Local stories come alive with The Whispering Wall
Local content creators take inspiration from childhood game to create interactive collage
Remember that tin can telephone childhood game of yore?
Miss Chrissy Lim and Miss Teressa Ong from local content creators Paperplane took that retro concept and turned it into a 4m-long story wall where books come "alive".
The Whispering Wallpaper is a collage of quirky and beautifully illustrated characters, all of whom come from picture books and graphic novels created by Singapore authors and illustrators.
Through a "listening cup" device that reacts to sensors embedded in each character on the wall, visitors will hear whispers of an excerpt recorded by the author from the picture book the character is from.
The collage is on display at the Plaza Singapura Atrium this weekend as part of the ongoing #BuySingLit event campaign taking place around Singapore.
Miss Lim, 43, who wrote some of the books for the installation, told The New Paper: "We hope The Whispering Wallpaper will pique the curiosity of passers-by, so that they will stop, spend a little time to listen, allow their children to play with the wall and ultimately discover a new story or two.
"We wanted to create a playful environment for children to discover books and reading."
Miss Ong, 24, who illustrated the wall, said Singapore literature "does not have the same exposure as (non-local books), so our books sit quietly among so many others in stores".
The pair, who were behind the 2016 graphic novel The Abominable Norman, agreed that apart from #BuySingLit, more support should be given to local publishers "so they can market their books" and suggested that more reading campaigns be organised.
Miss Lim said: "We recently heard about Iceland's Jolabokaflooio (the annual flood of new books in the country occurring in the months before every Christmas), and how they have a tradition of gifting books on Christmas Eve. How wonderful is that? I think that if there is a resurgence of love for books and reading, the entire industry benefits."
Books are the "stones we sharpen our imagination on" and they "train that muscle in our brain that supports mental imagery, teaching us to 'see the story' beyond the pictures", said Miss Lim.
While the pair love the feel of physical books, "especially for the pictures, comics or anything that feature art and illustration", they appreciate the "practical" advantages of digital books.
Miss Lim said: "We used to lug suitcases of books around on long holidays. We don't have to do that anymore because of the Kindle.
"The digital platform also enables creators to self-publish their work online so that they can reach a wider audience across the globe."
The key to getting people, particularly children, to read more is to make sure reading does not feel like a chore or homework.
"Books are like playtime, and playing is completely personal," said Miss Ong.
"What I like may not be what you like, so open up an entire world of books to them, and let them loose to discover what they like for themselves."
WHAT: The Whispering Wallpaper
WHERE: Plaza Singapura AtriumPRICE: Admission is free