i Light Marina Bay 2016 is packed with unpredictable and refreshing art that will leave viewers wanting more.

Priscilla Tan  |  Singapore
Published 2016-03-11 13:59:45

Asia’s leading sustainable light art festival, i Light Marina Bay, is back in March this year. Since its inaugural launch back in 2010, it has featured an extraordinary display of talent over the years. This year is no exception – and the visual art is just the beginning.

A marriage of form and material, the festival promises to showcase another round of exquisite light art installations around the waterfront promenade. Designed by creative minds from around the world, it integrates the use of recyclable materials and energy-efficient lighting technologies.

Above all, it sends an important message – that anyone can play a part in contributing to a sustainable future and making the world a better place. Let’s take a look at what goes behind the scenes.

Interactivity and Art – Handpick What Is Shown On The Exterior Walls Of ArtScience Museum

One of the highlights of i Light Marina Bay 2016 is undeniably the interactive artwork, What a Loving & Beautiful World – ArtScience Museum. It gives visitors a rare chance to hand-pick what is shown on the exterior walls of ArtScience Museum – by using their mobile devices.

i Light Marina Bay
Image credit: i Light Marina Bay

Visitors can interact with the artwork by picking and swiping Chinese characters from the website, ilight.team-lab.com. The signals sent from the mobile devices will then evolve into images representing the characters that are projected on the building façade.

For instance, by swiping the Chinese character of flower on your mobile device, the character will first appear on the façade of the ArtScience Museum and subsequently morph into a rainbow of flowers.

An event that echoes the aesthetic appeal of virtual reality, this is the first time visitors can interact with an artwork on such a massive scale. For viewers who thrive on art that taps into the subconscious, this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity.

The Congregation of Technology and Art

This year, we are also seeing a strong relation between technology and art. Take NUS Architecture’s Groove Light, for instance – it creates geometric shadow patterns when light is shone through each individual 3D printed lantern, creating a series of emotionally-charged visual projections.

i Light Marina Bay
Image credit: i Light Marina Bay

Describing it as a trial-and-error brainstorming process, assistant professor Shinya Okuda shared that there were several technical challenges the group faced while creating the installations. Unlike typical small-scale 3D printing process built on powder, the large scale 3D printing had to be built on air. The team also realised that 3D printing is not as simple as a press of a button, and many refinements had to be made to the CAD models prior to actual 3D printing to achieve the desired precision of the tripartite relationship between light, shadow and object.

And the outcome of their hard work is the four delicate and beautiful printed lanterns that are presented at the festival. Some of these are interactive, so try your hands moving it to see how it changes the shadows on the ground.

Another art piece driven by technology is The Cloud, which uses the newest printed lighting technology created by A*STAR. Exceptionally thin, flexible and adaptable in a negligible heat capacity, the material made it possible to curl and cut to create a visual interaction of the curvilinear planes, which gives rise to the effect of swirling movements of a supernatural cloud that looks visually exciting when it is viewed from all angles.

i Light Marina Bay
Image credit: i Light Marina Bay

Sustainability riding it all

Known as Asia’s leading sustainable light art festival, the elements of sustainability behind the art pieces showcased at i Light Marina Bay are something to behold.

i Light Marina Bay
Image credit: i Light Marina Bay

Take the piece Cycle House, created by our local artist, Hafiz Osman. Cycle House is a LED mobile workstation that combines temporary shelter and cycling, showcasing his view of what home means to some people and how one perceives the space to live and play in. Two cycle houses have been created, the stationary house that invites visitors to cycle to light up the house, as if powering up their own house; and the mobile house that brings a more energetic, disco-theme performance to the Bay and this piece allows visitors to join in the singing too!

i Light Marina Bay
Image credit: i Light Marina Bay

Another noteworthy piece is Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta’s Lampshade, an installation made from sustainable light fixtures and bamboo structures covered by photovoltaic cells – otherwise known as solar cells, where they convert sunlight directly into electricity.

Thanks to its earth-conscious and long-lasting nature, the materials will be reused and donated to off-grid communities in Myanmar after the festival.

The Social Fabric Of Our Society

As if these weren’t enough, another particularly touching piece is the Unseen: Touch Field. In this long-term art project, local visual artist Alecia Neo collaborated with the blind and sight-impaired participants from Singapore and Taipei to create braille-like drawings.

i Light Marina Bay
Image credit: i Light Marina Bay

Instead of beholding the piece with our eyes, the artwork requires the use of our tactile sense, giving us a glimpse on what it’s like to experience the unthinkable reality of a visually-impaired individual.

Apart from this, i Light Marina Bay also seeks to engage schools to develop our pool of local talents. This year, the festival worked with Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, National University of Singapore, and Nanyang Technological University to create five innovative and sustainable light art installations for all to enjoy.

Adding on to the pictorial symphony of the light art installations, the festival will also feature a selection of events and programmes, including dining options, performances, workshops and family-friendly activities.

i Light Marina Bay
Image credit: i Light Marina Bay

Green To The Core

The festival is also running a sustainability campaign where the stakeholders around Marina Bay and beyond are encouraged to switch off non-essential lighting and turn up air-conditioning temperatures in their buildings. Past records have shown that the energy savings from this campaign was able to negate the energy used by the light art installations over the three-week period!

Through this three week festival, the festival hopes to remind us that even the smallest changes can make a big difference. Everyone can play a part to conserve resources for our future. Let’s think global, act local and head down to the festival to reconnect to a renewable world.



Tip: download the free audio guided tour via VoiceMap before heading down to the festival. Voice prompts will be triggered by GPS upon reaching each installation. Entry is free.

You can find more information about the festival on their websiteFacebook and Instagram. The kind people at i Light Marina Bay 2016 will also be organising contests for the public. Include the hashtag #ilightmarinabay to join in the fun!

Featured image credit: “Destination NSW”

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