A sneak peek at i Light Marina Bay 2014

7 03 2014

From the eye-catching, to the fun and quirky, there is something that will certainly catch your attention as Marina Bay brightens up from this evening until the end of March 2014, all in a sustainable way I should add – the festival’s 28 light art installations have been picked so as to convey the message of sustainability through art – a key area of focus for the three week long festival. It would probably take more than one visit to take in all 28 – especially with the installations spread around the bay area and that is just what the curatorial team hopes visitors would do, taking in the lights, as well as the fun that does come from some of the interactive installations.

From the pick of installations participants of a preview were introduced to, my favourites are in fact the interactive ones as well as the somewhat quirky ones. These are CLOUD by Caitlind Brown and Wayne Garrett (which I only got to see from afar) – judging from what has been said about it, Jen Lewin’s The Pool, and Happy Croco by Bibi – who some may remember for his igloo installation during the last festival. The festival will be opened this evening and will be on every evening  until 30 March 2014. More information on the festival and the host of fringe events and activities can be found at the festival’s website.


A pick of installations


The Pool 

Jen Lewin Studio (USA)

Marina Bay waterfront promenade near The Promontory @ Marina Bay (A14 on the map)

Promises to be lots of fun, especially for the kids and those like me who want to be kids again. Watch as circular pads arranged in concentric circles change hues through movement – an effect that will best be seen when a group of people play together. The installation was created in a way that it can quite easily be recreated anywhere it needs moving to.

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Jan Lewin at The Pool


CLOUD 

Caitlind Brown and Wayne Garrett (Canada)

The Float @ Marina Bay (B9 on the map)

The CLOUD apparently has people pulling at strings – literally, by getting people to congregate under a rain cloud, the aesthetic of which is influenced by those under it pulling at light switches. The CLOUD features a contrast of old and new technologies, and is intended to demonstrate how an individual has the power to impact progress and achieve change. The real magic happens when multiple visitors work as one towards a unified response.

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Happy Croco 

Bibi (France)

Marina Bay waterfront promenade near Mist Walk (A4 on the map)

Happy Croco is a happy and somewhat quirky luminous 20 metre long installation – made with a backbone of traffic cones. There is an underlying message in the so-called urban crocodile though – in being made of items we discard everyday, Bibi, attempts to bring to attention the issue of plastic waste. 

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Mimosa

Jason Bruges Studio (UK)

Marina Bay City Gallery (A7 on the map)

Another that will be a favourite with the kids would be Mimosa – a work that uses organic light-emitting diodes to mimic the leaves of the responsive plant by sensing hand movements. 

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JouJou-Ours

Uno Lai (Taiwan)

Marina Bay City Gallery (A9 on the map)

The work, which features giant teddy-bear heads and intended to revisit childhood memories in which the soft toy would be a feature of , encourages the visitor not only to give the installation a hug, but also, judging to the response take lots of photographs with it.

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Uno Lai


#WeHeartLight

Light Collective (UK)

Marina Bay City Gallery (A8 on the map)

An installation made up of individual and personalised light boxes – the work of students from different schools in Singapore that emphasises the role of education in guiding the future generation towards a sustainable future.

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Beat

Arup (Singapore)

In front of Marina Bay Sands (A1 on the map)

An installation that appeals to the instinct to  touch, simulating a response from lighted globes that then adopt a human heart beat light pulse – another favourite with the kids.

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iSwarm

SUTD (Singapore)

In Marina Bay, near Bayfront Taxi Stop (A3 on the map)

A luminous swarm of “sea creatures” that interact with passer-by through light sensors.

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Floating Hearts

Travesias de Luz (Spain)

Marina Bay waterfront promenade, near Marina Bay Link Mall pop-up structure (A10 on the map)

A wall of illuminated hearts that invites passers-by to play with them.

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The Guardian Angels

Maro Avrabou and Dimitri Xenakis (Greece and France)

Marina Bay waterfront promenade near Breeze Shelter (A12 on the map)

Echoes the preservation of the garden and plants, and by extension, nature – a tribute to gardeners and artificially created gardens.

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Ryf Zaini (Singapore)

Marina Bay waterfront promenade (A11 on the map)

Giant speech bubbles that displays thoughts and messages akin to comic strips – a humourous reference to the shift in the way we interact socially in the digital age towards screen-based forms of communication.

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Fool’s Gold

Vertical Submarine (Singapore)

The Promontory (A13 on the map)

A work that alludes to a Chinese idiom about a fool who hides his gold but gives it away by erecting a sign to disclaim its existence. 

