Dive down the rabbit hole for an adventure that’ll intrigue both casual viewers and the Alice obsessed. Let us walk you through this magical experience…
This one’s for the fantasy lovers, film buffs, and curious explorers: delve into Alice’s Wonderland at the ArtScience Museum. The experience? Not at all what you expect. The ‘curiouser’ you are, the more you’ll discover – so open as many doors and drawers as you can find!
Get your hands on a map and fall into this fantasy land, starting with a pit stop at Lewis Carroll’s study. Every map is different, and you could be playing as the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the Queen or the White Rabbit (the missions, fun facts and even the shape of the map differs based on which character you are).
Take a minute to slot your map into the unassuming wooden panel on the second table (it’s right by J.H. Fabre’s book) and the icon of your character will appear. Psst: look out for variations of this panel all through the trail, so place your map and watch more magic happen!
Hallway of Doors
The journey doesn’t begin until you pick a door… And boy, are there plenty to choose from! We won’t tell you which door leads to the next step, in fact, we strongly suggest going through all of them. Catch the beginnings of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland being penned into life, and Alice taking her first steps off the page and into the frame. There’s also that one sneaky door that lets you spy on everyone else trying to find the right way out…
The Pool of Tears
Let’s take a moment to appreciate how this exhibition shows the multiple interpretations of Alice and the growth of film technology at the same time. We particularly loved admiring the illustrated slides used in magic lanterns, which is another (decidedly more apt) name for early image projectors.
Looking Glass House
As the Wonderland heroine gets more screen time, special effects and props evolved to bring audiences closer to the world of riddles and impossible creatures. Marvel at film’s advancements, peek through the looking glass and don’t miss the Queen’s dress standing at the centre of the room – the first to win an Emmy for the best costume design. (And yes, that’s the exact piece that was worn in the film!)
The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill
This leg of the journey plunges you into the depths of Wonderland’s darkest and strangest tales, with one of them being Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer’s interpretation, reproducing this childhood fantasy with unsettling surrealism. It’s all about stop-motion animation, curious happenings and shifting sizes here… down your magic potions to fit into the White Rabbit’s house, or stare into the eyes of the Alice doll that is oddly reminiscent of the also legendary Chucky.
Advice from a Caterpillar
The hot pink path welcomes you into a jollier experience – it is Disney, after all. We were wowed by how the earlier sketches embodied such a recognisably Disney style, which we are still familiar with today. And you absolutely need to see what actress Kathryn Beaumont (also the voice talent for Alice in the 1951 release) had to go through for convincing animations based on her facial expressions…
The Queen’s Croquet Ground
On the back of your map is where you can create (and turn into) your own toy soldier, the more nonsensical the better. Scan yourself into Sir John Tenniel’s original illustration to join the rest of the soldiers on the Queen’s croquet ground. Paint the roses red and watch out for the Queen’s temper: will she be more “Hold your tongue!” or “Off with your head!” on the scale of impatience? No one knows.
A Mad Tea Party
Expect mesmerising illuminations dished out with spades of colour. Take it from us, tea will be the last thing on your mind at this party. As the clocks tick and the background evaporates into a breath of sparkles, this magical experience transports you to different worlds within seconds as the walls fall apart to reveal fantasy after fantasy… Also, tell us if you can solve the riddle on the wall!
Who Stole the Tarts?
Here’s a room full of posters and press books from the modern films that have been made about Alice’s dreamlike adventures, including Tim Burton’s 2010 Alice in Wonderland and its 2016 sequel Through the Looking Glass. In the mood for reminiscing? On the walls are screens conveniently playing some of the old movie clips for your daily dose of nostalgia.
This was where it struck us: traces of this enduring classic are almost everywhere, from references in the Matrix and Star Trek to a Simpsons remake. Don’t believe us? Watch as the representations of Alice change across different times, cultures and media – we bet you’ll be surprised!
Wonderland, ArtScience Museum, 10am to 7pm daily, 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974
This post is in partnership with Marina Bay Sands.