i Light Singapore returns after two years with electronic fireflies, alien jellyfish

Keep on Moving installation by Ivana Jelić at Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade, on May 31, 2022. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
The festival is back with 20 light art installations by participants from 14 countries. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - It is a wild night out as electronic fireflies, an alien jellyfish and an inflatable whale take over Marina Bay for i Light Singapore 2022 - an immersive, outdoor art experience.

After a two-year hiatus, the festival is back with 20 light art installations by participants from 14 countries. The creators include new media artists, engineers and designers, as well as students and fresh graduates from local institutions.

The festival is organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and presented by DBS Bank.

Mr Jason Chen, festival director and director of place management at URA, says the aim is to "inspire visitors to reflect on their individual relationships with the environment, adopt environmentally friendly habits and appreciate that small but consistent changes to their daily actions can have a positive impact on the environment".

This year's festival is special, he adds. "For the first time, i Light Singapore will feature a specially constructed floating pontoon above the Marina Bay water body where the public can experience an immersive light art showcase."

Called Lightwave: Isle Of Light and powered by consumer electronics giant Oppo, the attraction comprises five zones showcasing installations such as holographic projections, illuminated motion-capture graphics and shadow play, as well as light beams that suggest a mystical forest.

Mr Chen says visitorship for i Light Singapore has steadily increased over the years. In 2018 and 2019, it attracted around two million and three million visitors respectively.

SPH Brightcove Video
After a two-year hiatus, the i Light festival is back with 20 light art installations by participants from 14 countries. The creators include new media artists, engineers and designers, as well as students and fresh graduates from local institutions.

The majority of artworks were selected from an open call in 2019, before the festival was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. There were close to 200 proposals from 34 countries. In total, this edition of the event will feature nine artworks presented by Singaporean artists.

Here are eight festival highlights.

1. Motherearth Climate Change Data Sculpture

The work harnesses computer models to shape a futuristic perspective of the planet. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Where: ArtScience Museum

Motherearth Climate Change Data Sculpture is a video projection of environmental data transformed using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. Created by Turkish new media studio Ouchhh - which includes engineers, creative coders, media artists and motion graphic designers - the work harnesses computer models to shape a futuristic perspective of the planet.

2. Plastic Whale

The installation is of a beached whale entangled in fishing nets. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Where: Marina Bay Sands Event Plaza

"Whales all over the world are eating our waste," says Singaporean Craig Neo, 39. Together with Chinese artists Feng Qiao, Liao Qingshuang and Li Jianwen, he created Plastic Whale to raise awareness of this fact.

The installation is of a beached whale entangled in fishing nets. Visitors can walk inside the whale, where they will find more plastic waste and lighting that depicts the whale in distress. Neo says some of the plastic waste was collected during the time the team took to set up the installation. "It is quite alarming to see how much plastic was collected in such a short period of time."

3. Eyes Of The Sea

Team Panorama wants to show that beneath the waveshides the global problem of discarded plastics that are choking the oceans. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Where: Mist Walk

A group of product and industrial design graduates from Temasek Polytechnic called Team Panorama - comprising Ms Geraldine Tong Xin Yin, Mr Jeremy Lai, Ms Natalie Sim Kay Yee, Ms Nor Nadia Diyana Mohd Norzaidi and Mr Shanmugam Pressanna Vaarish - has created an installation called Eyes Of The Sea. It is made of upcycled discarded plastic bottles that have been reshaped to resemble ocean waves.

Team Panorama wants to show that beneath the waveshides the global problem of discarded plastics that are choking the oceans. Ms Sim, 21, says: "We want to reimagine how day-to-day plastic waste can be used as objects of art."

4. Alone Together

The work was created by Singapore artist and digital experience designer Ping Lim, together with American creative technologist Ian Grossberg. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Where: Marina Bay Link Mall entrance

Inspired by the voyeuristic storytelling in Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 film, Rear Window, Alone Together is an interactive projection that tells a story of resilience through vignettes of people's private moments at home during the pandemic.

It was created by Singapore artist and digital experience designer Ping Lim, together with American creative technologist Ian Grossberg. There is also an interactive component that can be accessed via mobile devices, which lets the public become part of the art-making process.

5. Firefly Field

This installation simulates the rhythms of the insects' blinking signals. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Where: The Promontory at Marina Bay

An electronic swarm of fireflies illuminates The Promontory at Marina Bay, mimicking the bio-luminescent bugs' intermittent flashing pattern. Created by multidisciplinary design studio TOER of the Netherlands and titled Firefly Field, this installation simulates the rhythms of the insects' blinking signals, which help them locate potential mates in nature. This crowd-pleasing work pushes the technical and aesthetic limits of design, say the artists.

6. Fallen

This narrative-driven installation follows the story of an extraterrestrial jellyfish that roams the universe in search of stars to consume. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Where: Lawn next to One Marina Boulevard

South Korean new media artist Ina Hur (Artina) collaborates with fellow Korean installation art film team Nerdist to create Fallen, a narrative-driven installation that follows the story of an extraterrestrial jellyfish that roams the universe in search of stars to consume.

It uses light equipment and projectors to tell the story, with LED bars to express the jellyfish's heart.

As the story goes, the creature ate a dubious star that turned out to be jettisoned waste from Earth and crash-landed at Marina Bay.

The 31-year-old artist says in an e-mail interview that she finds "peace in a universe where everything is dead, and in nature which is full of life".

7. Shish-ka-buoy

Shish-ka-buoy is a series of funky installations and glowing with thousands of colour-changing LED lights. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Where: The Apex at The Promontory at Marina Bay

Made of skewered and fully recyclable marine buoys, Shish-ka-buoy is a series of funky installations, almost 4m high and glowing with thousands of colour-changing LED lights. Created by New Zealander Angus Muir, creative director and founder of Angus Muir Design, the site-specific light installation shouts "the party starts here".

8. Underworld

Made of discarded fishing nets, Underworld "depicts a dimension of the everyday life of a fictional civilisation from the world under". ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Where: Esplanade Park

Swedish artist Aleksandra Stratimirovic and Argentinian musician Leonel Kaplan have created a landscape of light which they describe as an imaginary undersea settlement. Underworld is a "link to the fragile sea-world life, as an imaginary passage connecting the known world with the unknown world", says Stratimirovic, 54, in an e-mail interview.

Made of discarded fishing nets, it "depicts a dimension of the everyday life of a fictional civilisation from the world under".

This installation was inspired by the marine conservation efforts of a small fishing village in Sweden called Smogen, which is committed to preserving the marine environment.


i Light Singapore 2022

Where: Marina Bay
When: June 3 to 26, 7.30 to 11pm daily with extended hours to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays
Admission: Free
Info: i Light Singapore's website

Lightwave: Isle Of Light Empowered By Oppo

Where: Marina Bay Lower Boardwalk (near Red Dot Design Museum)
When: June 3 to 26; Sundays to Thursdays, 7.30 to 11pm; Fridays and Saturdays, 7.30pm to midnight
Admission: Tickets start at $8 from Klook

Correction note: This article has been edited to reflect the correct names of Motherearth Climate Change Data Sculpture and Eyes of the Sea. We are sorry for the errors.

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