Preview: i Light Marina Bay 2018, Asia’s Biggest Sustainable Lights Festival

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Asia’s biggest sustainable light art festival is back this March! Organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the sixth edition of the annual i Light Marina Bay will run from 9th March to 1st April around the bay, with an all new set of light installation works specially commissioned from local artists, and curated from all around the world.

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Artist Impression of the all new ILLUMI Bar.

With a focus on eco-friendly/recycled materials and utilising energy-saving lighting, this year’s festival will be anchored by four hubs of activities over the four weekends, including the return of Art-Zoo Inflatable Park at The Float @ Marina Bay and food/live music hub GastroBeats at the Promontory, while the Prudential Marina Bay Carnival will continue to run. Finally, making its debut at this year’s festival is the all new ILLUMI Bar, created in conjunction with this year’s ILLUMI Run, and will be around till even after the run itself, utilising recycled plastic tanks as furniture to sit on and use as tables.

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Mr Jason Chen

Said Festival Director and Director (Place Management) of URA Mr Jason Chen: “Our focus this years remains on sustainability, and one of the things we’ll be doing is encourage visitors to use more public transport. i Light is easily accessible from multiple MRT stations, and we’re also working together with Mobike to promote using these bike sharing systems.”

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The Butterfly Effect. Photo courtesy of artist Tenzin Chan and team

This year, the festival has expanded beyond its usual reach of the Marina Bay area alone to include even the Esplanade Park. Said Jason: “There are six artworks at the park, and it seemed like a natural expansion of the festival’s physical footprint so we don’t just stick to the same geographical locations year in and year out. In fact, in 2019, we plan to expand further to the Civic District.”

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Milk Bottle Cows by BP Loh

A grand total of 22 light art installations will be on display at the festival this year from 14 countries. Very much in line with the sustainability theme, three of the artworks will in fact be using recycled bottles and containers contributed by the public. One of these exhibits is Milk Bottle Cows by local artist BP Loh. The title says it all, and what Loh has done is construct 6 white, life-sized cows and calves from about 2,000 plastic milk bottles, which will be lit up as they graze upon the ‘field’ they’re on. The other two exhibits are Spanish artist Luzinterruptus’ Transistable Plastic, which consists of 20,000 PET bottles forming rows of illuminated rotating panel the public can walk amongst, as well as Thai artists Living Spirits’ Chandelier of Spirits, which will display suspended glass and plastic coffee bottles to represented the gathering of a workforce reliant on caffeine each morning.

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Himantura prototype by School of the Arts

But it’s not just established artists who will be showcased this year – six works from students at local institutions will also be displayed. One of these is Himantura, created by a group of students from SOTA. The name Himantura comes from a genus of stingray, and in this artwork, will come in the form of a giant kinetic sculpture that the public can personally interact with as they crank it up. Another student work to look out for is a group from the School of Art, Design and Media at NTU’s Starlight. Inspired by how Singapore is the most light polluted city in the world, Starlight will feature a miniature ‘city’ and lights that hang above it. As more visitors get closer to the ‘city’, the lights there will be ‘turned off’ and be transferred from the city to the stars, effectively getting them to participate in the act of reclaiming the magic of the stars.

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MailboX by Christopher Simpson and Isabella Bain, image courtesy of the artists.

In fact, many of the art works this year will not simply be static displays, but also encourage visitors to play a hand and take part in making these artworks move and change. One of these to look out for is MailboX by Australian artists Christopher Simpson and Isabella Bain, a larger than life mailbox with a digital light display emanating from it, changing according to tweets using the hashtag #ilightmarinabay to display real messages from people. Meanwhile, not only will the ArtScience Museum receive a new skin titled Evergreen by Hungarian artist Limelight, but our very own Merlion at Merlion Park will also transform into an intergalactic space beast as Malaysian artist Flex Chew projects Elements of Life onto it.

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Elements of Life by Flex Chew, image courtesy of the artist.

Said Jason Chen: “Ultimately, i Light is about place making as we activate these public spaces. We’ve been able to draw huge numbers of visitors from even the heartlands, and hopefully when they walk away from the festival, they’ll bring home the lesson and message of sustainability, and it’ll lead to a gradual, positive change in their lifestyle.” As always, i Light Marina Bay is set to get the public excited about the area, and we know we’ll be heading down ourselves to get as many incredible photos of these exhibitions as possible, and take part in this annual chance to see Marina Bay decked out in a whole new light.

i Light Marina Bay runs from 9th March to 11th April around Marina Bay. Entry is free of charge, and for more information, visit their website here

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