This year, there are a total of 35 objects included in the Staro Riga Light Festival programme. Of these, 23 form the basic programme and are works submitted by artists selected by the competition committee. This programme is marked on the festival map with red numbers which designate the light objects. Twenty-two of them are located on an easily walkable route in the old town and Riga’s centre, while one more will be on view at Agenskalns Market at Pardaugava.
You could start the route at the Agenskalns market and then head straight into the old town. An interactive audio-visual installation called Holoscope can be found in the market territory. The author of the concept is multimedia artist Zane Zelmene and the object connects the real and the virtual worlds, allowing one to see the Agenskalns territory from a new perspective. This happens during different stages of time with past, present and possible future scenarios. This light object is an installation in process, and any visitor will be able to enter the visual time frames and travel within them during the festival.
An interactive trio of objects is located at the southern end of the old town around Alberta Square. At Vecpilsetas Street 8a, people have an opportunity to play the laser harp. The object created by the Estonian Gala Stage OÜ association of producers offers entertainment to visitors with a self-created improvised composition. It can be played, using your hands to cover the laser strings to make various sounds and thus enlivening the object which has been called Music of Light #Arfa.
The youngest festival visitors will be delighted by another object right next to it in Alberta Square. Visitors will be met there by Bikubuks, the popular hero of the series of picture books from the Liels un mazs Publishing House. He will invite people to head on a journey with him, where illustrations by artist Rūta Briede will come to life. Inese Zandere’s poetry can also be heard here and you can get yourself photographed using the possibilities provided by technology and become one of the participants in Bikibuk’s Adventure!
Whereas at Kaleju Street 57, you can take a look into Reflection, an interactive mirror created by Māris Mortukāns. It reflects a person’s face, only three times larger and in three dimensions straight away. This installation provides an opportunity to find out about the new fourth dimension of their personality, the one that remains hidden in our everyday life…
The next basic programme group of the festival has been placed in the area around Ratslaukums. Riga’s St. Peter’s Church tower, historically the best-known tower among Riga’s horizontal features, will be draped in the Tower of Light laser projection created by I Did It Management Ltd. In turn, the Mystery of Skarnu Street dreamed up by artist Agnese Melbārde and composer Rihards Zaļupe will be visible on the façade of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design. The graphic animation detective story will invite you to go behind the scenes in art, by heading into a world full of adventure and secrets “on the other side of the Vecriga wall”.
Visitors will be able to free their mind and senses right next to the Riga Art Space, by surrendering to the magic power of 77 Million Paintings, a work by world-famous multi-media artist Brian Eno. This is a wonderful example of generative art, where each viewing is a unique experience, as the content is not visually or audially repeated again. The installation which has already been half-way around the world is the result of Brian Eno’s perennial research on the interaction process between light and sound and the artist continues to supplement it from time to time.
Heading further to Dome Square, you will arrive at a portal to another dimension or Riga’s Tesseract. This is an interactive, multi-dimensional light and sound environmental object, allowing any festival visitor to look into the time when Riga pianos, made at the Riga Musical Instrument Factory could be found in the homes of many Latvian families. Viewers will be able to influence the sound and visual form of the self-playing piano through their movements and location near the object.
Whereas, you can immerse yourselves in Voldemārs Johansons’ Photon Constellation at the atrium of the Art Museum Riga Bourse. This is an experimental installation, which will create an audio-visual landscape, hanging light up in the air as a 3D object. The discussion here is about new technology for visualizing spatial data, which has been used for the first time to create a work of art. Another light installation from the festival’s basic programme, called Reflect, will be located in the nearby Neatkaribas Square. It will stimulate thought about the seemingly imperceptible inner world of our peers, portrayed with the assistance of mirrors, reflections of light and sound effects.
By crossing K. Valdemara Street, you reach an unusual foursome of objects. Another work from Estonian producers Gala Stage OÜ is a video-projection called 4D Insight, with actors participating in it. It will be on view on the façade of the Ave Sol Concert Hall and on the ground as well. This installation will reflect on people’s ability to immerse themselves in the essence of things – the connection between the phenomena around us.
