR and AR experiences and help clear junk off the seabed. If only cleaning our oceans was as easy as tapping the screen, huh.

'Discover Our Oceans' by Warrior V9. Photo: The MeshMinds Foundation
“Discover Our Oceans” by Warrior9 VR. Photo: The MeshMinds Foundation

As for botanical watercolor artist Lucinda Law, she documents her encounters with flora and fauna at Batu Batu, a sustainably-focused private resort off Johor in Malaysia, then brings her lovely illustrations to life with AR elements. Next door, Alfonsus Wong’s “PaperChase AR” leads you on a trail to track down recycling points around the museum. Each time you find one, you’ll be rewarded with comic strips that ultimately piece together the story of a trash-eating monster.

Lucinda Law and her works. Photo: The MeshMinds Foundation
Lucinda Law and her works. Photo: The MeshMinds Foundation

Heating things up, Andrew Loh’s “Hold My Gaze” spotlights the effects of forest fires and their hazy consequences in the region (yeah, we’re all familiar with that burning stench). To keep the rainforest on screen lush and beautiful, you’ll have to focus your eyes on the character projected in front of you. Look away for a few seconds, and the image bursts into flames, as a commentary on what could happen to our environment if we don’t help to preserve and protect it.

'Hold My Gaze' by Andrew. Photo: The MeshMinds Foundation
“Hold My Gaze” by Andrew Loh. Photo: The MeshMinds Foundation

To get your competitive side into gear, “OceanScrub” by Jason Loo and Cherlyn Mark allows gamers to guide sea creatures through polluted waters to safety, avoiding plastic waste obstacles in between. You can also download the app on the App Store and work your way up to top rank. Other exhibits on display include 3D interactive works, musical instruments crafted from upcycled and recycled materials, and a VR experience set in an imaginary future dampened by the negative effects of climate change. The public can also sit in on sessions on climate conversations and workshops schooling you on recycling plastics as added fringe activities.


MeshMinds 2.0:ArtxTechforGood is on from Mar 8-17, daily 10am-7pm at ArtScience Museum.
MRT: Bayfront

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