10 installations at i Light Marina Bay 2018 that are more than just #instaworthy

The sustainable light art festival is back, and the installations are more breathtaking than ever

Photos: Jenny Tai
Photos: Jenny Tai
08 Mar 2018

Photos: Jenny Tai

A lone, sleepy mailbox sits on Marina Boulevard, and it’s waiting to be woken up. If you’re by yourself, call out “Hello” at the top of your lungs, and if you’re with friends, erupt in uproarious cheers – then watch in awe as the mailbox opens its eyes and lights up in an adorable bright smile.  

Uplifting, unexpected interactions like this, where an installation seems to reflect and “respond” to your emotions, are part of what makes i Light Marina Bay 2018 an experience that stands out from other outdoor light festivals. It’s rife with Instagrammable artworks for sure, but it offers so much more. 

This year, Asia’s leading sustainable light festival is back with 22 art installations from 14 countries, including Singapore. Held from March 9 to April 1, and organized by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), this edition spans beyond the Marina Bay Waterfront to the Esplanade Park for the first time. Keep reading to see 10 photo-op worthy installations that can light up your social media feed AND your heart – because yes, these dazzling art pieces really are that inspiring. 

With Love...
With Love...
08 Mar 2018

With Love...

Location: Clifford Pier

Boom-boom-boom. You can hear it before you even see it. Simply standing before this monumental beating heart and being bathed in its warm red glow is enough to give us heart palpitations. It takes the "pulse of the city" by sensing the surrounding light and temperature, thumping languidly as the sun gets ready to set at 7PM, then, as darkness falls, it gradually beats faster to match the rising hustle and bustle of the vibrant nightlight. 

This place is great for... 

Professing your love. For those who are tired of being friend-zoned, this could be a chance to say to the tormentor of your heart, "How can we just be friends...(measured pause, pained expression) when you make my heart throb like that?" Be warned though: If you're still rejected after this brazen act, it might be time to throw in the towel. 

Suggested Instagram caption: 

Just go for something shamelessly cheesy. It's a giant heart, for goodness' sakes. 

MailboX
MailboX
08 Mar 2018

MailboX

Location: Marina Boulevard

You know the warmth and excitement you feel when you receive something in the mail? The aforementioned interactive MailboX brings that experience to life. It's impossible not to be cheered up by the sight of this rainbow-coloured installation displaying joyful bouncing emoji every time it gets mail. Send in a tweet using the hashtag #ilightmarinabay to have your message displayed. When the letter emoji appears, be sure to yell out "Yay!" or "Whoo!" and make a lot of noise. 

"Based on the audience, if the crowd is excited about opening the letter, the MailboX gets really happy and will show a happy face," said Isabella Bain, one of creators from the six-people team from Australia. 

This place is great for... 

"Stress relief," joked co-creator Anthony Zeater. "It can be therapeutic to scream at something in the street." 

You could also use this opportunity to tweet a message to your crush and have it publicly displayed on the world's cutest mailbox.  

Suggested Instagram caption: 

The letter emoji, obviously, followed by every variation of the smiling face emoji. Alternatively, you could choose a pithy quote from You've Got Mail. 

Passage
Passage
08 Mar 2018

Passage

Location: Lower Boardwalk

Get ready to take Influencer-level selfies at Passage. Different coloured lights and sounds zip through the spiral tunnel as you walk through it (or cartwheel, as one audience member did), rendering it an OOTD hot spot. Come camera-ready and with your #InstagramBoyfriend in tow (but be mindful and don't clog up the tunnel with your 30 takes). For such a playful installation, it was surprising to discover that "passage" represents the transitional moment between life and death. 

This place is great for... 

OOTDs, selfies, and wefies. 

Suggested Instagram caption: 

There are only a handful of OOTD caption options, right? "Happy Friday." (That's the lazy day-of-the-week caption.) Then there's the vague reference to your outfit, like "Mad about textures," followed by hashtags for all the branded clothes. With this backdrop, free to go for a confessional caption to show your deep side too. 

Octopoda
Octopoda
08 Mar 2018

Octopoda

Location: In front of the Marina Bay Event Square

Sure to be a favourite amongst adults and kids alike, Octopoda features eight tentacles attached to drums that, when banged on, activate psychedelic, rhythmic bursts of colours traveling through its body, giving the impression that it is moving. Inspired by steampunk themes, Octopoda is one of the funnest and most mesmerising installations at i Light Marina Bay. 

This place is great for... 

Families, although parents attempting to get wefies will have a hard time getting their kids to look at the camera when they're busy enacting a percussion ensemble. 

