This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘Festival of Light’

Blue and Green Trail: A Couple Great Moments

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 13, 2014


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):

Light sculptures along the street

“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.


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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!

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Video: “Jerusalem in Sand”

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 25, 2013

“Jerusalem in Sand,” performed by Sheli Ben Nun, to music by Sussita (Israel). This is a short section of the story of David and Bathsheva. The two male profiles depict King David and Uriah the Hittite, with Bathsheva in the background, between them.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013: Sand Animation and Ghosts

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 24, 2013

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

Sheli Ben Nun creates sand animation on a light box in the open Cardo. Her movements are graceful and almost choreographed, with music by Sussita in the background. This particular animation depicted the story of King David and Bathsheva. I noticed  that this year’s festival had very few live performers. The sand animation was one of the most interesting performances I’ve seen at this festival. I will post a short video later.

The photo above was taken with a telephoto from the railing above the open Cardo.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

The photos below show “The Other Side,” by AVS. The trail in the Christian Quarter was transformed into a ghost town with music and videos playing at several stops. It was a challenge to photograph because the images are dark and move quite quickly.

Below, a jazz trio plays above a doorway. Every few bars they turn into skeletons and continue to play.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

A violin-playing ghost is projected onto a stone wall. Interesting textures.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

An organist plays Bach in the doorway of a building.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

Dark, shadowy figures, with a broomstick-riding witch darting across the facade of the building.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

Alley of waltzing ghosts projected onto white drapes. This was very tricky to photograph because there were so many competing light sources. It’s a pity that the chandeliers were not lit. Also a pity that they didn’t use a longer clip. Hearing only the first line of “Libiamo” from La Traviata over and over, as you walk down the long street, becomes irritating.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

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Jerusalem Festival of Light, 2012, Starts Next Week

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 30, 2012

"History of Light"

Butterfly Effect
The Jerusalem Festival of Light starts next week and runs from June 6 to 14, so mark it on your calendar. The official site provides the maps, routes, and details of performances. This will be the first year that I won’t be around to see it because we’re going on a family vacation.

Last year I wrote a posting with tips and advice. If the festival is organized like it has been in the past, you may find the tips about parking and getting around useful. Almost everything is free, except for the live performance by Pyromania (well worth the expense, in my opinion). It tends to get very crowded, so I recommend that you go early, just as it’s starting to get dark (around 8) and begin with the most crowded route (usually the one through the Jewish Quarter) first. If you try to get through the Jewish Quarter around 10, you’ll be spending a lot of time stuck in crowds.

If you want to see everything you will probably need three evenings. Someone moving very fast could see almost everything in two evenings but I don’t think it’s possible in to do everything in one evening. If you want to see the Pyromania show as well, it’s a good idea to allow two visits because by the time the performance ends there isn’t a lot of time.

Photos from previous festivals

Festival of Light, 2011
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Flickr photos, 2011

Festival of Light, 2010
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Flickr photos, 2010

Festival of Light, 2009 (first year)
Flickr photos, 2009




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