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Art Meets Sustainability: i Light Marina Bay 2018

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By day, the central business district may be loaded with the hustle and bustle of office workers. But as night falls, Marina Bay is set to once again become an illuminated playground as i Light Marina Bay returns for the 6th year.

i Light Marina Bay continues to be Asia’s biggest sustainable lights festival, uniting art and environmental awareness into a collection of works that will delight as you make your way around the Bay area with family and friends. With 22 works spread across from Clifford Pier all the way to Esplanade Park, it would probably take a full evening to see all the works, coupled with stops at anchor points such as the Prudential Marina Bay Carnival. And as the name of the festival implies, ‘i Light’ is all about putting you in charge of lighting up the Bay, as many of the public art installations involve some degree of participation and change accordingly.

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Although not all the works are up yet, at least 8 are already set up, with the remainder to be ready by opening night. Over at Clifford Pier, you’ll find it hard to miss Frenchman Franck Pelltier’s giant inflatable heart as it glows red and the rhythm of its beat changes throughout the night as it detects changes in the environment. It’s so big, you can even spot it from the other side of the Bay!

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The trail then begins proper as you stroll down Marina Boulevard. Here, check out MailboX by Australian artists Christopher Simpson, Isabella Bain, Kanh Nguyen, James Rotanson, Anthony Zeater and Steven Bai. Taking on the shape of a traditional mailbox, the installation actually relies on users to interact with it in two ways. The first, by tweeting using the hashtag #ilightmarinabay, will cause said tweet to appear on the display, while if you cheer loudly enough, the light patterns on its body will change too. Don’t try to get funny with your messages either – the artists have already prepared for that with a pre-programmed set of messages if the tweets contain anything untoward.

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Even the Breeze Shelters are given a new lease of life with Thai artists Living Spirits, setting up lights that increase in intensity the more people there are surrounding it. What’s more, look closely and you’ll find that each bulb is actually encased in a recycled glass or plastic cold brew bottle, representing the way we rely on caffeine drives our daily energy.

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i Light Marina Bay also gives educational institutes a chance to shine, with six of the artworks created by members of local educational institutes. One of these is Kloud by Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Interactive Design and Media, which showcases 5 small ‘clouds’ surrounding a giant cloud. Visitors can slap designated panels to flicker and animate the lights, as well as download a corresponding kloud app to change the middle one’s colours/

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LASALLE College of the Arts presents what is perhaps the quietest and most introspective art work of the entire festival. Unlike the others, Light Breeze asks audience members to simply gaze at these blades of ‘lalang grass’ as they sway in the wind, teetering on concrete bases like a roly-poly with the city skyline acting as backdrop, a reminder to remember the nostalgia of yesteryears and nature even in the heart of the cold urban cityscape.

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Meanwhile, a giant octopus seems to have crawled out of the ocean and parked itself in front of the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands with Australian artists amigo and amigo’s Octopoda. Each of the octopus’ eight legs are fitted with a drum, an upcycled container. When visitors step forward and bang these drums, the octopus” colours will be set aglow and change according to visitors’ playing style.

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Apprpriately, Canadian artist Serge Maheu ends off the main part of the tour with Passage. Located near Marina Bay Sands, he explains that he was inspired by reading about firsthand accounts of near death experiences. Passage then acts as a pseudo tunnel of light, and will change its light display and colour depending on the number of people and rate at which they walk through it. Come out the other side, and you’ll almost feel like you’ve been reborn!

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Finally, visitors can park themselves on the Helix Bridge to get a prime view of this year’s projection work on the facade of the ArtScience Museum. With such a unique shape, Hungarian artists Limelight have decided to project a video that conveys a message of sustainability using intricate patterns that weave the digital and natural world together. Expect to see chilly snowflakes, electric blue webbing and even three dimensional humanoid faces in this short piece set to energetic electronic music.

These works are of course, just a glimpse into the entirety of i Light 2018, which will also include hubs such as the child friendly Art Zoo at the Floating Platform and the glowing Illumi Bar (part of the Illumi Run). Make a date to spend some quality time with friends and family, and get on down to Asia’s biggest sustainable light festival to see Marina Bay 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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