Suggested Instagram caption: 

"Way too octo-pied with this fun art piece." 

Kloud
Kloud
08 Mar 2018

Kloud

Kloud is an interactive light installation featuring several geometric cloud-shaped forms that represent our ever-changing moods, bringing to light how human emotions are fluid and transient; they come and go. Tap on the different coloured clouds to momentarily turn off their lights, or alter their colours through an accompanying web app. 

This place is great for...

When you need to be reminded that humans are all mercurial creatures who are often at the mercy of our emotions -- but the good news is, loneliness and heartbreak and sadness don't last forever. Now if only we could switch off any negative feeling with a little pat like we can with these clouds. 

Suggested Instagram caption: 

"I wandered as lonely as a cloud" if you're feeling emo, or "Woo-hoo! I'm on cloud 9 tonight" if you're chipper. 

Light Breeze
Light Breeze
08 Mar 2018

Light Breeze

Location: Mist Walk

This is one of those art pieces that you can only truly appreciate if you are there in person, because it's all about movement. Imitating the gentle, swaying motion of the lalang plant, Light Breeze has an instant calming effect. Each "blade of grass" (that would be the light saber-like columns pictured) is attached to a spherical base that lulls haphazardly in slow motion -- seemingly on the edge of teetering over, before swaying to the other side. TBH, we're convinced that if you sit here and stare of this hypnotising installation for long enough, you'd likely fall into a peaceful slumber. 

This place is great for... 

Meditating and contemplating life's dilemmas and the greater order of things. 

Suggested Instagram caption: 

"You can't control everything. Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out. <3" 

Dreamscape
Dreamscape
08 Mar 2018

Dreamscape

Location: Anderson Bridge 

Enter a scene straight from a fairytale by experiencing Dreamscape, an installation with larger-than-life, glowing orchids spanning along Anderson Bridge. These ephemeral blooms bear a surprising resemblance to jellyfish, with their billowing translucent petals and trailing, tentacle-like stems. The whites and blues of this installation bestow an aquatic, otherworldly aura and mysteriousness -- making it even easier to believe, if only for a second, that you have been transported to a secret place. 

This place is great for... 

Your mum. Or any mum, really, because all mums love orchids. 

Suggested Instagram caption: 

Something sweet and heartfelt about your mother-child relationship and how this is a long overdue date with the most important woman in your life. 

Photo: i Light Marina Bay Sands

Evergreen
Evergreen
08 Mar 2018

Evergreen

Location: ArtScience Museum

When asked to introduce their installation, the three Limelight members from Hungary, dressed stoically in black, said simply, "We just got here after 24 hours of traveling. We'll start by letting you watch the installation." After viewing their piece, we can see why they chose to let the art do the talking first. The audio-visual experience was riveting and, even without words, told a cinematic story that made a lasting impression. 

With groovy electro beats playing in sync with the visuals, the first part of the installation shows a world that is completely digitalised, dominated by binary codes, robotic and pixelated forms morphing and crashing into each other, and cable patterns snaking through structures. There's an overwhelming sensation of chaos -- then, just as suddenly, everything looks peacefully blanketed in a white, thick liquid -- out of which human faces emerge. This seamlessly transitions to the second part of the piece, which depicts a world where technology, sustainability, and nature can co-exist in harmony. Plants and vines weave through codes, blooming into intricate, spellbinding flowers. At the end, lush, emerald-green foliage comes to light. 

This place is great for... 

Anytime you're stuck in a rut, worried about the likelihood that you're addicted to your phone, crushed by the perpetual love-hate relationship with social media and always being "connected," or just feeling plain burnt out by all the technology. If anything, this installation will move you. 

Suggested Instagram caption: 

"The ArtScience Museum is lit tonight! Haven't been inspired like this in a long time." 

Milk Bottle Cows
Milk Bottle Cows
08 Mar 2018

Milk Bottle Cows

Location: Esplanade Park

It's hard not to grin at the oddity and sheer delight of these lit-from-within, life-sized cows and calves grazing leisurely on the grass field. Made of more than two thousand recycled plastic milk bottles, they serve as a reminder that, with a bit of outside-the-box thinking, leading a more efficient and sustainable future is possible. 

This place is great for... 

Parents who can't bear another sweltering trip to the Singapore Zoo. It's also suitable for anyone who wants to witness some semblance of "wildlife" (in Singapore, cows may as well be considered wildlife) but there's no farm in sight. 

Suggested Instagram caption: 

"Aren't these cows udder-ly cute?" 

Or for parents: "Hey kids, it's time to go home now. We've seen enough of the cows and it's pasture bedtime." 

Photo: i Light Marina Bay 

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