“Daddy, what’s a Bicentennial Experience?” Pangzi asked. “Oh, it’s an event that’s held once every 200 years in the wilderness of Fork Cunning,” I answered confidently.
“I know the meaning of bicentennial, but what’s an experience?” he persisted.
Between the two words, who would’ve thought!
“Now that’s a tough one,” I said, “but why don’t you come with me and I’ll explain experience design along the way.”
So we made our way to the Bicentennial Experience, which was crowded on the opening day. But I thought there were more volunteers manning it than visitors actually visiting it.
The Bicentennial Experience is a presentation of Singapore’s founding journey. It comprises two main sections: an outdoor exhibits pavilion called the Pathfinder and an indoor multimedia area called the Time Traveller.
You need to prebook your free etickets for the latter on their website.
The cognitive experience
This form of experience is designed to help you think or process information.
“Notice how the Time Traveller is made like a theatre show played out in five acts,” I pointed out to Pangzi.
“Each act depicts one phase of the country’s development history, from the early days of port activities to post-war times,” I continued.
“So I follow the timeline and won’t get confused?” Pangzi said.
You learn fast.
The behavioural experience
This form of experience describes how your actions are planned out in a logical and intuitive flow.
“Daddy, why are there so many volunteers at the Bicentennial Experience?”
“Some of them are here to control the traffic. Some are here to give specific instructions at the different stations so you know exactly what to do. But all are here to provide the human touch.”
The Time Traveller starts with a queue system where visitors are tagged according to show times.
Prior to entry, you can browse various exhibits around the room, including a book specially written to account for the past 700 years stretching way before the fateful day Raffles landed on the island.
The visceral experience
This is what usually sets an experience apart. It includes the bells and whistles that assault your senses and make you go…
“Wow!” exclaimed Pangzi as he went from room to room.
The Bicentennial Experience throws up plenty of surprising innovations. In one act, the story is told with a video infused with real actors in costume behind the translucent screen.
“Daddy, I see many ghosts!” Ghosts your head.
In another, the ground beneath moves…
“We’re spinning around the theatre!” Pangzi screamed as the seats took a slow turn along the circular display wall.
But the highlight of the Time Traveller has to be the rain part.
“Everybody, please take an umbrella as you enter the next room,” announced the volunteer.
Apparently, rain is a big part of national history, underlining some of the most momentous occasions like the state funeral of the founding father.
Other great personalities over the years, sporting heroes included, also received a mention.
The social experience
This is best summed up by Pangzi after the visit.
“OMG, I’m so gonna tell my classmates about it.”
And I’m so blogging about it.
The Bicentennial Experience is ongoing at the Fort Canning Centre from now till Sept 15, 2019.
We were here: