More than just an exercise in visual acrobatics, I think art that utilises lights as its medium invites viewers to expect the unexpected and purports a dimension of beauty that’s both transcendental and hypnotic.
Instead of passively viewing a painting or sculpture and contemplating what it does to us inside (I think that’s what it is meant by art appreciation), lightarts heighten the awareness of our surroundsings and renewed an appreciation of what’s on the outside. We start to see how a scenery converse with the changing volcabulary of light. And how sometimes the weakest glow, illuminates things that we’ve never noticed.
So here is a small collection of installations from this year’s i Light that I came across from visiting the festival five times so far. Although inadequately, I’ve classified these works into how they artified an indoor space and outdoor place. I hope this post will turn on in you a different perspective of the art pieces and ways to photograph them.
With the Official Blogger pass, I had the privilege of visiting the exhibits before they were completed and direct access to the artists so I’m incorporating some of these behind-the-scenes moments in the hope that they will add to your feel about the works…
Crystallised by Andrew Daly and Katherine Fife (Australia)
Comprising of 5,000 acrylic icicles, the overhanging canopy of lights looked like a miniature interpretation of auroras in the polar hemispheres. Understated and unflambouyant, the creators of Crystallised attempted to invoke the awe of looking up at a night sky of ever fluctuating lights with the topograhical represntation of glowing stalactites.
The installation at working level before it was hoisted overhead.
Walking under the lighted sticks, I found concentric patterns that made for an interesting shot.
A photo taken on slow shutter speed while zooming in on the lights.
Another zoom out shot of the installation at 1 second shutter speed with the Panasonic Lumix GF3.
Parmenides 1 by Dev Harlan (USA)
i Light Marina Bay saw a maverick of techniques in harnessing the artistic of light. One of my favourites was the hypnotic and mesmerising installation by Dev Harlan. I’m in the experiential media industry that concerns itself with creating an all encompassing digital-cum-tactile experience for visitors, so I can appreciate the technical difficulties what Parmenides 1 needed to overcome in order to reach the visual effect it achieved.
Dev giving an insight into his highly mathetical piece. Parmenides is the name of an ancient Greek philosopher who excelled in logic and a mathematical quantification of the world.
Dev at work in aligning his projection on the 120 surfaces of the Parmenides lantern.
Mapping and alignment of the projections on the multi-faceted structure take a lot of patience.
Bleeding of misaligned projection.
The finished work. So psychedelic!
Zoomed in effect of Parmenides during its black-n-white projection sequence.
Zoom in effect with Panasonic Lumix GF3 of Parmenides during its colour wave sequence.
Parmenides in one of its many geometric incantations.
Sweet Home by Aleksandra Stratimirovic (Sweden)
Diabetics, be forewarned. Looking at photos in this section may cause an insulin surge. Sweet Home by Aleksandra is eyecandy on a large scale. Driven by a desire to turn unsightly places into beauty queens, the Swedish artist had given many places the touch of her saccharine makeover.
Aleksandra sharing her previous works during a meet-the-artists session.
Before the pieces were assembled to invoke a feeling of home under the sitting gallery at The Float @ Marina Bay.
Don't they just look like giant candy-striped jawbreakers?
Or raspberry / strawberry rippled marshmallows?
A swirl of homely charms gives the installation the feeling of walking into a movie set.
A hint of Eastern.
A pet of Western.
The finished Sweet Home installation. Turning a pedestrian space into a welcoming place.
An outdoor IKEA show decor? Lots of people love posing with the furnishings. Definitely an ideal spot to hold a party!
Key Frames by Groupe LAPS (France)
Reinterpreting the pastime of animating stick figures with flipbook sketches, Key Frames used the dark of night as its canvas to create a tactile playground for over 50 stick people made of LED light tubes. Accompanied by a light-hearted soundtrack, the figures take on life and action to excite the senses!
The hands of god creating man?
Olivier putting the veins together to make sure the figures get their electric blood.
The completed Key Frames installation fighting to stand out from the Central Business District lightscape.
Key Frames viewed in the direction of the Singapore Flyer's wheel.
Playful lights framed against the gorgeous Marina Bay Sands and Art Science Museum.
Immersion by Martin Bevz and Kathryn Clifton (Australia)
When I first saw Immersion, it looked like a tele-portal that will be activated by the command, “Beam me up, Scotty!” Resembling a vertical fountain frozen in motion, the installation changes colours in response to motion. Walk around it and the 8m-wide semi-circle of light will throw out a variation of hues and colours.
This photographer so hardworking! He was photographing the installation even though it was raining. Which, ahem, speaks about how 'hardworking' I am too at photographing him capturing the lights under the rain.
I came another day to photograph Immersion and it was again raining. But I think the wet floor made the installation more interesting by acting as a muted mirror that reflects the lights.
Zoom effect of Immersion.
Took the zoom shots on handheld with the Panasonic GF3. Suddenly the light sticks take on a different life.
Panning shot of Immersion. It can be quite boring just taking photos of the stationary lighted tubes so try some light painting. This installation is totally built for that!
MEGAPOV by Teddy Lo (Hong Kong)
With MEGAPOV, there’s more than meets the eye. What looks like a stick of pulsing LED lights actually hid a variety of images when viewed by moving one’s head from side-to-side. I saw quite a number of people shaking their headings violently to see the images. I was in stitches seeing how comical they looked.
I joined it too. But soon found out there’s a better way to appreciate the work. Through the lens of the camera. Here’s how…
A stick of flickering LED lights beguiles a collection of images that required a special technique to reveal them.
To see the images, I set the Panasonic Lumix GF3 to Shutter-Priority mode and panned it to shoot. I tried a couple of speed setting but found that 1/2 seconds was the best with this camera.
King of Spades at Marina Bay Sands Casino... Huat ah!!
Well, that’s all on the collection of works in this inside-outside take on the installations. This is just a skim of the works and the best is to go down to the bay and check them out yourselves. I’ll post about more works soon. Lights out for now