Archives for category: Science

It’s a blessing to be hosted by a pre-school! So for a few weeks, l’Observatoire has been collaborating with children to figure out what might be the interesting and exciting questions to ask about rubber trees and rubber seeds.

Artist Isabelle Desjeux has been sharing some of the pods collected around Singapore, and the students are sharing their thoughts… the result is a classroom environment called “HEVEALOGY”. Step right in!

Poster Observatoire.jpg


Presenting our artist for the month of November: Gilles Massot.


Gilles’ multidisciplinary process looks beyond disciplines to establish links between narratives, occurrences and parts of the world. Based in Singapore since 1981, his book Bintan, Phoenix of the Malay Archipelago (2003) deeply influenced his artistic work, which now often deals with history and ethnology while conceptually concerned with the theory of photography and the phenomenon of “recording” it initiated. He recently completed a research on Jules Itier and the first photographs of Asia done in the 1840s, and is currently exploring the relations between the history of photography and that of quantum mechanics. A recipient of the French award Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, his work has been presented in over 50 exhibitions in France and Asia. Gilles also teaches at Lasalle College of the Arts.

Check Gilles’ regular update on his residency, on a photo album on Facebook.

During most of November, Gilles will be researching and re-constructing the images of Itier’s missing daguerreotypes. Do get in touch if you would like to come and see the space and the work as it evolves! During this time, the children from Blue House International School will make regular visits to the space, and depending on their interests, will be looking at the space, the images, the photographs, the quality of the photographs, the role of photography…

At the end of his residency, Gilles will give a lecture related to photography and his work. This will happen during the Open Studio, 9 & 10 of December, 2017. Timing to be confirmed later.



If you spend any time at all on “make your own” sites on the internet and/or have school-age children around you, you’ve heard about slime. This gooey paste-like blobby material that you can apparently make yourself – and has absolutely no purpose other than keep your hands busy while making your mind go “ewwww!”, “ooooh!”, “aaaah!” as you manipulate it, and then “yikes!” when it unexpectedly lands on your clothes or in your friends’ hair.

This is the material Tam had decided to explore during her residency – joined happily by Mish, who also spent time doodling, letter printing, recreating images, sounds and texts seen during their recent trip to Bali.

This slime exploration soon became the main focus of the time spent by the 2 artists in the space. The exploration took many forms – from experimenting with various recipes, to exploring new artistic uses for the medium. Much time was spent on the process, understanding the physics of the medium, rather than aiming for a specific aesthetic outcome.

One of the early, and exciting outcomes resulting from discovering the slime’s properties was a kind of “forest” created by letting slime drip on a prepared landscape.

One of the early examples, recorded by Tam:


The teachers were invited early on to observe the material, the process and get an understanding of the potential of the material, as well as understand how the children could be interacting in their environment.


Eventually, throughout the month of July, the experiments became focused, as the artists tried different glues, different additions, and tried making art pieces from the resulting material. What Tam says: “When it dries, it becomes hard. The pattern is set. But we might still cut up the design to make something new from it”.

It seems that the potential of slime is unlimited.

Classes have started again this week! We never have more than 7 student per class, so at the start of a new term, when some students move on, there are often a small number of spaces available. Look below and see if there is something for you. If you have a group of 3 or more students, however, we’d have to start a new class for you.

Painting Our Book Covers...

Painting Our Book Covers…

On Monday (3:30-4:30 class), in Drawing Class, the 5 year olds took inspiration from simple bottles and learned to see the details that makes one different from the other, and started drawing their own.

Teacher: Richard. Number of places available for new students: 2

Still-Life by a 5-year old

Still-Life by  5-year old student

On Monday (4:45-6:15 class), in the ArtScience Class the 7-10 year olds discovered the wonders of magnifying glasses, fresnel lenses, magnifying with water, and projection on frosted sheet. The went home with their own home-made Camera Obscura!

Teacher: Isabelle. Number of places available for new students: 0

Shoe-box camera obscura

Shoe-box camera obscura

On Tuesday (3:00-4:00), in Drawing Class it was the first class for a group of enthusiastic 6 and 7-year olds. They tried mark-making with a variety of media, and drew the first element of the large drawing project that will continue over the weeks.

