Festivals of light
Shanghai, 6th February 2010
This morning I caught the tail end of a report on the news about some festival of lights. Not sure where or which country even but the images seemed quite impressive, with lighting sculptures and structures. So I set out to check out Google (yes, it still works in China 🙂 ) and was amazed by the amount of “festival of lights”! I found events in Australia, Korea, France, US, Spain, and more, all dubbed “festival of lights”. Further scrutiny however reveals that most of them are in fact more art and music festivals that are held at night with light. The Ice festival in Harbin, China, maybe the exception as lighting is an integrated part of the magical effects at night.
There are also the more cultural and religious festivals such as the Chinese Lantern Festival, the Indian festival of Diwali or the Jewish Hanukkah which are both called festivals of light, in which candles are the main lighting component. All of them are of very important cultural importance.
But the more “genuine” (from our point of view as lighting designers)are the light festivals such as last year’s successful introduction of the Sydney Smart Light festival and the well established festival of light in Lyon for example. Actual lighting installations are used to create beautiful illuminated artworks or creatively lit building structures and facades throughout the city. In Germany, the Frankfurt Luminale, which is held in conjunction with the bi-annual Light Fair, is another example.
Besides the obvious tourism benefits, these festivals however are far more meaningful as there is a deeper thought behind relating it to urban development and creating awareness for the benefits of good practice lighting.
PS: Just realised I posted my 100 th blog entry yesteday!