Festival of Light 2014: First Night
Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 12, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!