Above: Fully moon photographed through the “Tower of Light” in Zahal Square.
I covered the Blue and Green trails last night, despite the heavy Thursday night crowds (I move much faster when I’m alone). The best of the lot was the “Damascus Gate Chrysalis” (Damien Fontaine, France), a brilliant video-mapping installation. I’ll post other photos and a video later. If you plan to see it in person, don’t watch the video. The real thing is much more impressive. Someone asked me about security. None of the trails goes into the Muslim Quarter this year. The Damascus Gate installation is viewed from the street. There are a lot of police, ambulances, and security guards. I did these routes alone, as I have other years, and it was fine.
The “Damascus Gate Chrysalis” portrays the gate as blocks unfolding secrets, through curtains, machinery, flames, and tumbling blocks. If you see only one installation, do try to see this one.
The Broad Wall in the Jewish Quarter was transformed into “By the Rivers of Babylon” (creator: Eli Weisbart, designer: Yaron Zinman, Israel). A constantly changing projection, to the background of the psalm set to music, played over the stones of the wall, interweaving waves, fish, faces?, and other mysterious images. Unfortunately, this site is nearly inaccessible. The wall is below street level, surrounded by a high fence. The crowd was about 4-deep and children had to be lifted up to view it. I was able to photograph and video it only by holding my camera above my head and pointing it through the bars. If you go on a less crowded night you may have more luck.
The following exhibits I found only moderately interesting.
The “Fountain of Mythology” (Mystorin Theatre Group, Israel) was situated in the Muristan Square. If countertenors dressed like over-sized 17th century butterflies are your thing, this might interest you. I made a short video of the performance with an iPad, so you can decide for yourself.
Illuminated dancers (Pyromania, Israel) perform on the grass outside the Old City Wall on the way down to Damascus Gate.
Just one word for “Fishing for Light” (Nissan Gelbard, Israel): Numbing. Numbing trance music, numbing flashing lights.
In the home decor category: “Cloud” (Catlindr.c.Brown [sic] and Wayne Garrett, Canada). People seemed to like pulling on the strings to turn the lights on and off, but it didn’t appeal to me. Blue Trail
“Connected,” by Bernardo Scolnik, Israel.
If you’re having a deja vu moment, maybe you went to the Festival of Light in 2010 (also Bernard Scolnik):
“Thread of Light” (Ina Turbievsky, Israel): “The unique and complex ‘knitting’ technique employed by the designer weighs the deep meaning of each and every detail.” Nice lampshades.
“Holiday Atmosphere” at the Church of the Redeemer (Sarit Mor, Israel). At least it was only trying to be festive, without deep meaning.