Kawaii art at Hong Kong's first ever light festival
Can you tell which installations are part of the light festival
and which are nightly fixtures in Hong Kong? ;b
Smoke, light and human movement combine to deliver a spectacle
If ever there was a place which seemed to have no need for a light festival, I would have figured that it'd be Hong Kong. This is, after all, the territory where the world's largest permanent light and sound show takes place every night of the week, and which has so much light pollution that catching sight of even a single star in the night sky can seem like a miraculous achievement.
Yet among the official events conceived in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has been the three day -- or should it be night? -- Lumieres light festival! Envisioned as a a way for people to "rediscover the city's heritage and architecture through the the medium of light", I suppose it does at least make more sense as a celebratory event than, say, the Death in Ancient Egypt special exhibition mounted at the Hong Kong Science Museum earlier in the year which also was somehow supposed to help lift up the spirits of Hong Kongers in the 20th year of Hong Kong's no longer being a British colony.
If nothing else, the mood among the not insubstantial number of folks strolling about and enjoying the light shows this evening did seem to be on the distinctly light and bright side. That's how it felt anyway as I walked around Central -- which has the most Lumieres sites in place -- and over to Sheung Wan -- which has another two -- with a group out to get a bit of exercise and enjoy the light festival along with the wonderful weather that Hong Kong has been treated to this week!
Quality wise, the installations appeared to be a mixed bag -- with a few being really eye-catching but some others being artistically underwhelming, even while I grant that they were conceptually ambitious. For example, I thought it a cool idea to attempt to visually transform a heritage building -- specifically the former French Mission Building on Government Hill -- into what'd appear to be a giant fish tank full of goldfish but the execution didn't have as much of a "wow" effect as one would have thought.
As it so happened, the route we took had us checking out what we later decided were the two best pieces in the festival first. "The Anooki Shake Up Hong Kong" consists of a whimsical cartoon show whose two Inuit characters' playful antics were projected onto a side facade of the General Post Office building in Central that's set to be demolished in the near future while "E-Motion" is an artistic expression of Hong Kong's evolution that bathes one side of Hong Kong City Hall's High Block in light that forms beautiful patterns and images.
All in all though, I must admit to thinking that more often than not, officially sanctioned public art in Hong Kong (including Antony Gormley's series of naked sculptures installed in various parts of Hong Kong a couple of years ago) seems to lack the soul and emotional impact of many of the art and related installations created by supporters of the Umbrella Movement and exhibited at the various Occupy sites in 2014. Perhaps it's because they don't have as pure an inspiration behind them?