Commemorating 200 years since the founding of modern Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles back in 1819, annual lights festival i Light Singapore is set to return for a very special edition in 2019 with the Bicentennial Edition, as the festival reflects on Singapore’s history and growth over the last 700 years.
Taking on the theme of Bridges of Time, the festival is set to present 32 sustainable light art installations from 28th January to 24th February 2019, expanding from its previous location of Marina Bay to extend into the Civic District, Singapore River, and Raffles Terrace at Fort Canning. This anchor event kick-starts the Singapore Bicentennial commemoration in 2019, and 17 of the 32 artworks presented will be by Singaporean artists, or feature content related to Singapore, with a total of 14 different countries represented across the works.
One of the most pertinent topics explored by the works would be the issue of connectivity, inspiring members of the public to come together to view these artworks in the hopes of building a sustainable future together. i Light 2019 is set to also tell the Singapore story across the artworks, such as with National University of Singapore students’ Cenotaph for a Stone, which seeks to illustrate the decimation of the Singapore Stone in 1843. While appearing in its entirety as a ‘faux’ stone in frontal view, the installation at Waterboat House Garden aims to intrigue viewers with its deliberate arrangement of the 51 rock fragments and timed, cascading lighting effect that mimics an explosion.
Visitors will also get to see a 3D, light and water based hologram of sailboats at the Marina Bay waterfront promenade presented by Studio Biangle from Estonia, with their work Sails Aloft. This large scale installation recreates vessels inspired by the sampan panjang, a colloquial term for a long dwelling boat, which the early immigrants of Singapore (Orang laut or ‘sea people’ in the Malay language) used to live off. Appearing only after darkness falls, the hologram wavers with the movement of the wind to exude a dreamy ambience, and creates a snapshot of a 19th century sailboat race in the region.
Over at the Singapore River, Belgian group ACTLD will tell the story of the timeless journey of travellers who discovered Singapore over the years through an immersive multimedia show titled Bridges of Time, set to enchant audiences nightly with lights, lasers, music and projections on water.
In addition, for the first time ever, and in accordance with the theme, artworks will be installed on six iconic bridges at Singapore River and Marina Bay, namely Elgin Bridge, Cavenagh Bridge, Anderson Bridge, Esplanade Bridge, Jubilee Bridge and The Helix bridge, designed to inspire hope and optimism as we acknowledge the past, celebrate our present, while looking to the future by sparking conversations on the development of Singapore and the world around us. Also, by extending the Festival to Fort Canning Park, public can explore and better appreciate the historic area while enjoying the light art installations.
Over here, visitors will be welcomed by Taiwanese artist Dr. Huang Chin Fu’s Land-pass Bird where 30 birds with their fluorescent blue feathers will perch on the trees that line up the staircase from the foot of the Park to Raffles Terrace. Up at Raffles Terrace, artist Mr.Beam from The Netherlands invites the audience to interact with his piano installation Keys of Light, which reacts to each music note played on the piano and triggers captivating animations in the surrounding environment.
DP Architects from Singapore will showcase Why Green? at Marina Bay Event Square where festival-goers are invited to wander within the immersive installation that features 3D-printed plant species inspired by the landscape of Singapore. Over at Clifford Square, Time Traveller, by Indonesian artist Eko Agus Prawoto, is inspired by bamboo fish traps used by fishermen from the past, evoking collective memories among the communities in this fast-changing era. Standing tall between One Fullerton – a result of development of the new city and Clifford Pier – the old landing point for travellers who arrived in Singapore via sea, the artwork also serves as a bridge between the old and new, and between generations.
In partnership with LUX Light Festival in New Zealand, the festival will also welcome Facey Thing by UJI Studios at One Marina Boulevard. This installation is a fun and satirical celebration of the coming together of selfie culture and universal surveillance to create hyperreal simulated images of ourselves through the art of play. As visitors come into view of the camera, they can interact creatively with their pictures taken on-site by virtually painting with their faces. The light art installations will be complemented with a dynamic line-up of programmes and sustainability activities in the different hubs of the Festival.
Says Mr Jason Chen, Festival Director and Director (Place Management) of Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), organisers i Light Singapore: “This special edition is especially meaningful as it forms part of the Singapore Bicentennial commemoration. The artwork line-up collectively reflects the Festival’s desire to bridge people, cultures and ideas through art and sustainability. The light art installations will be strategically placed along the Festival route to bring everyone on the development journey of Singapore since the arrival of its earliest communities at the Singapore River.”
i Light Singapore – Bicentennial Edition will be held from 28 January to 24 February 2019, 7.30pm to 11pm daily with extended hours to 12am on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is free. Visit www.ilightsingapore.sg for more information.