Light Collective: Guerrillas On Ice

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Light Collective ended 2013 with a series of events in Finland and Estonia which necessitated us purchasing full on snow wear after arriving horribly unprepared. We arrived in Oulu, a lovely place in the North of Finland, ready for the unveiling of a new light-art installation by local legend Tapio Rosenius of Lighting Design Collective (where did he get that name?). After witnessing the continually changing light installation and freezing to the point of tears, we stocked up on new clothes in order to run two Guerrilla Lighting events in Oulu centre and Oulunsalo.

04 The Underpass - after

Our main purpose for being in Oulu, was to co-opt the locals in a guerrilla lighting mission. We ‘guerrilla’d’ the Ainola Museum and a university building, an underpass, a traditional red barn and an island. The next night we moved on to the nearby Oulunsalo, where the local church, museum, school and forest – all community gathering points were chosen.

At each event, a group of approximately fifty people participated and after a briefing, took to the snowy streets and under our instruction, took position and helped to illuminate each site. The participants ranged from small children to their Grandmothers pulling sledges with torches and glow sticks on. In each location, a before and after image was taken and an audience followed the progress. After all the sites had been illuminated, the group returned to base and the images of their collective participation was shown.

06 The Museum - after

The images were captured by local photographer Saida Inkeri Jäntti and have all been posted on the Guerrilla Lighting Facebook page.

After a midnight dinner of reindeer and the creation of some red wine fuelled snow angels, we jumped on a ferry and headed over the Gulf of Finland to Tallinn. Despite holding an exterior Light Festival for many years, Tallinn has decided to branch out this year and expanded their event into a Light Biennale. This incorporated exterior lighting installations, interior installations, workshops and a conference – all housed within the old city walls with a mixture of local and international participants.

The Biennale created an opportunity for a PLDA workshop with professional PLDA members heading up teams of students in a variety of locations. Berry van Egten led a team that looked at re-lighting St Nicholas Church, Stefan Horn ran a workshop on Media Facades, Allan Ruberg on illuminating the City walls and Sabine De Schutter on modern Christmas lighting.

Other installations included Sea of Light by Portugal based Ocubo, a projection based piece composed of hundreds of drawings by children in Portugal, Estonia, Latvia and Slovenia. An old cinema housed an exhibition of work from new and established Estonia light artists and several light sculptures from UK based Paul Friedlander.

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Some installations incorporated live performances – notably Sparks of Prometheus by Slovenia artist Marko A. Kovacic and Visual Piano by Kurt Laurentz.

Light Collective were able to bring a scaled down version of One Beam of Light to the event. With locally printed images situated on the cinema balcony, the exhibition made its first trip outside of the UK.

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We also held a workshop around the One Beam of Light exhibition. This took place in a derelict basement. It was a unique experience which saw us running power through the building and creating a projection screen from crumpled white paper. The whole event was in the spirit of Guerrilla Lighting and bemused and slightly lost looking participants miraculously found their way to us.

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We talked about the inspiration for the exhibition and about manipulating light in general. Our participants then got to spend time in the derelict spaces creating their own beam images using whatever they could find and a selection of additional items like a smoke machine and mirror ball.

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