Teacher: Richard Kearns. Number of places available for new students: 0

On Tuesday (4:00-5:00), the more advanced 6 and 7-year olds tackled the same project: Looking and Drawing a coffee cup from different angles.

Teacher: Richard. Number of places available for new students: 1

Looking at and drawing a coffee cup, with Richard.

Looking at and drawing a coffee cup, with Richard.

On Wednesday (4:30-5:30), in Art and Crafts (for ages 6-8 or older), we started looking at how to make books, looking through the studio’s collection of hand-made artist books. The students then painted sheets to be used for the cover of their first book…

Teacher: Isabelle. Number of places available for new students: 3

Some acrylic-decorated papers to inspire the budding artists

Some acrylic-decorated papers from the studio, to inspire the budding artists

On Thursday (3:30-4:40) in Art and Science for the Little Ones, we also started with some art, and looking at the “technology” required to make a book, the different parts of a book. The students looked at the collection of artist books, taking in how each did not comply with the classic definition of a book, but argued about whether they were still books or not! They each chose their favorite book (based on colour, story, format…), and set out to also paint a cover to start their book.

Teacher: Isabelle. Number of places available for new student: 0

Showing off their favorite books from the collection. Some made by students, some by artists.

Showing off their favorite books from the collection. Some made by students, some by artists.

on Saturday (9:30-11:30), at the Open Studio for teenagers (from age 12), we welcomed 2 new students and the first class was aimed at getting to know each other, exploring styles and finding out what everyone’s favorite medium was. Easels will come up next week! Upon my remark that the class was so quiet, Emma (16) remarked:

“It’s like when you give a small kid an ice cream. They go quiet as they enjoy their treat. It’s the same for us when you give us something to draw”

Teacher: WeiXin. Number of places for new student: 2

Drawing still life with WeiXin

Drawing still life with WeiXin

On Saturday (12:00 -1:30), Drawing Class for advanced 8-11 year olds, children decided to fold origami cranes. The first decorated a variety of papers with a chosen patten and learned to fold their animal step-by-step. Those will be used as drawing props for next week before going home as mobiles.

Teacher: WeiXin. Number of places for new student: 0

If you are interested to enrol in either of these classes, you may go and check the Classes page for details, and drop us a line with the form below and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Charcoal drawing (7-9 year olds)

Charcoal drawing (7-9 year olds)

Observational Drawing classes ; Art and Science ; Art and Craft ; Open Studio – Take your pick! Classes are starting again from Monday 15th of September with a new team of facilitators, mostly artists but all with an experimental edge, ready for exploration of the world around us. So go look at the schedule and sign up now. Or call 9273 4991 to arrange a trail class.

L’Observatoire is seeking collaborators! Do you enjoy drawing and teaching the basics of drawing? Do you enjoy experimenting? Are you a scientist? An artist? a bit of both? Are you looking for a place to experiment, a platform to test your ideas, and a studio with like-minded people?

Located in lush Turf Club Road, collaborating with pre-schools, schools, museums, l’Observatoire is a community space where art&science gets made every day.

We are now looking for:
Partners. Those will have full use of the studio, equipment and support, and can teach either drawing, art and science, or art and craft for a few hours a week, to children mainly (Limited to 2)
 Interns. You will be witnessing new ways of teaching in art and science. You’ll be tasked with helping document the process, interact with the kids, prepare the classes, maybe with a bit of admin.
Support team. If you have what it takes, we’d call you when something exciting comes up that requires more hands – do you have a specialty you want to share? Underwater music, silk-screen printing using recycled material, styrofoam sculpting…?
Resident artists – invited on a monthly basis, you will be given a studio space, and access to tools, equipment, support to develop your idea. In return, we’ll work with you to develop a Tinkering Sunday workshop.

Interested? Fill in the contact form below and we’ll get back to you.

Our beautiful view outside the studio, a perfect set-up to place our home-made cameras. Below, picture captured by on of the students.