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1.26 Singapore

Janet Echelman (USA)

The Float @ Marina Bay (B10 on the map)

A huge illuminated net that depicts the force of nature that uses space-age Honeywell Spectra fibre. Suspended over the floating platform, the work is a 3D representation of the force of a tsunami created by the 2010 Chile earthquake and draws on laboratory research done by NASA and NOAA on the earthquake. The earthquake resulted in a shift in the axis of the earth’s rotation, which shortened the day by 1.26 microseconds – hence the installation’s name.

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1.26 Singapore

Justin Lee and Dornier Asia Pte Ltd (Singapore and Switzerland)

ArtScience Museum (B14 on the map)

Celebration of Life is a large-scale projection by local artist Justin Lee on the ArtScience Museum – the first time he has taken on such a challenge. The projection takes viewers through a commentary on the role and value of traditional culture on contemporary society, blending traditional Eastern icons with modern day symbols.

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Digital Wattle 

Out of the Dark (New Zealand)

Near The Float @ Marina Bay (B11 on the map)

Based on the Golden Wattle, the installation explores the interplay between individual ethnic groups that co-exist within a city – the change of colours of the flowers swaying in the breeze representing the new mix of cultures.

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i Light Marina Bay 2014 related:


 





75 feet above the harbour

30 03 2012

From a vantage point 75 feet (about 23 metres) over Singapore’s former harbour, officers with the Harbour Division of the Preventive Branch of the Department of Customs and Excise (which later became Singapore Customs), stood watch over the Inner Roads of the harbour for more than three decades. The vantage point, a panoramic lookout tower that we still today, was part of the Customs Harbour Branch Building built over an L-shaped pier along the waterfront at the end of Collyer Quay. The building and pier, built at a cost of S$1.8 million, was completed in October 1969. The complex housed the 300 strong force of the then Harbour Division, as well as provided berths and maintenance facilities (which included a slipway) for some 35 launches and speedboats of the Division when it first opened. The building also provided cargo examination facilities and its construction allowed the Division to move from its somewhat makeshift premises in a godown in Telok Ayer Basin.

What is today a posh dining destination, Customs House, with its very distinct 75 foot lookout tower, was formerly the Customs Harbour Branch Building. It was completed in October 1969 and housed the Harbour Division of the Customs Preventive Branch.

The Customs Harbour Branch Building in 2006 (source: URA site on Conservation Matters).

Collyer Quay in July 1974 seen beyond the Detached Mole, a breakwater that sheltered the Inner Roads from the opened Outer Roads. The Customs Harbour Branch Building and its distinct 75 foot tower is seen on the extreme left of the photograph (Photo courtesy of Peter Chan).

While 75 feet in the context of what now surrounds the former Customs complex, the tower allowed customs officers to keep a round-the-clock watch over the harbour for small boats attempting to sneak dutiable goods into Singapore. The octagonal shaped and fully air-conditioned watch tower which is supported by a cylindrical base provided a panoramic view which extended beyond the Inner Roads to the mouth of the Singapore River, the Geylang River and Tanjong Rhu. Officers spotting a suspicious boat could then alert their colleagues manning the speedboats which were on standby by the pier who would then head out to intercept the suspicious boat.

A side elevation of the former Customs Harbour Branch Building with its very distinct lookout tower (source: URA site on Conservation Matters).

At the bottom of the 75 feet climb up a spiral staircase to the lookout tower - reminiscent of climbs up several lighthouses I've visited.

In between heavy panting, I managed to appreciate the view halfway up.

At the end of the 75 feet climb - a view of the lookout tower's ceiling.

Looking down at the cause of my heavy breathing.

Use for the building and the pier in its intended role ended with the construction of the Marina Barrage which cut what were the Inner Roads of the old harbour off from the sea and the building then under the Maritime and Port Authority’s charge was passed over to the Singapore Land Authority in 2006. Customs House was given conservation status in 2007 and was reopened as a dining destination under the management of Fullerton Heritage, which also manages the former Clifford Pier and the Fullerton Hotel. The tower itself is however disused and remains inaccessible to the general public.

At the top of the lookout tower.

The lookout tower no longer commands a view of a harbour littered with bumboats, twakows and tongkangs, but of the new world that is Marina Bay.

Show me the money! An interpretation perhaps of the new view - as seen in the reflection of a window of the lookout tower offered by one of the installations for i Light Marina Bay 2012 - Teddy Lo's MEGAPOV.

Seeing double - BIBI's Bibigloo and a reflection of it as viewed from the lookout tower.





