I was wondering what my aunt referred to in her usual childlike exclamation, about a fountain inside Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Just as she lamented that the “fountain” was gone, I noticed the array of drooling bulbs suspended on the other side of the departure hall.

“Is that it over there?” I remarked. The sheer revelation reinvigorated her glee.

For a moment, the congregation of admirers seemed to be revelling the static matrix of orbs hovering above their heads; then, stillness went kinetic in a skyfall of raindrops, as the bronze ‘spheric’ sculptures were actually shaped, descending in tardy elegance and disorderly randomness – an imitation of delayed metallic shower.

Then, the pool of pseudo-aquatic casts sprouted momentum again, now cascading in rhythmic harmony in lieu of disarray, fluttering in tidal, chevroned movements of crashing waves; the collective of raindrops folded against all spacial dimensions, rose and fell in synchrony of tightened and widened wavelengths in constant fluctuation.

Before long, sculptures regained individuality as they, in regularity, ascended heaven-bound.

Apparently, my Aunt Irene was right: it was indeed a fountain of sorts.

Behind the lens

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Changi Airport kinetic sculpture, SingaporeThis “depth of field” concept, as photographic as it may most closely be associated with, is really a means allowing our vision to establish distances in imagery. How camera lenses alternate between depths of field by changing their aperture is merely mimicry of our eyes’ function: controlling the amount of light reaching the retina, or colour receptors just like inside a camera.

With the kinetic sculpture, to correlate the scale and positions of the bronze raindrops, I decided to shoot with a shallower depth of field; the result was just as my own eyes had perceived it, with a contrast between focal sharpness and blur giving sense of the distance of individual sculptures from where I stood, incorporating the background of photographers, out of the range of short-sighted perception.