Millions of cascading plastic discs

We went to the National Gallery today to renew our membership and give the girls another exposure to art, in the hope in inspires aesthetic judgment later in their lives. (Well, in the morning we went back to Tiong Bahru Park to get sunburn and then croissants at the bakery, but if that of which we cannot speak, we must remain silent.) We didn’t see much of the galleries, but Destroyer did have a good time running in some of the wide open spaces around the exhibition on British imperialist art, and both girls got to try on costumes as part of a “dress your kids up as the generalissimo” installation. 

After that, and after I’d had a bowl of French fries and an inexplicable Coke in the galley café (since when did I start drinking Coke again?) we went to one of the girls’ favourite pieces, the plastic disc game. 

This is a long wall of transparent plastic with holes cut in it and colours behind, and a large selection of coloured acrylic discs. It’s actually a maze and the idea is to push the discs from one end to another without going down a route that ends in a hole, but for the last six months we hadn’t realised that and so the kids just constantly pushed discs into the holes to watch them fall through the structure. Again and again and again. 

Now we’ve learned there’s a right way to experience the artwork, I like it less, because it becomes a (simple) problem to solve, rather than hours of noisy entertainment. The girls haven’t noticed, and continue to drop discs through the holes, again and again and again, worlds without end. 

The heavens opened while we travelled to the gallery, and didn’t show any signs of abating all afternoon, which makes my wife’s sunburn on a rainy day that much more ridiculous. On to the next thing now.

My three year old could do that

This week, La Serpiente has been making art at school, as part of the three week long holiday programme. Today I went over to her school in a nauseating taxi, to pick up a huge bag of the things she had produced. As we headed over to her swimming lesson, she gabbled on to me about the peacock she had made from a ball of dough, and feathers, and a tail, and dough, and feathers, and a body, and feathers, and a tail, and…

We went to swimming, me labouring under a yoga mat, a pillow, two backpacks shaped like cartoon animals, an Ikea bag filled with the art my daughter had produced, a booster seat, and a child who wanted to be carried, and after half an hour of immersion we got another taxi back, just after La Serpiente burst into tears when I wouldn’t buy her a packet of nonsense food from the vending machine in the car park. That meant it was a little while before we returned home, and as we went through the artwork and congratulated her on her output, we found this rather phallic piece:

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My two year old could do that

Today was La Serpiente’s art exhibition, and her fever had cooled sufficiently overnight that she could attend. Cue much wobbling and squawking as her mother explained to her that she wouldn’t be able to nap today, what with going to school, and then going to the art exhibition, and then going swimming. We had a horrendous battle to get her into her stroller, and it wasn’t until they arrived at school that my wife realised there was no school today because of the art exhibition, and so La Serpiente could have remained copacetic throughout.

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Robots and no sleep until bedtime

After a dreadful night’s sleep, we had a busy day today. First thing this morning I was frothing milk for wife and child, and then we went off to the Art Science Museum at the Marina Bay Sands, where there’s a Future World exhibition going on. This is a series of darkened rooms with lots of glowing plastic boxes, or interactive projections on walls, or LEDs in plastic lattices, which is what the future will be, obviously. There’s also a slide (because in the future we’ll be able to descend smooth surfaces in ways currently undreamed of) so La Serpiente was happy. We spent an hour and a half there and then set off to see friends from Hong Kong (visiting from Australia) who were over in Mount Emily. To get to see them we had a long and arduous journey through the height of the midday sun (there was nobody else out, not even any mad dogs) and as we’d forgotten La Serpiente’s sunglasses, she screamed and raged at us for half an hour. Destroyer looked on, sanguine and silent as ever.

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At the National Gallery

Last night there was a party in the flat above us. I’m not sure if it was a Chinese New Year party (it would have been a day late) or just a regular make-a-huge-bellowing-noise-every-ten-minutes-for-four-hours party. Either way, the yelling continued until about two a.m. I couldn’t sleep at all, and I was quite surprised that the din only woke La Serpiente up once, at about one o’clock. (She let out a pitiful wail, then went straight back to sleep.)

Today was a public holiday in Singapore (probably why the people upstairs had decided to have their shouting competition) but I had a phone call at 8, so I’d planned to get up at six, have my run and then be home in time for the call. My alarm went off at 6:15, I went back to sleep and woke at 7, and then, feeling exhausted but obstinate, I went out for my run anyway, a series of kilometre repeats that I wasn’t really adequate for.

Neither was my GPS, reporting that I’d done 10km in 45 minutes. I’d run 4k at about 4:30 each, but the rest of the run was very slow jogs recovering between each of the fast kilometres. Still, I knocked more than half a minute off my personal best for running around a kilometre stretch of Marina Bay (although I only discovered I had a personal best via Strava last night while looking for flat 1km segments in Singapore).

I got home, sweated, had the phone call, showered, made my wife a coffee, spilt foamed milk all over the kitchen, got dressed and then we went out to the recently opened National Gallery.
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Painting with Microsoft

I bought a Microsoft Surface back in January, and one of the toys it comes with is Fresh Paint, a painting app which you can use the included stylus to paint with. I tried it out in a Microsoft Store in Bellevue almost a year ago and was resolutely unimpressed, but I’ve come to find it quite relaxing of late.
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Modernism and babies

Today it was cold and overcast, so after all these uncharacteristically sunny days in the Pacific Northwest, and after breakfast at Lola’s, another Tom Douglas restaurant, I finally had an excuse to go back to SAM and skulk away from the outside. Almost every time I’ve stayed in Seattle I’ve visited SAM, never actually paying anything for the privilege, so I didn’t feel too pained to be paying for the Modernist exhibition today, although most of it left me a little cold.
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