Monday, March 19, 2012

The Interactive and Illuminating i Light 2012 at Marina Bay

The Marina Bay Waterfront area is one of the prettiest places to visit at night on Red Dot Island, and one of Red Dot Diva's favourite people-watching spots.

Without a doubt, it is the perfect arena for the i Light Marina Bay - an outdoor light art festival on sustainable energy presented by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and organised by Smart Light Singapore (SLS). It is the first and only one held in Asia!

Last year, Red Dot Diva went for the first i Light Marina Bay festival with some of her friends. It was a muggy night but she remembered that it was moderately enjoyable, because it was the first time she was walking along the Promenade.

For this year's i Light, Red Dot Diva's hardy 68-year-old momma joined her as walking companion. It turned out to be a cool and beautiful night - great weather for a good leisurely walk around the bay.

Red Dot Diva's i Light walk began at the touristy Merlion Park around 8:15pm. And instead of taking just a few obligatory shots of the scenery and the giant spotlight show on MBS across the bay, they were in for a surprising treat.

Mr Merlion himself was also part of the i Light festival, and he got to be electronically painted in different bright colours via various light projections from a screen nearby. Even his water spout was also showing off different hues, like red and yellow. The light show was so visually captivating that they stayed in the park longer than expected!

They then took a leisurely stroll past the Fullerton heritage area towards the Promenade to check out more of the light installations.

Just opposite the old Customs House, was a low-profile 3D light show that was projected within the bay waters called "Classification Pending" by Australian artist Craig Walsh. If one stood by the railings long enough, you'd catch glimpses of mini and giant Loch Ness'es swimming just below. It looked almost *real*.

Walking towards the Promenade boardwalk, Red Dot Diva spotted the whimsical "Coral Garden" by Olivia d'Aboville. Strings of LED lights were cleverly coiled together like giant rainbow-coloured toadstools and they looked so fairy tale-like on the grass patch. The kids loved it, and it was a great spot for photo-taking.

The installation called "After Light" by New Zealand outfit Storybox, consisted of rows of huge metal containers stacked on top of each other (see pic above). They were hard to miss. The exhibit, with a multi-screen footage and interesting images was seamless in its delivery as it shows how light inspires the world. If one was curious enough to walk up closer to the empty containers, there were also art installations inside one or two of them.

Several passers-by were curious about the big bright orange "blob" of in the middle of a grass patch which was aptly called "Bibigloo" by BIBI from France. The polyethylene igloo-shaped exhibit was made to remind people about the melting glaciers. Red Dot Diva found it amusing to see the number of imaginative poses that people did when they were taking pictures against it. (Just don't ask what Red Dot Diva did for a pose, 'k?)

One of the best things that were available at this year's i Light was a resting/ beverage area at the giant cooling fans. Red Dot Diva spotted benches and seats placed for people to rest their tired feet. There was also a wine bar for those who need some booze to cool down, and free coffee sponsored by Nescafe. She simply couldn't pass by without grabbing a cuppa.

Even while she stood waiting for free coffee, Red Dot Diva could see and hear several things happening around her. Just around the corner, was an energetic percussion/ drum band with boys dressed in LED-lighted uniforms. A short distance away, lighted kites wriggled up and down the night sky like mini centipedes. And there were also Asian-themed exhibits like the ones shaped like textile patchwork lanterns ("Receptacle" by Marine Ky from Cambodia/ France) and orange Buddhist-inspired prayer shelters by Be Takerng Pattanopas from Thailand called "Gap The Mind".

Over at Marina Bay Sands, (cue music from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind") a futuristic giant hybrid alien "5QU1D" (by Ruf Zaini, Singapore) has landed to survey the bay. As its looks out into the waters, its body changing colours, will it decide to stay on Red Dot Island? What would it think of our one of our favourite seafood dishes -- deep fried baby squid?

Continuing with the space-like theme, lighted deck chairs ("Deck Journey" by Zulkifle Mahmod, Singapore) have been set up for visitors to sit and rest. Red Dot Diva even saw an "uncle" dozing peacefully on one of the chairs. Not sure how long he's been sleeping there!

Then, there was "Flow" by Olivia Lee, Singapore - a smart interactive installation that attracted a stream of people coming up to turn the colourfully-painted water bottles like Asian prayer wheels. An inspiring demonstration of the use of the combination of kinetic energy and solar energy.

Around the floating platform, were even more eye-catching installations like the very space-like hexagonal structure "Parmenides I" by Dev Harlan, USA. So hypnotic. And ironically, Aleksandra Stratimirovic who hails from Sweden - the home of IKEA - had put up an installation called "Sweet Home", with dainty striped lampshades hanging overhead homely setups made up of sofas, rugs, reading lamps.

Oh, and one can't help but feel joyous and uplifted when watching the super-groovy lighted dancing stick men "Key Frames" (by Groupe LAPS, France) doing their beat dance.

But the Best of the Best, was the "Garden of Light" show at the ArtScience Museum. Using the museum's "flower petals" as a canvas, a 10-15 minute beautifully-edited animated show of comets, butterflies and pretty flowers was projected using 3D digital mapping technology. The music was also very well-choreographed and at the finale, the museum's surface magically burst into a field of happy yellow daisies and dandelions. Simply gorgeous and visually unforgettable.

It was too bad that Red Dot Diva and her mom were already at the floating platform when the "Garden of Light" show started up again. But that gave her a suitable excuse to head to ArtSci Museum for another gander at the light show. And this time, she plans to be positioning herself at the Helix Bridge.

Red Dot Diva also heard that there are other side shows during the festival - lighted up stiltwalkers for example - which she did not get to see when she was there. And she may have missed seeing the one called "Planting Shadows" (by Vertical Submarine, Singapore). So definitely, a second i Light visit would be worthwhile.

This year's i Light Marina Bay Festival is something truly special and beautifully moving. Red Dot Diva highly recommends the night walk as it is a great opportunity to spend an educational, entertaining and illuminating time with the family. You'd need a strong pair of legs, as there may be about 2-3 hours of moderate walking to take in and enjoy all the art installations. A map can be downloaded from the i Light website, or if one has an iPhone, grab the i Light app from iTunes!

The i Light Marina Bay Festival ends on 1 April 2012 and is from 7.30pm to 11 pm daily.

Don't Miss It!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This is enough to make me want to come visit. If I can ever get to Singapore, I'll try to plan to come for this festival. Thanks for sharing it with us!