Last year’s inaugural i Light Marina Bay Festival was a fresh and welcome highlight in the Singapore art calendar. Public, free and easily accessible, it checked all the right boxes for us. We particularly appreciated that it was held in the heart of downtown attracting crowds from a good cross-section of Singapore’s populace; art aficionados, nightlife punters, executives working in the financial district, families and tourists alike. Not to mention, it transformed Marina Bay into a fun and dazzling playground of light.
This year, Asia’s first and only sustainable light art festival is back with a showcase of 30 innovative and environmentally sustainable light art installations by artists and designers from 17 countries and territories. 20 out of the 30 art installations are specially commissioned for the festival and in line with this year’s theme “Light Meets Asia”, 21 of the 30 artworks are created by artists and designers based in Asia. Nine of the artworks are from Singapore-based artists including two Singapore student showcases by Lasalle College of the Arts and the School of the Arts.
Here’s a little preview of some of the commissioned pieces for this year’s festival. Scroll right down for a copy of the festival map and remember to check the festival website for programmes available including guided walks and performances.
A selection of i Light Marina Bay Festival Commissions
Garden of Light (2012) by Hexogon Solution, Singapore
Garden of Light is an ambitious animated projection on the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands incorporating a variety of light and sound effects to tell a story about environmental sustainability and highlight the beauty of the natural world. The projectors make no impact on the projection surface, but create a spectacular effect visible from several vantage points throughout Marina Bay by large numbers of visitors. Hexogon Solution was founded in 1997 by Adrian Goh. It has staged several large-scale projections on giant structures, buildings and even a commercial airliner.
5QU1D (2012) by Ryf Zaini, Singapore
It is difficult to imagine that 40 years ago, Marina Bay did not exist at all. It would also not be surprising to recognise that inhabitants of the surrounding sea have also evolved into beings which attempt to blend themselves into this new environment. 5QU1D is a squid-like creature which looks like it has finally emerged from the sea to finally present itself to the world. The qualities of the creature enable it to blend with its surroundings during the day, with its geometric form, similar to buildings. It will come alive at night to enable the public to recognize and identify its presence. Ryf’ Zaini’s installations merge ideas relating to technology and the arts, and his work has been exhibited at Sculpture Square (Singapore), the Esplanade (Singapore) and ARTRIANGLE (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia).
Deck Journey (2012) by Zulkifle Mahmod, Singapore
With Deck Journey, Zul has designed and created eight deck chairs. Festival goers are encouraged to sit on the chairs and take the time to stop and enjoy a view of Marina Bay while listening to a specially created sound-scape. When a visitor sits down, the deck chair will light up, creating a personal sound and light bubble for a contemplative and unique experience. Zulkifle Mahmod is one of Singapore’s leading sound artists.
enLIGHTenment (2012) by Edwin Tan, Singapore
enLIGHTenment is an installation comprising a video wall made up of multi-coloured light tubes. While in an idle state, the installation displays an animated screensaver. When activated through a console in front of the light display, the installation goes into “thinking” mode. After a few seconds, enLIGHTenment literally enlightens the audience with a YES/NO answer to a question the visitor is encouraged to ask before pressing on the button on the console. Edwin Tan is the founder of local design studio Brave Company.
Fancy/Lightweight (2012) by Cornelia Erdmann, Hong Kong
The hand fan is a quintessentially Asian accessory with a long history and versatile uses. Oversized fans of light give a new spatial breeze to the waterfront site at Marina Bay. The light sculptures frame and segment the space, and offer the audience an altered experience of a familiar site. The fans of light have a recognisable form, but are almost bodiless and lightweight at the same time. Fancy/Lightweight is made from glowing LED wire stretched across the trellises running around the ArtScience Museum. Cornelia Erdmann is a German-born visual artist with an MA in Architecture and an MFA in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies from Bauhaus-University Weimar, Germany. Since 2006, she has lived and worked in Hong Kong, specialising in public art and multi-media installations.
FLOW (2012) by Olivia Lee, Singapore
FLOW takes inspiration from an amalgamation of ideas that informs its approach to Asian culture, interactivity and self-sustainability. An installation consisting of a series of illuminated vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT). The VAWTs are connected to built-in LEDs, harnessing the power of wind to generate light. As wind passes through the installation, the turbines move and flicker to life. In periods of low wind, the installation invites the the public to turn the VAWTs by hand and experience the immediate feedback of converting kinetic energy into light. The gesture resembles the contemplative ritual of turning prayer wheels: an act of accumulating wisdom and goodness in parallel with our desires for environmental merit and purity. Olivia Lee is a Singaporean industrial designer. She graduated from UK’s Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design in 2008 with First Class Honours and has worked with designer Sebastian Bergn. She recently sold her D&AD student awards-nominated concept furniture piece Stream of Light at Mint (UK).
Illumination Disorders II (2012) by Tay Swee Siong, Singapore
Illumination Disorders II is an interactive floral-inspired sculpture which lights up with coloured LEDs. Visitors interact with the sculpture through their voices, which trigger off a sensor affixed to a microcontroller within the sculpture. The LEDs pulsate according to the level of each individual’s voice. The artwork is a colourful sculpture during the day and comes alive through public interaction and pulsating light at night. Recycled plastic parts are used to create the floral patterns and forms. Tay Swee Siong is a sculptor with a keen interest in craft practices and figurative sculptures. With his past interest in electronics, he has imbued electronic gadgets and devices into crafts and 3D objects displayed as site-specific sculptural installations.
The Light Dam (2012) by Uno Lai, Taiwan
Light is everywhere, and like air or water, exists in our world in many different forms. The Light Dam is a poetic interpretation of the act of capturing and recycling light. The primary concept of the work is to capture sunlight using solar panels to power a series of LED panels. This in turn produces electricity and power for the entire installation to be self-sustaining. Through precise calculation, it will become a non‐stop lighting system, with no extra power required. The Light Dam consists of numerous translucent cubes stacked up in an organic manner. By adding a sensor within the cubes, the light will react to the various actions and movements of visitors. Uno Lai is an established lighting designer from Taiwan. He owns an award-winning lighting design company which operates in Shanghai and Taipei.
Light of the Merlion (2012) by OCUBO, Portugal
Light of the Merlion pays tribute to Singapore’s Merlion which was inaugurated 40 years ago, in 1972. The artwork is a celebration of this familiar icon and creates a memorable experience through light projection over the surface of the sculpture. Using an interactive screen, members of the public are able to rediscover the Merlion by changing the colours projected onto it at night. OCUBO is an art and multimedia studio dedicated to light projects. Nuno Maya and Carole Purnelle, the founding artists and director, encourage the public to paint on, adorn and change existing urban canvasses (buildings, walls, sculptures) to present them in a new light.
Festival Map (click for full size)
i Light Marina Bay will open nightly from 7.30pm to 11.00pm from 9 March to 1 April 2012.