Rediscovering a 40 year old icon in a new sea of light

12 03 2012

I’ve often wandered down Collyer Quay in the evening in the days when the smell of the sea filled the air to catch the evening’s breeze. Glancing out to where the sky met the sea, the view in the dark was one of the flicker of the sea of lights of the numerous ships that lay at anchor, interrupted by the sweep of the beam that shone from Fullerton Light – the lighthouse that stood atop the Fullerton Building – then the General Post Office (GPO). It was always a fascinating sight for me – one that I was always thrilled to take-in. That was years ago and the world as I had known it then, has been transformed to the glow of lights that seemed to have grown out of the seeds planted by of the lights of the old harbour. The glow is the new world that is Marina Bay, a world that glitters with the gold that the old harbour it grew out of has given. The new glow – brighter than the old, makes Marina Bay a world that is one to marvel at and one that for three weeks will glow even brighter with the colours and the lights that i Light Marina Bay 2012 brings to it.

Coming of age - one of the older icons in the brand new Marina Bay will be bathed in a sea of light during i Light Marina Bay 2012.

The highly anticipated festival, the second edition of i Light Marina Bay, was opened officially by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minster and Minster for Finance and Minister for Manpower on Friday. At the ceremony at the Promontory @ Marina Bay, Mr Shanmugaratnam spoke of his pleasure to be at Marina Bay, which he said attracted a record 23 million visitors last year, “to be immersed in the energy of a new downtown which has been evolving” and observed that the many developments in the area have transformed the skyline, and “imbued our city with more excitement, colour and vibrancy”. Mr Shanmugaratnam in his speech, spoke of the ‘software’ that was required to make and sustain a place – such as the festival, which serves to bring the community together to enjoy the place, and also help in defining an identity for the Bay. The Deputy Prime Minister also observed that “do so through a display of beautiful light art installations is creative, fun and delightful”.

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam speaking at the opening ceremony of i Light Marina Bay 2012.

Launching the festival.

After Light, an installation involving projections on shipping containers, is seen behind the stage at the opening.

Street performers - who were present at the opening, will also feature in the area during the period of the festival (top photo taken with LUMIX GF-3).

Fun and delightful the festival certainly has, in the first few days of the opening, proved to be. The festival’s 31 installations drew large crowds to the bay area over the weekend and judging from the number of visitors – one of the crowd favourites must be the Light of The Merlion – the brainchild of Nuno Maya and Carole Purnelle of OCUBO. OCUBO translates into “The Cube” in Portuguese, a name which reflects the geometric nature of the team’s projection work which for the work commissioned for i Light Marina Bay involves the projection of a combination of colours on the surface of the Merlion that are determined purely by members of the public through an interactive screen at the site. It is through this interactivity – a feature of all the group’s work, that the colours of the 40-year-old much-loved icon are changed through the evening – something which is designed to create a memorable experience with which the Merlion can be rediscovered with members of the public placed in the role of the creator. Based in Sintra, a delightful hilltop town in Portugal which boasts of the magical Sintra National Palace, OCUBO – an art and multimedia studio dedicated to light projects has presented light, multimedia and interactive art works in countries such as Japan, Australia, Singapore, Israel, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Poland and also conceived, produced and directs Portugal’s only light festival, the LUMINA Light Festival.

Light of The Merlion allows members of the public to play the role of the creator through an interactive panel which lets the public choose the colours to be projected on the much-loved 40-year-old icon (photo taken with LUMIX GF-3).

Nuno Maya (left), one half of OCUBO, at the opening ceremony (photo taken with LUMIX GF-3).

The many colours of the Light of The Merlion ... (photo taken with LUMIX GF-3)

After the opening ceremony, Mr Shanmugaratnam and guests were also able to take a tour of the bay by boat – a wonderful way of not just taking-in the sights around the bay, but also to have an excellent view of The Light of the Merlion and other installations that are around the bay’s waterfront including the festival’s largest projection Garden of Light, and the unmistakable red glow in the dark – BIBI’s Bibigloo at the Promontory @ Marina Bay. The eye-catching installation is an igloo made of 250 plastic jerry cans and is a replacement igloo intended to spread awareness of global warming and melting glaciers. BIBI has since 1992, attempted to explore man’s relationship to the environment, as well as the capacity to confront the contradictions with regard to waste production, through the use of everyday objects made from materials such as plastic using light to give life to his installations.

The eye-catching red glow in the dark - Bibigloo made out of 250 plastic jerry cans aims to raise awareness of rising temperatures and melting glaciers with a replacement plastic igloo (photo taken with LUMIX GF-3).

BIBI (right), the creator of Bibigloo.

The Festival Director, Ms Mary-Anne Kyriakou (centre) with artists present at the opening and Mr Mark Goh of URA.

