i Light Singapore 2022: Back to shine a light on sustainability
The pandemic snuffed out the lights around us in more ways than one, but they are now gradually coming back on – not least in the form of i Light Singapore 2022.
The annual festival, a celebration and marriage of art and sustainability, is back for its eighth edition from 3 to 26 Jun. The popular event was forced to take a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, but it is back with a bang. There are 20 light installations on display this year, by artists from 14 countries, including nine artworks presented by Singapore creators.
This year’s festival is themed “Spark of Light”, and features works from new media artists, engineers and designers, as well as students from Singapore’s institutions. Visitors are invited to enjoy the creativity of the works while pondering their interpretations of sustainability, the environment, and what we can do to build a better world to live in.
The A List has put together a highlight of some works on display, and also spoke with the student-artist team behind one of them to learn more about their process and understanding of this year’s theme.
1. Alone Together
Artists: Ping Lim (Singapore) and Ian Grossberg (United States of America)
Location: Marina Bay Link Mall entrance
At first glance, Alone Together is reminiscent of Singapore’s housing estates and the lives inside them. The artwork documents the experience of being confined and isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic, something that everyone would have gone through to varying degrees.
It offers a window into the intimate moments of living as a nation in this new normal and invites visitors to be part of the experience through real-time interaction.
2. MOTHEREARTH ClimateChange Data Sculpture
Artist: OUCHHH (Turkey)
Location: ArtScience Museum façade
Take important but seemingly mundane data, marry it with lights, colours, and sound, and you have a visually stunning piece of art. MOTHEREARTH ClimateChange Data Sculpture, by new media studio OUCHHH, is just that.
It utilises artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, turning data of weather recordings and environmental statistics into a sensory experience – all while putting climate change issues under the spotlight.
3. Firefly Field
Artist: TOER (The Netherlands)
Location: The Promontory at Marina Bay
Fireflies are not commonly sighted in Singapore, and certainly not in the heart of the central business district. For this installation, The Promontory at Marina Bay turns into a field of luminous, dancing ‘fireflies’.
Created by Dutch multidisciplinary design studio TOER, the rhythmic lights mimic the bioluminescence of fireflies, helping to create an attractive scene that piques viewers’ curiosity and awe about the natural world.
4. Ruffled Ice
Artist: DP Design (Singapore)
Location: Mist Walk
Ruffled Ice takes an object that is central to unnecessary wastage globally – plastic – and turns it into art that reminds visitors of its effect on the world around us.
It draws attention to the excessiveness of plastic packaging, their inappropriate disposal, and how the problem then snowballs into a trash issue that causes damage to our environment. The plastic waste used to visualise melting icebergs and ice caverns in this artwork is taken from organisations, including a plastic recycling company.
Artist: Liang TaiLin, Isabella Meo Loo Yanshan (Singapore)
Location: Queen Elizabeth Walk waterfront steps
Re-Act is the work of two student-artists from the architecture department of the National University of Singapore, chosen from a student closed call this year.
Using running light strips, the artwork mimics the trickling of water pollutants like toxic dyes and untreated sewage flowing into the sea and destroying the marine ecosystem. The piece’s lighting design also symbolises iceberg cracks and prompts visitors to think about humankind’s relationship with water and the battle against climate change.
The A List spoke to the duo behind Re-Act to learn more about their experience creating the installation and being part of i Light Singapore this year:
How did you interpret the festival theme “Spark of Light”?
Our initial impression of the theme was tied to the idea of creating awe and surprise. We wanted to design something eye-catching and vibrant while using the idea of fleeting moments (inspired by the word ‘spark’) to drive people to contemplate the world around them.
What was the inspiration behind your artwork?
The terraced steps served as a huge inspiration to the design itself. The sloping topography situated right next to the water body created various imageries related to sustainability and climate change, such as melting icebergs and toxic waste run-off into rivers and oceans. This presented a huge opportunity for us to create an installation that can physically manifest such ideas for the public to spectate and reflect on. We wanted to design an installation that leverages its site context.
What do you think stands out about your artwork?
We particularly like how visitors can interact and engage with our artwork. It attracts various crowds to visit the site, rendering it a vibrant social node. During the first few days, we can see a huge number of people of different age groups carrying out different activities on site.
Kids were playing with the patterns of light, groups of cyclists sitting along the lights to catch their breath, and groups of students huddled around and playing music out loud. This is something that stood out from some of the other light installations, where users can only spectate instead of interacting with the artwork or the spaces around it. The different perspectives – depending on vantage points – are also something unique to our installation as it conjures different imageries in the viewer’s mind. While the whole concept of “flowing liquid” is rather simple, the execution and results were rewarding.
What do you hope people will interpret or take away from your piece?
We hope to prompt thoughts on our water pollution and water scarcity, with the latter being a common topic here in Singapore. Compounded with the bigger issues of climate change and global warming, we realise that water is a very precious resource; thus, we hope that people can reflect upon our unsustainable water usage and disposal, and invite users to make a positive difference in their own ways.
What is it like, as students, to be part of something as big as i Light?
It is a very fulfilling experience, and we are grateful for it. As architecture students, we only think about the initial design development, yet never about the construction or practicality, given how conceptual and fictional school projects are. i Light gave us an opportunity to experience the entire life cycle of a public design project, from the very beginning of the conceptual stage to the installation phase, and even the disassembly. It also enabled us to work with various stakeholders and emphasises the importance of communication, time management, and cooperation.
(Photos: i Light Singapore)