This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for June, 2014

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014: “Garden of Dreams” and “Tower of Light”

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 26, 2014

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“Garden of Dreams” (Jaffa Gate Plaza) and “Tower of Light” (Tzahal Square) are both by Luminarie De Cagna (Italy). Interestingly, De Cagna is an Italian family-run business that was founded in 1930. In those days they illuminated buildings for festive occasions with gas and carbide lights. Since 2006 they have only used LEDs for their installations, which, they stress, greatly reduces the electricity consumption of their lavish constructions.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014: “Circus of Light”

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 26, 2014

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“Jerusalem Circus of Light” (Nuno Maya and Carole Purnelle, OCUBO, Portugal) is a clever video-mapping of the old Rothschild building in Batei Mahsei Square, Jewish Quarter. The installation starts with the familiar skyline of Jerusalem at night and turns it into a circus. I love how the architectural elements and cypress trees  are incorporated into the video. The collages of people applauding reminded me of Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python animations.

I recorded a short video (bottom of posting) with a handheld camera.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014: “Control No Control” and “Don’t Give Up on the Light”

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 26, 2014

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“Control No Control” (Daniel Iregui, Canada) is an interactive installation that reacts to touch. I found the heavy bass techno sound track a bit monotonous but the lighting effects were interesting.

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The array of hands touching the surface caught my attention, like a strange, multi-dexterous octopus playing the piano.

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“Don’t Give Up on the Light” (Shelly Bin Nun, Israel) is a clever sculpture constructed of trash, casting a shadow of Jerusalem landmarks.

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The use of cut-outs to create the illusion of three dimensions is clever. For example, the highlight on the Dome of the Rock is created by cutting a piece out of a plastic disposable plate.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014: Cosmogole and Daisy

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 19, 2014

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“Cosmogole” (Philippe Morvan, France) in the foreground, left. “Daisy” (Franck Pelletier, Studio En Attendant, France) on the right. The first photo was not easy, because “Cosmogole” and “Daisy” have cycles of dark/light, because I wanted the bright spotlights to be lit for a starburst effect, and because too long an exposure would cause the bright “Gate of Dreams” (center, back) to be completely washed out. It would have been nice to catch “Cosmogole” at a slightly brighter moment in its cycle, but that might not have been possible.

From above, on the walkway by Old City wall:

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Now the center ball is well-lit, but the bright spotlights aren’t on. In this exposure, the “Gate of Dreams” is starting to look washed out. Combining installations in the same frame always requires compromises!

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“Daisy” was fun to photograph but you had to catch it at a good time in the cycle and fiddle with the shutter speed. This shot was taken with a tripod. If you want to know the technical details, click the photo to go to the Flickr page. The aperture was f/32 because I was trying to get a starburst effect while photographing “Cosmogole” and hadn’t changed it to something more normal. OTOH, it sure compresses the depth of field! The “Palace of Dreams” is quite far behind the “Daisy.”

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The last shot was actually hand-held (.5 second exposure), which I don’t recommend unless you have really steady hands and a way to brace your camera.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014: House of Cards

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 18, 2014

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Zoom blur of “House of Cards” by OGE (architects Gaston Zahr and Meirav Eitan). If only the dome of the Hurva Synagogue hadn’t had that burnt-out light bulb on the right. Oh, well, it adds some interest. The trefoil stained glass window is not centered because the window, the dome, and the “House of Cards” are not aligned on a single axis. Like all photos, it’s a compromise.

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I met one of the architects, Gaston Zahr, six years ago at the first Jerusalem Festival of Light (2009). He had emailed me to tell me that he liked the photos I took of the solar-powered flower installation, “Night Garden,” and we all met up a couple nights later (2009). We chatted for a while and I photographed him with Baruch again. The cards are based on Jean David’s cards designed for El Al in 1970.

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Gaston pointed out that the corner cards are square. In a real house of cards, you can overlap at the corners. This is not possible with glass panels set in a steel frame, so a different solution was found. This installation took about a month to construct.

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Gaston (left) and Baruch in 2014:

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and in 2009:

Gaston Zahr, O*GE Architects

I did make a short video of the installation but Gaston’s video is much better, so I’ve embedded it below.