The trial of light that I followed after the boat ride, somehow compelled me to take a walk towards the ArtScience Museum and onwards to the seating gallery at the Float @ Marina Bay, under which there are several other interesting installations. One – Sweet Home, which a mention of was made in my previous post, is an attempt by Swedish based Aleksandra Stratimirovic to make ugly places pretty. Ms Stratimirovic’s attempt to create a homely atmosphere through the use of lanterns must have been a very good one as the artists had used the installation to hold an opening night celebration late into the night.

Sweet Home an installation by Swedish based Aleksandra Stratimirovic under the seating gallery of the Float @ Marina Bay, aims to make an ugly place pretty - colourful forms of lanterns used in the installation are designed to spread warmth and homeliness in the urban environment (photo taken with LUMIX GF-3).

The artists certainly gave their thumbs-up! They found Sweet Home homely enough to spontaneously hold a party there on opening night (photo taken with LUMIX GF-3).

i Light Marina Bay 2012 is on until 1 April 2012 and several fringe activities and events will be held during the weekends – for a listing, do visit the events page on the i Light Marina Bay 2012 website. Information on Boat Taxis which provide an excellent way to see the installations on the waterfront also operate during the weekends, departing every 15 minutes between 7.30pm to 10.00pm from Fridays to Sundays from 10 March to 1 April and cost $4 per trip – more information is also available on the website’s events page.





The coming of light at Marina Bay

8 03 2012

Come Friday (9 March 2012), Marina Bay will be aglow, bathed in the colours of lights that will transform the area into a greater spectacle than it already is. Friday sees the opening of the sequel to the highly successful first edition of Asia’s only sustainable light art event of two years ago, i Light Marina Bay 2012, which on the evidence of a media preview of the event – Asia’s first and only sustainable Light Art Festival held last evening, is one that will be a feast for the senses.

i Light Marina Bay 2012 brings a spectacle of colour and light to the already spectacular Marina Bay.

Organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and with festival direction provided by Smart Light, this year’s edition will feature 22 works which will be by Asian based artists and designers. This is in line with the festival’s theme of “Light Meets Asia”. Beyond the theme, the festival aims to also promote sustainability and the use of energy-efficient technology – a message that the 31 works selected for the festival will carry. A total of 17 countries are represented in the 31 works, which were selected from some 100 submissions. 21 of the works are festival commissions.

Ms Mary-Anne Kyriakou, the Festival Director and Mr Mark Goh, Deputy Director of URA’s Place Management Department, speaking at the media preview.

As the area around which the 31 installations is large, the media preview, led by Festival Director Ms Mary-Anne Kyriakou, covered some of the highlights of the festival. One of the highlights Key Frames – a delightful installation set by the Float @ Marina Bay which has not just 30 light stick figures in various poses seemingly dancing in a routine choreographed to the music, it makes the viewer want to also dance with them. The installation is by French light artists, Groupe LAPS, which hails from the World’s largest light festival, Lyon’s Fête des Lumières.

Lighted stick figures are brought to life in a choreographed display by the Float @ Marina Bay. The light and sound show, Key Frames, is the work of Groupe LAPS from the World's largest light festival, the Fête des Lumières, Lyon.

A full exposure of Key Frames.

The highlights also included some of the more eye-catching installations – those that involved projections on two of the new icons of Singapore that are hard to miss. One is that of the interactive projection on the Merlion, Light of the Merlion – the work of Portuguese projection artists, OCUBO, which I did not have an opportunity yet to photograph. With Light of the Merlion, visitors are able to control light projections on the surface of the Merlion through an interactive touch-screen at Merlion Park. The other installation that certainly cannot be missed is the animated projection on three fingers of the ArtScience Museum, which uses 3D digital mapping technology – best viewed from The Helix (bridge), which is the work of local projection artists Hexogon Solution. The work, entitled Garden of Light, is also the largest projection at the festival. Hexogon Solution is one of eleven Singaporean artists whose works would be seen at the festival.

A close of the animated projection on the ArtScience Musuem.