At Kronvalda Park next to Kronvalda Boulevard, there is a localized sculptural light performance Leed Lights, which is an impulsive game between people and light objects. It is also a meeting of various impulses. Voice, light and physical power will be used to create the different character of this game, as the light objects swing, rotate, roll and move in different ways. The creation process of this complex object can be observed on the vaduuguns Instagram profile.
Right there in Kronvalda Park at Kergalvis Pergola, you can head on an unusual path of reflection at You, in Me – I, in You, which was created by LAC Latvian College of Culture students. On the forecourt of the Congress Hall, Colour Me Beautifully, an interactive video-projection created by Tine Bech, a Danish Doctor of Arts, will be in operation and should be a favourite with children. Five coloured tracks will lead to a striking landscape, which will catch the images of game participants. Just join into the fun of the game and the possibility of losing your way in the strikingly colourful labyrinth.
Returning to the centre part of K. Valdemara Street, it is worth heading to the canalside flowerbeds near Reimersa Street. The park there is decorated by a brilliant palm, the Seven Steps Upwards light sculpture by artist Krists Pudzens, who works in the kinetic and electronic art genre. He has created an abstract fragment of a tropical paradise with the assistance of light, colour, form and movement.
The Sea Routes or Havets veje a 15-minute long symphony of various media can be observed in the courtyard of the Art Academy of Latvia and was created by the international Tura Ya Moya Artists’ Group. The group specializes in the creation of interdisciplinary analogue installations. The shipping container, from which images are projected, has been transformed into an art and projection laboratory and has travelled 3,000 kilometres through Greenland and Scandinavia, absorbing the works of both art students and professionals. Whereas, the park façade of the Latvian National Museum of Art will be decorated with Touch Your Fears, an interactive video-projection. The basis for this project concept is in the artworks of artist Miķelis Fišers and the topics covered within them, which invite you to question what is “commonly known”. Viewers will have the opportunity to reanimate grasshoppers, lizard people, aliens, reptiles and other striking images created by the artist, as produced by multimedia artist Māris Kalve.
A multimedia performance with a water screen called Déjà vu, created by Juris Matuzelis or Pepe, DJ Monsta and several other local artists from various genres, will be on view at Bastejkalns on the canal. This is a visual game with the surface of the water in the canal, from which a 30-metre-wide and 18-metre-high water substance will rise up. Diverse technological aspects, various audio-visual show elements, animation, holograms, water effects, movement graphics, video graphics, fountain choreography, musical accompaniment, light and lasers will be used.
The Gentle Power light installation instigated by Aminata and created by Jānis Pētersons will be on show at the Opera Square. The source of inspiration for it is the radio hit of the same name by the pop singer. As we know, it is a particularly sensitive story about the realization and acceptance of the feminine within us. The light installation will be like a symbolic place for emotions and feelings to be released.
After such an experience, the right place to go will be the Sign of the Times Portal at Vermane Garden which was created by German artist Robert Seidel together with the creative Latvian group called Artistic. This will be a stylistic video and laser-projection mix implemented in the environment, created in various dimensions and will create a story-like mood, and reacts to the movements of park visitors. French artist Matthieu Tercieux’s interactive video-projection You are There… Elsewhere, is in essence a light symbol, nuance and video game for anyone wanting to participate and will be operating on the Vermane Garden stage.
Finally, one more artistic object in the festival’s basic programme will be located at the forecourt of the Latvian Puppet Theatre. The light installation with a hologram created by artist Vita Radziņa is called Eternal Dance. Its plan is to show Staro Riga Festival visitors a work which encompasses an existing work within it – the Latvian Puppet Theatre’s performance of Golden Horse which was dedicated to Latvia’s centenary – a four-dimensional vision, as this is the basic theme of this year’s festival!
Of course, this is not the only route for viewing the objects, just one of the possible options. It would also be useful to keep the parallel Staro Rīga cooperation partners’ programme in mind, which includes 12 additional light objects. And, the information centre next to the Laima Clock or the festival mobile application for your phone will definitely also be useful.
May it light up beautifully!