I attended the Toronto Light Festival a couple of weeks ago.
This festival had its first year in 2017 and was a free, outdoor event. It was held in the Distillery District from January 27th to March 12th – “during the dark, cold days of winter” in the hope that “city residents will be drawn out of their traditional indoor habitats to experience Toronto in a way they never have before.”
This installation was entitled “Our House.” Artist Tom Dekyvere (Belgium) meant to show “another example of how life and its natural environment can be manipulated into a new form. The installation refers to the balance between electronics and nature, people and their network.”
This piece, called “Angels of Freedom,” is by the OGE Creative Group from Israel. Visitors were encouraged to “turn themselves into a real angel” by posing in front of the wings and halos. For every photo shared to FB, Twitter, or Instagram, the group donated $1.00 to the Daily Bread Food Bank. Social media for a good cause!
“The Love Locks”, by Toronto Light Festival creator Mathew Rosenblatt, “requires the participation of lovers to come together to express their enduring love for one another.” (Visitors could write their names on a lock and add it to the exhibit). “This simple action not only reinforces what is already in their hearts, it also acts to create an intensely positive environment and inspiration for others.”
“The Magic Dance Mirror” by Kyle Ruddick (United States) “creates a graphically styled mirror image of those using it with dynamic animated visuals based on a user’s movement, audio, and social interactions.”
It was really good to see visitors not being afraid to dance and act “silly” in front of strangers in order to interact with the artwork. I could have stayed in there all night – it was such a fun, positive environment. Now – how to get one of those installed in my house?!
Another interactive piece was “A Dream of Pastures” by Studio F Minus from Canada. It was a “mechanical sculpture and light projection inspired by the history of moving images.” Visitors could pedal a stationery bike, which would power a projector displaying a moving image of themselves riding a horse.
“IT” by Michael Christian (United States) was the somber piece in the festival. “IT rises over 40 feet tall and is constructed of 12,000 pounds of steel. Inspired by H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, IT was commissioned by Black Rock City Nevada’s 2006 Burning Man Festival and over 50,000 visitors viewed it when it was first unveiled.”
“Run Beyond” by Angelo Bonello (Italy) was my favourite of the festival. It was “a work about the jump we all have to take in our lives: the jump to freedom. Bonello does not tell us what kind of freedom, the spectator has to make up their own mind. Bonello: “To me this work is about the power of imagination, a power so strong that it makes individuals conquer their fears and limitations and causes them to open up to other cultures, new friendships, and unknown worlds.”
“Digital Origami Tigers” by LAVA from Australia “started their world travels in 2010 in celebration of the Chinese New Year at Customs House in Sydney, Australia. The Digital Tigers were adopted by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) to bring attention to the international campaign to save tigers. The crouching Digital Tigers combine ancient methods of lantern making with cutting edge digital design and fabrication technology, bringing together east and west.”
“The Uniting Lightstar” by Venividimultiplex (The Netherlands) “is a dodecahedron which…consists of twelve pentagonal surfaces….you see numerous strings of blue light, which connect all of the points of this artificial star. The Uniting Lightstar demonstrates…the human capacity to boost friendships and let them grow.”
I am hoping that Toronto Light Festival returns in 2018!
All quoted text and information is from Toronto Light Festival 2017’s printed festival brochure.