Three interesting works can also be found in a rather unconventional space – under the seating gallery of seating gallery of The Float @ Marina Bay. The first, Sweet Home, is a site-specific work by Swedish based Serbian artist Aleksandra Stratimirovic is an adaptation of an original work created for Belgrade of Light 2011. The work aims to make ugly places pretty – the original work in Belgrade was an attempt to bring warmth and a homely atmosphere to one of the most polluted, busiest and exciting streets in Belgrade. For i Light Marina Bay 2012, Sweet Home, supported by Philips Lighting, attempts to use the colourful forms of the lanterns used in the installation to spread warmth and homeliness in the urban environment. The second installation here is American artist Dev Harlan’s Parmenides I. This is a large-scale geometric sculpture which incorporates a 360 degree projection mapped video which was previously exhibited at the New Museum’s New Ideas for the New City Festival in New York. The work features hypnotic 3D projections of swirling abstract patterns that gives a sense of movement, colour and form. The third, Crystallised by Andrew Daly and Katherine Fife from Australia, is one to look up to. The work which is an abstraction of the starry night sky, is an installation of five thousand hollowed-out and edge-lit acrylic rods which attempts to create a glowing internal landscape like a ceiling of a cave with glittering stalactites. It is under this that visitors walk and reflect on the impact of poorly considered lighting on city life.

Dev Harlan's Parmenides I.

The glowing internal landscape under which visitors walk and reflect on the impact of poorly considered lighting on city life - Crystallised by Andrew Daly and Katherine Fife.

Several installations are also located across the bay at the Promontory and the Waterfront Promenade. This includes After Light – which makes use of shipping containers the ends of which projections are made on which will examine the significance of light in New Zealand, from where the group behind the installation, StoryBox hails, and across cultures to Asia. The containers will also incorporate two site specific installations inside the containers that feature the work of budding talents from Singapore’s La Salle College of the Arts and School of the Arts. The area will also feature the glow of cocktail stirrers that have been transformed by French/Filipino artist Olivia d’Aboville into a glowing reef of coral-like sculptures that encourages visitors to interact with, much as a coral reef attracts life under the sea to do so, entitled Coral Garden. Other works in the area include Planting Shadows by Singapore’s Vertical Submarine; Thai sculptor Be Takerng Pattanopas’ Gap the Mind; the orange-red glow of France’s BIBI’s Bibigloo; Receptacle by Cambodia’s Marine Ky; Uh by the Propeller Group from Vietnam and one that is definitely should not be missed – Classification Pending by Craig Walsh from Australia which has 3D animated projections of artificial marine life forms on the waters of the bay.

Installation being carried out for After Light, by Story Box from New Zealand.

The coral garden at the Promontory - Coral Garden by French/Filipino artist Olivia d’Aboville.

Over the Marina Bay City Gallery, The Gate promises to be a huge attraction with its red beams of light. The work of Li Hui, which uses a powerful symbol of a portal which the red beams lead to – a passage perhaps to enlightenment, is one that we are not able to pass through. It suggests that enlightenment is a goal that cannot be attained.

The Festival Director Ms Mary-Anne Kyriakou speaks through the red beams of light of Li Hui's The Gate.

Li Hui, whose silhouette is seen at the right, speaking about his work.

An exit it is not. The Gate which can be seen to look at enlightenment as a goal that can never be achieved, is one that we are not able to go through.

Along the waterfront promenade leading to Marina Bay Sands and in front of Marina Bay Sands are a series of 9 other installations, which include two works by Singaporean artist we were introduced to – a squid like creature 5QU1D by Ryf Zaini and the work of Zulkifle Mahmod named Deck Journey. The series of 31 installations are spread around the bay and would definitely take much more than an evening to fully appreciate. One, the work of another Singaporean artist Angela Chong, Tree Stories, is found somewhat off the beaten track over at Esplanade Park. Tree Stories involves illuminated text on tree trunks which encourages interaction in the form of dialogue between the reader and the tree. Besides Tree Stories and Light on the Merlion, there are also several other installations that invite interaction – something that would appeal especially to the kids. These include several located in and around the seating gallery at The Float @ Marina Bay – White Rain by Japan’s Takahiro Matsuo, Urban Makyoh by UK based “lighting guerillas” Light Collective and Immersion by Martin Bevz and Kathryn Clifton from Australia. Several are also located over at the waterfront in front of Marina Bay Sands – The Light Dam by Taiwan’s Uno Lai, Illumination Disorders II by Singapore’s Tay Swee Siong and Bio Shell by Shinya Okuda of Japan. Installations can all be visited free of charge and will be on from 7.30pm to 11pm nightly.

Ryf Ziani and 5QU1D.

Zulkifle Mahmod's Deck Journey.

A series of activities and events has also been arranged during the festival which include free guided tours, workshops and also a photography competition in which participants will have a chance to win prizes worth up to $10,000 sponsored by LUMIX (who have also kindly lent LUMIX cameras for the Photo AmBayssadors and Official Bloggers to use during the period of the festival. More information can be found at the i Light Marina Bay 2012 website.


All photographs in this post have been taken with a LUMIX GF-3.