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i on bay lights

An art festival that will light up Marina Bay next year uses energy-saving bulbs and kinetic energy
The Straits Times - December 9, 2011
By: Corrie T
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i on bay lights Olivia d'Aboville from the Philippines posing with her light installation made from cocktail stirrers. -- ST PHOTOS: NG SOR LUAN

If you see a giant squid-like thing crawling out of the Marina Bay waters next year, do not be alarmed.

It is 5QU1D, a light installation by Singaporean artist Ryf Zaini that is part of i Light Marina Bay, a sustainable light art festival to be held from March 9 to April 1.

Ryf, 31, says: 'When this giant squid emerges from the water, it tries to blend into the surrounding environment.'

5QU1D, 3m in height and 5m across, comprises a translucent fibreglass shell containing low-energy LED lights and various whirring motor parts in its attempt to merge with Singapore's hi-tech cityscape.

Festival director Mary-Anne Kyriakou introduced 10 artists involved in the festival, including Ryf, at a press conference at the ArtScience Museum yesterday.

The festival featured 20 works when it was first held here last year. Next year, the $2-million festival will show 30 works by artists from Indonesia, Japan, China, Australia, the Philippines, the United States and Singapore.

Most of the works were chosen from about 100 applications received through an open call in August, more than double the 30 applications received for the previous edition,

Ms Kyriakou, 37, says: 'To work with light is not like working with bronze. There's something about it which is ephemeral - if you turn it off, it doesn't exist. This isn't an energy-guzzling festival. It's about reduction.'

The idea of a sustainable light art festival might sound counter-intuitive to many: How does one save energy in a festival that uses artificial light?

She says the exhibits use LED lights and energy-saving lightbulbs, and some are powered by kinetic energy. The organisers have asked buildings in the area to turn their lights off for short periods to offset the power consumed by the festival.

The festival is presented by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, and organised by Smart Light Singapore, a non-profit body set up last year to develop urban light festivals here and raise awareness about energy reduction.

The festival is co-curated by Charmaine Toh, programme director for film and photography centre Objectifs, and local design studio Farm. The theme this year is Light Meets Asia.

Ms Kyriakou says: 'This festival reaches into the more mysterious and magical aspects of light... in terms of light, there is a connection in Asian culture with light, and in addition to that, new light technologies are being developed and manufactured in Asia.'

The idea of light in the Asian context brings to mind Deepavali and the Hindu festival of lights, as well as the Mid- Autumn Festival in Chinese culture where carrying lanterns is a tradition.

To industrial designer Olivia Lee, 26, keeping her creation environmentally friendly was a challenge.

The Singaporean artist has conceptualised an installation titled Flow, that will power itself. She is thinking of using large water cooler bottles to create a grid of wind turbines.

When the wind blows through the structure and turns the bottles, or when a viewer spins a bottle, a built-in LED light within each bottle will light up as kinetic energy is converted to electricity.

She says: 'I'd like the audience to be curious and playful. I hope they will go up to the installation and experiment with the different ways to get the lights to illuminate. I hope they will run back and forth and create this trail of light.'

She adds: 'There's something quite nice about getting the public to actually power the installation, so they are also part of the effort to be sustainable.'


Where: Various locations around Marina Bay

When: March 9 to April 1 next year

Admission: Free



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