SINGAPORE NIGHT LIGHT
Peace & Harmony
Peace and Harmony was a simple yet impactful interactive art piece. And though it did not have an intricate programming , nor did it have extravagant LED lights adorning it; Peace and Harmony still managed to stand out and catch my eye with its purpose and interactivity.
Peace and Harmony is set in the lawn of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd Catholic Church. Participants are handed a candle in a paper cup at the entrance and asked to place the candle along the outline of “Peace & Harmony”. Though one of the most basic forms of audience participation, this simplicity is what we need lately. Lately, it has become about the the most innovative, the most technologically advanced, and the most novel; that people have forgotten to appreciate the root of it all. Even the choice of words- peace and harmony, is such a simple yet evocative vocabulary. Peace in the world and harmony amongst the people, are two changes we need right now in our world full of tension and strife.
Lastly, I feel that the choice to use candles to light up the word is much more captivating and meaningful than using LED lights. A candle light is such a fragile flame that even the slightest wind could blow it out. Yet, when this flame is surrounded by more of its counterpart, it becomes stronger and brighter, like soldiers banding together to fight for their nation. The idea of taking a candle and placing it down with a simple wish reflects the practice of lighting a candle and placing it at the alter with a prayer at church. In church, when lighting the candle, we embed our prayers and wishes- the same goes for the Peace and Harmony exhibit. A small part of Peace and Harmony reminded me of the visual impact of the gathered candle lights and the purpose of their gathering during the peaceful protest in Seoul, South Korea.
EMBER RAIN BY STARLIGHT ALCHEMY
Ember Rain is an art piece by a diverse constellation of local and international artists called the “Starlight Alchemy”. Their works revolve around flaming extravaganzas and luminous dancing lights, often using themselves as part of the piece. The artists in Starlight Alchemy consist of versatile dancers to international engineers interested in body mechanics. Their presence at the Singapore Night Festival felt fitting for this years theme, “Bring on the Night”. The challenge mirrors the daring nature of the fire’s flame, and though the challenge is to bring the “night”- Starlight Alchemy chose to bring the light- the heat.
The interactive aspect of this piece is the bicycle that powers the mechanism that triggers the sculpture placed in the middle of the area. An audience member is allowed into the enclosed area one at a time. The person is asked to pack her own mini ash pouch. This pouch is placed on a contraption that brings the pouch up as you peddle the bicycle, and ultimately drops the pouch into the ember fire. This chemical reaction triggers a flurry of embers that disappear into the night sky.
A sign near the artwork said something along the lines of “this is art, not a race” and whether that was a warning sign to upcoming participants or a hint at the true meaning of the artwork; I felt that it reflected the artwork quite well. “This is art, not a race” reminds people that finishing fast is not always the answer, sometimes it is acceptable to go slower. The mundane bicycle and handmade mechanism prevented the participant from speeding their efforts for the pouch to reach the top. This prevents the pouch from falling off during its journey as well as allows us to genuinely appreciate all the effort needed. The way the embers that disappear into the night sky reminded me of the stars that flicker in the night as well as the transience of life.