Students to show at light festival

The Unveiled Beauty by Nanyang Polytechnic uses LED lights and recyclable materials such as leftover acrylics and old bottles and cans to create an interactive canvas of light and shadow.
The Unveiled Beauty by Nanyang Polytechnic uses LED lights and recyclable materials such as leftover acrylics and old bottles and cans to create an interactive canvas of light and shadow. PHOTO: I LIGHT MARINA BAY 2016

Four tertiary institutions to take part in i Light Marina Bay art festival

When second-year art student Issac Ting visited i Light Marina Bay the first time two years ago, he dreamt of showcasing his own work at Asia's only sustainable light art festival.

This year, his dream will come true as he and 11 other students from the Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) School of Art, Design and Media exhibit their installation at the festival's fourth edition.

The 23-year-old's team is one of five representatives from four Singapore tertiary institutions, which also include the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) and Singapore Polytechnic.

Their artworks are among more than 20 installations by Singapore and international artists.This is the first time all four institutions are participating in the festival.

Organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), i Light kicked off in 2010 as a biennial event, but will become an annual affair from this year.

This year's edition also sees the strongest participation from Singapore tertiary institutions, compared to only two installations from them last year.

  • VIEW IT/ i LIGHT MARINA BAY 2016

    WHERE: Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade

    WHEN: March 4 to 27, 7.30 to 11pm daily

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: www.ilightmarinabay.sg

Says Mr Jason Chen, festival director and URA's director of place management: "We hope for more people to join us in becoming advocates for positive environmental change and we are glad to be able to pass on the important message of sustainability to the younger generation."

The artwork by NTU, Ode To The Wind, features LED lights installed inside bamboo poles to create a dynamic light and shadow show. The installation will mimic the wind's movements from different countries by tapping a global database.

It is based on this year's festival theme, In Praise Of Shadows, which draws inspiration from an essay of the same name by Japanese author Jun'ichiro Tanizaki. The essay on traditional Japanese aesthetics highlights the relationship between light and darkness, focusing particularly on an appreciation of shadows and subtlety.

Says Mr Ting, who is in charge of programming the installation's digital algorithms: "Conceptualising an idea based on the theme was quite challenging. Half of the students in the Interactive Media programme are exchange students, so we tried to find common ground. That was how we chose the concept of wind and used it to convey emotions which, we hope, are universal."

Most of the Singapore students were largely inspired by the unique theme for a light art festival.

Says third-year interaction design student Vanessa Ho, 20, from NYP: "The theme really got me to rethink the concept of light and shadows. Instead of focusing on the brightness of light, I hope to bring out the beauty of shadows."

Guided by her lecturer, Mr Craig Neo, her team of three will display an interactive canvas of light and shadows, using leftover acrylics from her school's previous projects, and old bottles and cans they collected in the past few months.

The festival has also beefed up its fringe activities this year. There will be a gourmet beer and food festival, Craft Singapore; a gourmet farmers' market by PasarBella; flea markets and music performances. Popular activities from previous editions, such as night skating and an adventure camp for fathers and sons, will also return.

Mr Ting says participating in the festival has been "an incredible learning experience".

"If the opportunity arises again, I will definitely do it again," he adds. "Unlike school assignments which we do for grades, this exhibition is a huge opportunity for us to bring our work to the public and be featured alongside established Singapore and international artists."

Correction note: An earlier version of this story stated that i Light Marina Bay 2016 starts on March 7. It actually starts on March 4. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2016, with the headline 'Students to show at light festival'. Print Edition | Subscribe