More student participation at i Light Marina Bay art fest in March

More student participation at i Light Marina Bay art fest in March
This year's i Light Marina Bay festival, which takes place in March, will feature more student participants. Photo: Ernest Chua
More than 20 light art installations and 40 fringe events in this year’s light arts festival
Published: 1:53 PM, January 27, 2016
Updated: 1:44 PM, January 28, 2016


SINGAPORE — Light art festival i Light Marina Bay is back, with more participation by student artists. This year’s edition, its fourth, will be held from March 4 to 27 at the Marina Bay waterfront promenade. It will carry the theme “In Praise Of Shadows”.

Organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) with an emphasis on sustainability, the festival was previously held every two years starting in 2010. 

But from this year onwards, it will be a yearly affair, announced Jason Chen, festival director and URA’s Director for Place Management. “With an event like this happening more regularly, we can be more effective in reaching out to the masses,” he said. “I think it’s important to allow the messages that we want to communicate to gain traction. And now, with the experience we have gained after organising three editions, we can now quite confidently do so on an annual basis.” 

During the festival, the Marina Bay waterfront will see more than 20 light art installations by local and international artists. 

The chosen theme is inspired by Japanese novelist Junichiro Tanizaki’s essay In Praise Of Shadows. Randy Chan, the festival’s co-curator and Principal Architect at Zarch Collaboratives, hopes this year’s works will “take on a reflective tone” and explore “a new narrative” as the nation moves from the SG50 year into 2016. Marina Bay, he said, is the ideal setting because “it epitomises our aspiring city”. 

This year’s line-up features the most number of installations presented by students from local educational institutions, including Nanyang Polytechnic, Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore, in the festival’s history. 

“We have always emphasised the importance of sustainability, so what (could be) more important than cultivating that understanding amongst students? We hope that down the road, as we have the festival every year, we can see more and more student projects being displayed,” Chen said. 

On the sustainability front, the festival will practice what it preaches. With corporate organisations agreeing to partner with them in switching off their buildings’ non-essential lights and turn up air-conditioning temperatures during the festival’s three weeks, net energy savings are achieved, said Chen. And, “even if they’re committing to just the three weeks, that sets the tone for them to hopefully think about doing so more permanently. I think that really is what the festival is all about.” 

The URA also hopes that the festival will encourage Singaporeans, especially heartlanders, to enjoy public spaces, Chen added. “The signature skyline is so beautiful. An exhibition of light installations, I think, is a fantastic complement to the nightscape of our beautiful city.”

Alongside the art installations, there will also be more than 40 events and programmes, such as carnivals, musical performances and flea markets — nearly double the number of previous years, said Chen. For a spot of chilling and refuelling, containers will house food and beverage stops from brands such as Pasarbella, beer specialists CRAFT Singapore and food truck Kerbside Gourmet. For the first time, there will also be a festival village, which will serve as a hub for visitors. 

The i Light Marina Bay 2016 will be held from March 4 to 27 at Marina Bay waterfront promenade. Admission will be free.