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#BringBackOurBoys

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 16, 2014

#BringBackOurBoys

The whole situation is heart-breaking — a parent’s worst nightmare. As parents we try to keep our kids safe, but sometimes the unthinkable happens.

I took this photo a few minutes ago in the courtyard at work (two amazing coordinators organized the photo shoot in record time; I was just the photographer with an iPad).

Ittael Fraenkel is the aunt of one of the kidnapped boys, Naftali Fraenkel. She’s also my coworker.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014: Cuckoo Clock

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 13, 2014

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I love the Cuckoo Clock (AVS Creative, Israel) on the Christian Information Center building! It’s whimsical and clever, with the gumballs rolling down the street and soldiers emerging from the doors. The walls with windows on the upper story appear to crumble or fold inwards, revealing the clock mechanism.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014: Damascus Gate Chrysalis

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 13, 2014

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The “Damascus Gate Chrysalis” was the most memorable exhibit at the Jerusalem Festival of Light 2014. If you only have time to see one installation, try to get to the Damascus Gate. The shows are continuous, with about five minutes between each presentation. If you plan to see it in person, I recommend that you not view the video at the end of this posting. My video, made with a hand-held camera, does not do it justice. Damien Fontaine used the chrysalis concept in 2012 (Les Chrysalides de Saint-Jean, Lyons Light Festival) and in 2013 (Bolchoï Chrisalis).

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Blue and Green Trail: A Couple Great Moments

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 13, 2014

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Illuminated dancers (Pyromania, Israel) perform on the grass outside the Old City Wall on the way down to Damascus Gate.

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Just one word for “Fishing for Light” (Nissan Gelbard, Israel): Numbing. Numbing trance music, numbing flashing lights.

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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

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“Connected,” by Bernardo Scolnik, Israel.

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If you’re having a deja vu moment, maybe you went to the Festival of Light in 2010 (also Bernard Scolnik):

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“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.

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“Holiday Atmosphere” at the Church of the Redeemer (Sarit Mor, Israel). At least it was only trying to be festive, without deep meaning.

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Festival of Light 2014: First Night

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 12, 2014

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The sixth Jerusalem Festival of Light opened last night. I think this year’s exhibits may be stronger than last year’s, although admittedly I’ve only seen the White and Red trails. The “Garden of Dreams” (above), by Luminarie De Cagna, was a spectacular opening installation. My husband remarked that some of the installations in this space in other years have been a bit wishy-washy. This huge castle was gorgeous once it was lit.

There were several very good video-mapping installations (more on that in another post). Batei Mahsei was transformed into a “Circus of Light” (Nuno Maya and Carole Purnelle, OCUBO), with clever animations and Terry Gilliam-like collages.

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O*GE (Gaston Zahr and Meirav Eitan) constructed an unusual house of cards, based on Jean David’s iconic deck, in the plaza by the Hurva synagogue. The installation took about a month to create, requiring very precise welding at the angles. Gaston pointed out that the corner cards are actually square. When you create a real house of cards, you can overlap them. When the cards are panels of lights, a different solution has to be found.

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The wall at the end of Armenian Patriarchate Road usually has a small video-mapping work. This year’s “Arch” (Theoriz Studio & BKYC) was beautifully coloured.

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This year, unlike the past few years, there was no paid performance in Gan Habonim. However, you could sit on lawn chairs around Philippe Morvan’s “Cosmogole,” watch the pulsating lights and enjoy the music.

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A few final thoughts: The crowd control is much better than it has been in the past. The Jewish Quarter route (White Trail) in particular has had very serious crowd issues in the past. This year a one-way system of traffic has been enforced, so that you enter from Jaffa Gate and leave by Zion Gate, which will take you to one end of the Red Trail. You can do the White and Red Trails comfortably in one evening.

Second, although the festival begins at 8:00, we found that many of the exhibits started late and were much more impressive in full darkness, so I recommend arriving no earlier than 8:30.

Third, in case you have never been before, parking is impossible and there are large traffic jams. It’s a good idea to read the info about traffic arrangements. Leave the car at one of the outlying parking lots and come to the Old City by light rail, shuttle bus, or on foot. Enjoy!

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