The “Staro Rīga” Festival’s Light Artists Create Future Scenarios

More than 40 objects will be on show at the Light Festival Staro Rīga 2018 for four evenings from 5pm to 11pm, on 16th to 19th November. Objects created using various light art techniques will be on view at the Festival in three programmes in Rīga’s parks, squares and on building facades. There will also be a parade of light in four neighbourhoods in Rīga.

The theme for the Light Festival this year is The Castle of Light Rose Up. With this thematic message, the thematic tetralogy chain of the previous years’ festivals Light Called, Light Dawned and To the Stars, which was motivated by Auseklis’ and Jāzeps Vītols’ work Castle of Light, will come to an end.
“Artists were invited to create objects in the Festival’s core programme, creating new versions of the Castle of Light idea and development scenarios, based on both Latvia’s culture canon as the foundation of our culture’s national identity and the cultural values included therein. It also refers to Latvia’s national centenary programme guidelines and communication motto I am Latvia!”, was how Festival Curator Diāna Čivle described the ideological message of the coming event.
The Festival has been taking place now for 11 years and it has grown over this time, becoming internationally recognizable to local residents, tourists and among illumination artists as well. Artists from France, Germany, Portugal, Japan and the Netherlands are taking part in it this year. An important feature of the 2018 Festival is the creation of international joint-projects, with international and local artists collaborating.

This collaboration took place in a new interpretation of the story Sprīdītis in a staged video-projection, which was illustrated by artist Anita Paegle. The young actors from Zīļuks Theatre have assumed the leading roles, but the video-projection was put together by the Ocubo creative group from Portugal. Whereas, German Forum InterArt creative group has created the #UniversUs Project, in which a dancer of Swedish background Lotta Svalberga, together with local dancers of contemporary dance will create an interaction with the video-projection. In turn, Norwegian illumination artist Anastasia Isachsen was inspired by the poems of Imants Ziedonis and the music of Pēteris Vasks in creating her poetic video-projection Daybreak.

The international programme includes several projects by well-known light art creative groups. For the first time in Latvia, a performance from the Ghent Light Festival, The Gift, which is guided by a robotic arm will be shown. A large format light object, the ballet Pikooks and a kinetic environmental installation Abstract. The Flow of Time is an Illusion from the Lyon Light Festival will also be participating. In addition, the programme includes Japanese light artist Yuki Anaïs’ environmental installation False Fire.

There will be a parade of light objects The Secret Life of Light in a different neighbourhood each evening of the festival so that the light festival mood can be felt outside the city centre too. On 16th November, the parade of moving objects can be watched at the VEF Palace of Culture in Jaunā Teika, on 17th November at Ziemeļblāzma, on 18th November it will be at Ķengarags promenāde, and at Iļģuciems on 19th November. The parade will take place twice every evening at 5pm and 8pm.

The participation and partner programme Rīgas karnevāls is being organized for the fifth year within the framework of the Staro Rīga Festival. The Festival’s cooperation partner projects are included in this programme and include light installations and objects, with the ideas being created, technically implemented and financed by the Festival’s cooperation partners or supporters.

For several years now, Festival participants have included the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia and the State Chancellery with its illumination of the Cabinet of Ministers building. This year, the Bank of Latvia, AS Augstsprieguma tīkls, the Central Finance and Contracting Agency together with artist Gints Gabrāns, and Starptautiskā lidosta Rīga together with artist Harijs Brants have joined the partner programme. Worthy of mention among the new partners are Pasaules optika together with artist Elita Patmalniece. Artist Dāvis Vaivads is taking part in the light festival for the first time. Vidzeme University and Valmiera Art High School will also be expressing their idea in the language of light, as will a student from Latvia’s Academy of Culture’s Latvian College of Culture. Long-term festival partners include Latvenergo, Elektrum, Samsung and Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Latvija.

The Staro Rīga 2018 Festival is included in Latvia’s Programme of Centenary Events and is supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Rīga City Council. The Festival is being organized by the Rīga City Council’s Education, Culture and Sports Department.