Everyday Aspirations by Karen Mitchell

The Singapore Night Festival 2013 recently concluded their 6th edition over the weekends of Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th August and Friday 30th & Saturday 31st August 2013. It had been a great fun and excitement of arts performances and festivities around various parts of the National Museum of Singapore, Armenian Street, Singapore Arts Museum and other parts nearby these few areas. I had a fun time at  the Singapore Night Festival 2013, covering, photographing and documenting the Singapore Night Festival 2013 on both weekends, Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th August and Friday 30th & Saturday 31st August 2013, with lots of photographs taken during the Night Festival 2013!


There were many artists and performers during Singapore Night Festival 2013, there was one particular visual artist, that caught my attention and the visitors that came to Singapore Night Festival 2013 as well. The visual artwork was titled “Everyday Aspirations” by Karen Mitchell, on display at the alley between The Substation and Peranakan Museum during both weekends of the Singapore Night Festival 2013. Her visual artworks was about “Aspirations”, that are one-word, collected from friends, friends of friends etc, resulting in a total collection of 365 “Everyday Aspirations” of ordinary people that were selected and their texts were laser-cut onto wood panels. Visitors to the “Everyday Aspirations” visual artwork were able to shine the light (even their own lights) through the wood panels, casting shadows of these Aspirations, projecting the Aspirations across towards the walls and ceilings. The occurrence of the the different sized shadows from the different lights projection through the wood panels, gave a shared aspiration to themselves and the people around them. This served not just as a big shadow, it made an imprint into a person’s memory, not just for themselves, for the rest around them too!


The “Everyday Aspirations” visual artwork was something that I really liked a lot, each word meant something to me, inspiring and encouraging. I enjoyed the first weekend on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th August to photograph different views and perspectives of “Everyday Aspirations” beside just shining the light through the word and projecting it on the wall. I had fun playing with the words and shadows, I composed a bokehlious straight line photograph of the “Everyday Aspirations” words. This visual arts display at Singapore Night Festival 2013 was popular with the visitors, this special collection of 365 “Aspiration” words means something to them, deep in their hearts and minds. They were all searching for a word among the many words of “Aspirations”, to take and leave an imprint for their hearts, minds and souls.


Looking at the size of the crowds, taking photographs and shining light the words, “Everyday Aspirations” was definitely something that touched their hearts. I was planning to go back on the second weekend to continue photographing “Everyday Aspirations” by going there earlier to avoid the crowds. However, something unfortunate happened, with “Everyday Aspirations” unique feature and close connectivity with the audience, there were 114 visual art pieces of “Everyday Aspirations” that were missing after the first weekend on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th August. It was very disappointing for Karen, the artist herself, and for Singapore Night Festival 2013 visitors. An online message went viral, asking them to be returned back to the artist for the second weekend, however there wasn’t much news. Instead, at the end of the second weekend of the Singapore Night Festival 2013, another 74 pieces of her “Everyday Aspirations” were lost, making it a total of 188 pieces missing! The loss of the missing artist artworks will not reflect well on us, the visitors to arts festivals and events.


While the loss of the missing artworks is painful and disappointing for Karen, it’s also a testimonial for her visual artworks “Everyday Aspirations” that connects people with words to their hearts and souls.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Jing Hui,

    I just googled and came across this article about my installation work ‘Everyday Aspirations’! Thank you for your write-up and I am very glad to read that you have enjoyed the installation work. I am sorry that I didn’t see this article earlier and only now.

    Not sure if we met or spoken at the festival, but I would like to thank you for this piece of writing as it is something I have hope to read about the artwork. A lot of attention was placed on the missing pieces and the meaning of the artwork was in way, missing too. I did not want that to be the focus of how people would remember the work, but hope to know that they remembered it because they have found some connections with the work.

    Thank you so much, and the wonderful photographs 😀

    Karen Mitchell

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