Our beautiful view outside the studio, a perfect set-up to place our home-made cameras. Below, picture captured by one of the students

If you haven’t yet booked you place for the camps this summer, head over to the PinHole Camp page! There are a still a few spots left in both weeks…

Week 1 : 23 – 27 June 2014, 9:30am-12:30pm

Week 2: 7 – 11 July 2014, 9:30am-12:30pm

Learn to make your own camera, the basics of dark room, develop your own pictures and this will set you up for a summer full of investigations. We promise the kids won’t be bored for the rest of the summer once they’ve attended this week-long hands-on course! You can even buy the material to set up your own dark room on the spot at the end of the camp.

Where: l’Observatoire, Blue House International School, 2 Turf Club Road, Singapore (287988)

Who: For kids 7 to 17 years old…

How much: $350 includes all material. Add $50 if you are not yet a Blue House Member.

Register here


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Finally! The camps you have been eyeing for weeks are finally open for registration! We can only take up to 8 student each week, so make sure you sign up fast!

This summer, you have a choice between Pin hole cameras (new this year) and printmaking (a staple workshop at l’Observatoire). Go take a look and choose. And if you decide to take the pinhole camera workshop again, no worries, we have ideas to keep you shooting during the camp.

How would you make a sculpture? Often, we imagine using stone, wood, metal, or other solids, and chipping away at them in order to make a figure of some sort. But what happens when we experiment with other materials? Water, for example, is common in our everyday lives and used for basic needs. Last Sunday, Isabelle invited us – a bunch of eager kids, parents, and myself – to look at it from a different perspective.

The session was opened by Ila’s performance. Projected onto a wall in a darkened area of the studio, we saw strange and surreal patterns appear from the simple motions of swishing and mixing water with other substances. Needless to say, after the performance the kids were excited to create their very own water sculptures.

Several stations were set up – in some, children observed the different magnifications in different transparent containers filled with water. In others they attempted to make colours move from one container to another using thin tubes, pipettes and food colouring. And of course, they were assisted by Ila in making their very own projections. Some interesting discoveries were made – air bubbles can ruin an experiment, a mixture of every colour makes brown rather than rainbow, and jelly babies glow in the dark!
The kids also attempted to make their very own ice slush– each one got their own ziplock pack containing water, and these were all placed in a container with ice and rock salt. Fifteen minutes later, some parts of the water had crystallised, although none of the desired slush was produced. Then again, as per the Observatoire’s philosophy, failure is an essential part of any process – as long as patience and grit follow… so the kids were sent home with bags of distilled water to try again!
The morning ended with an outdoor session of photographing sprays of water thrown into the air. Again, it was difficult to capture exactly what we wanted – but the in the few successful shots that were captured we could see, perfectly carved into abstract wobbling patterns, our very own real, ephemeral water sculptures. As is the nature of water itself, the discoveries made that afternoon were exciting and temporary, shape shifting and fascinatingly simple.

This post is written by guest blogger Meerabelle Jesuthasan, who attended the workshop as observer and photographer. 

Photography by Meerabelle Jesuthasan © June 2013. Please contact us if you’d like to use any photographs.

It was an amazing week of running after bugs, understanding what makes insects special, discovering new types of insects… and project making! 10 students aged 6 to 11 took over the Observatoire and spent a week familiarizing themselves with the small insects. We were lucky enough to have the support of Gladys, a gap-year student very keen on environment issues. Gladys volunteers at a number of places from NUS to Coastal Clean-ups and is keen to help bring people closer to the environment and science issues in general. We also had the visit of Sean Yap, another energetic gap-year student keen on all sorts of insects but more specifically involved in a ladybug-census project. He came to talk about these insects with the students and walk outside with us. This led to a very informal and fruitful morning as the students watched ladybugs devour aphids LIVE. Nature is not all cute!

Some of the time spent inside was devoted to drawing, but more students were keen on hands-on projects, so some made insect-like drawing robots or an electric questionnaire, a chance to find out more facts about the small creatures.

On the Friday, we had a small exhibition and students from the Senior Kindergarden of the Blue House International School eagerly came to see what the Creepy Crawlies camp had to offer. It was a great moment to be able to share the work from the week with an eager group of smaller public.

Much of the work done during this week will inform the series of Insect workshops planned at the Lycée Français de Singapour later in June.

Now if you’ve missed this camp, it will run again on the first week of July, see detailed info here. Make sure to sign-up early!