Conversations: In the Company of Trees

Delve into the art and science of trees in this mini-symposium organised on the occasion of the launch of We Live in an Ocean of Air at ArtScience Museum.

From elemental artworks that are sculpted with the natural world at its core, to movements that aim to restore nature back into the city, join us to contemplate how we have looked to trees to make meaning and understand the world around us.

Conversations: In the Company of Trees features speakers Ersin Han Ersin (artist and Creative Director of Marshmallow Laser Feast), Robert Zhao Renhui (artist), Dr Ngo Kang Min (forest ecologist and Chief Executive at GreenSG COLLAB), Dr Adrian Loo (Group Director for Wildlife Management and Senior Director for Community Projects at NParks), and Dr Shawn Kaihekulani Yamauchi Lum (tropical rainforest ecologist and President of Nature Society Singapore).

The programme is accompanied by a film screening of Leaning into the Wind (2017), an absorbing documentary portrait of land artist and environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy that conveys the powerful intersection of art and nature, taking us on a journey through the beloved natural environments where he makes his site-specific work.


2pm – 2.10pmOpening note by Adrian George (Director, Programmes, Exhibitions and Museum Services, ArtScience Museum)
2.10pm – 2.40pmTalk by Ersin Han Ersin on We Live in an Ocean of Air
2.40pm – 2.55pmTalk by Robert Zhao Renhui on Singapore, Very Old Tree
2.55pm – 3.10pmTalk by Dr Ngo Kang Min on her journey with trees and scientific insights from long-term research of forests in Singapore
3.10pm – 3.25pmTalk by Dr Adrian Loo on City in Nature and the OneMillionTrees movement
3.25pm – 3.40pmClosing talk by Dr Shawn Kaihekulani Yamauchi Lum
3.40pm – 4pmPanel Q&A moderated by Zhang Baoxin (Curator, Public Programmes, ArtScience Museum)
4.45pm – 6.25pmScreening of Leaning into the Wind - Andy Goldsworthy


Ersin Han Ersin
Artist and Creative Director of Marshmallow Laser Feast

Ersin Han Ersin is an artist and Creative Director of London-based experiential studio Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF). His art practice combines a wide range of disciplines including sculpture, installation, live performance, and mixed reality.

Ersin’s work illuminates the hidden natural forces that surround us, inviting participants to navigate with a sensory perception beyond their daily experience.  In these spaces, the known physical world is removed to reveal networks, processes and systems that are at once sublime, underpinned by research, and fundamental to life on Earth.

He has designed and directed for the likes of critically acclaimed Saatchi Gallery. We Live in an Ocean of Air, In the Eyes of the Animal was nominated for the Design of the Year by Design Museum Beazley Awards and won the Wired Innovation Award (2016). Most recently, he and the team at MLF won the Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes Award for Innovation in Storytelling and Best VR Film at VR Arles Festival for TreeHugger, Wawona.

Ersin’s work has been exhibited around the World including Lisbon Triennial, Sundance Film Festival New Frontier, Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes, Istanbul Design Biennial,  London, New York and Shanghai. As a guest lecturer, Ersin teaches at Interactive Architecture Lab at Bartlett School of Architecture.

Robert Zhao Renhui

Robert Zhao Renhui is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work addresses man’s relationship with nature. He presents different modes of the human gaze on nature, frequently highlighting how truth is constructed through a false naturalisation and manipulation of beliefs.

Zhao was the recipient of the United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year Award, Singapore (2009), the National Arts Council Singapore Young Artist Award (2010) and the Deutsche Bank Award in Photography (2011). In 2013, he was selected to participate in that year’s President’s Young Talents exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum.

His works have been shown widely in Singapore and abroad, including exhibitions at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan, the Photo-Levallois Festival in Paris, the GoEun Museum of Photography in Korea and the Singapore Biennale 2013.

Dr Ngo Kang Min
Forest ecologist and Chief Executive at GreenSG COLLAB

Kang Min is currently working at GreenSG, a local charity that seeks to catalyse community action on environmental issues and develop youth leaders that champion for sustainability. As a forest ecologist, she has conducted research on the trees of Singapore and in the region for over 14 years. In particular, she has done extensive research on the tree ecology of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, using a long-term research site that is almost 30 years old.

Dr Adrian Loo
Group Director for Wildlife Management & Senior Director for Community Projects at NParks

Dr Adrian Loo is the Group Director for Wildlife Management & Senior Director for Community Projects at NParks and has been engaged in biodiversity for over 25 years. The Wildlife Management Division manages wildlife in Singapore, in particular, to reduce human-wildlife conflicts through science-based management and, outreach and education.

He oversees the community engagement efforts within NParks which includes tree planting under the OneMillionTrees movement and involving the community in conservation efforts. He is also the Chair in the Otter Working Group and co-chair in the Long Tail Macaque Working Group in Singapore, which engages the community in conservation efforts of the species through habitat enhancements and species recovery.

Dr Shawn Kaihekulani Yamauchi Lum
Tropical rainforest ecologist and President of Nature Society (Singapore)

Dr Shawn Kaihekulani Yamauchi Lum is a tropical rainforest ecologist. He was born in Hawaii and was educated at Harvard University and obtained his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 1993. Dr Lum joined the Natural Sciences and Science Education faculty at the National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore before moving to the Asian School of the Environment at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in 2015. He is the current President of the Nature Society (Singapore).

Dr Lum’s work on forest fragmentation and regeneration has aided the protection of Singapore’s forests and formed the basis for public outreach of our natural heritage. He also does work in conservation biology and environmental education, and interacts with a wide range of people, from fellow researchers to naturalists, primary school pupils, and educators. 

He is a recipient of the President’s Award for the Environment 2017 and Public Service Medal 2020.

About We Live in an Ocean of Air

We Live in an Ocean of Air is a multi-sensory immersive installation by London-based immersive art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast. The work unveils the invisible yet symbiotic connections that bind the animal, plant, human and natural worlds into one enchanting tapestry of wonder – all in stunning virtual reality.

View details

28 May, Sat
2pm – 6.25pm
ArtScience Cinema, Level 4
Ticketed Admission: S$10

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