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Let there be light

Let there be light
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The story of the light festival brings together 45 artists and scientists from 14 countries for one spectacular light show in Goa in January.

Come January and Panjim will shine under the light of not only the stars, but from the many installations that will line the promenade during The Story of Light (SOL) Festival. This first of its kind event is scheduled to take place from the 14th to 18th January 2015 under the aegis of the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, 2015 (IYL 2015). It aims at creating awareness about the breakthroughs in light science and it’s applications in modern life.

The organisers received an overwhelming response of 130 proposals from India and the world. Of those Jaya Ramchandani, festival director says that ‘there will be 33 public art installations’. Apart from India, scientists and artists will come in from USA, Brazil, Australia, France, Portugal and Netherlands, to mention a few countries.

To be held in the heart of Panjim, the festival will transform the two-kilometre stretch along the River Mandovi and its nearby historic locations and gardens into a creative, entertaining and educational space. A children’s area with unique educational activities, a screenings tent, and a concert stage will all add to the festivities.

The programme includes a visual play, dance performances, installations with light and colour, photography workshops, and live projections, all directed at teaching us a little something about the universe in a fun and interactive way. Among the festival highlights are the Czech Republic duo presenting Archibio which unfolds the beauty of microscopic worlds enlarged to a giant size in public spaces through videomapping; a UK-India collaboration to make the world’s longest cyanotype (an old photography technique and printing process) engaging the public in exploring our relationship with sunlight; an Australian team of poets, musicians, sound and video artists present Elemental, a unique exploration of science, the mind and the infinite universe showcased under the spectacular dome theatre of the planetarium.

The festival will also host a panel discussion, Configuring Light, by the London School of Economics Cities programme (LSE Cities). The meet will be between government officials, urban planners, lighting companies and the public.

Jaya, who studied astronomy in the Netherlands, says that ‘physics rarely comes in the public eye.’ So when she moved to Goa after her course, she along with her friend Nash D’Souza, co-organiser of the festival who comes from a background in graphic design, came up with idea of merging the two fields. Simply educating through a poster wasn’t interactive, so the idea to use ‘art and design to tell science stories’ came up. “It was good timing as the UN declared 2015 as the Year of Light. We decided to do something in January,” says Jaya.

There will be some active participation from Goa with Kaushal Sapre who has worked with both traditional and new media including video and installation, Midhu Mohan, an artist and animator and Dinaaz Mehta and Shrinivas Ananthanarayanan, both illustrators and photographers.

There’s much more to light than simple illumination, and this event is set to open our eyes to the fascinating world of physics with art to take us there.

This article was first published in Timeline GOA Magazine: Issue 1 Vol. 1 (Page 80).

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