Following an earlier post on the i Light Marina Bay 2012 installations to an inside-outside theme, here’s a collection of works that I’ve approached with a nature-culture categorisation based on the pieces’ subject matter.
Raising awareness on the sustainable future of our earth is a central motivation behind the i Light Festival that is a marriage of energy-efficient lighting technologies and concepts with art. During the three-week festival period, properties around the bay area as well as inland are galvanised to take part in the “Switch Off, Turn Up” Campaign where buildings are encouraged to switch off unnecessary lightings and turn up the thermostat of sir-conditioning.
With all the nature-inspired installations that celebrated everything above the ground and under the sea with a sampling of culturally-inspired installations, the perimeter around Marina Bay became a circle of life that embodied the aspirations of humanity in light of urbanity. And here are the artistic expressions as a result of embracing
globalisation modernism while cherishing nature and one’s culture…
Tree Stories by Angela Chong (Singapore)
After visiting the i Light Festival numerous times and awed by all the flashy light works, it took me some time to adjust to the quiet, simple allure of Tree Stories. Initially, it appeared to me that the installation was merely poems mounted on tree trunks instead of a wall or Facebook post with a rim of bulbs serving as reading light during nightfall. The work didn’t look like it required much effort or was it groundbreakingly creative with the use of lights.
Then as I was reading the selection of poems overlayed on living tree trunks with ants scurrying up and down the words, flies seemingly attracted to me for reasons I refuse to acknowledge, I began to appreciate the profound simplicity of this work.
True to Angela’s intention, her installation did achieve the intended effect of slowing me down to appreciate the surrounding, to smell the ‘roses’, in the midst of my busy lifestyle. The installation was a little out of the way from the clustering of other light exhibits and I wanted to just come here, take some photos and leave. I was astonished that when I was ready to go, I’d spent half an hour with it. On average, I loiter around an exhibit for at most 15 minutes.
Coral Garden by Olivia d’Aboville (The Philippines)
The Philippines with its massive archipelago of more than 7,000 islands make it home to some of the most beautiful dive sites with dramatic coral formations in Southeast Asia. But the practise of blast fishing had destroyed many of these undersea gardens.
And I think this rather sweet piece by Olivia is her way of reminding us of the plight of these diminishing coral establishments and the marine life they support.
5QU1D by Ryf Zaini (Singapore)
A festival commission, 5QU1D is spelt with alphabets and numbers to reflect the interweaving of urbanity with the natural environment, thereby creating a ‘mechanimal’ that’s adapted to us while we learnt to live with them.
Garden of Light by Hexogon Solution (Singapore)
One of the main attractions at i Light Marina Bay 2012 is the massive outdoor projection show, Garden of Light. I thought it’s such an ingenious idea to use the ‘petal’ structure of the Art Science Museum as a canvas to unfurl the story of a butterfly’s search for nature in the modern, digital world.
Urban Makyoh by Light Collective (United Kingdom)
I have no idea that Makyoh is a form of ancient Japanese reflective light art until this exhibit had me enlightened. Also known as ‘magic mirrors’, the traditional Makyoh mirrors were highly polished metal surfaces with marks made on them to form patterns. These designs can only be fully appreciated when light is reflected off the mirrors onto a wall.
Gap the Mind by Be Takerng Pattanopas (Thailand)
Ohm in the city. Gap of Mind exudes the quiet strength of calm in the middle of our bustling Central Business District area. Well, that’s the feel I got from seeing and hearing it. The installation is a light and sound journey to inner peace.
But not everyone feels the same…
Light of the Merlion by OCUBO (Portugal)
Another blockbuster exhibit is Light of the Merlion, another mind-blowing projection mapping installation where our evergreen national icon is given a splash of different colours every other minute!
The idea behind this piece is to let Singaporeans make the Merlion more personal by giving it a colourful paint-over. Having grown up with the white half-lion-half-fish statue and seeing it spew water for 37 years, I’ve never seen the Merlion more alive, vibrant and interesting to watch!
This is the LAST weekend to catch all the i Light installations before the festival ends on Sunday, 1 April. Friends have been asking me if the festival is truly worth a visit.
My answer is always, “What’s there to lose in visiting? The festival is free, the interactivity and shows are innovative both visually and themetically, and the photo opportunities are endless.”
Furthermore. if this edition of i Light is missed, it’s another 2-year wait before the bay will see such displays of creativity again!