“Staro Rīga 2014” – Watch, Enjoy, Leave Feedback!

“Staro Rīga 2014” – Watch, Enjoy, Leave Feedback!
Mārtiņš Otto, Riga 2014 . Diāna Čivle and Juris Gulbis during the “Staro Rīga 2014” press conference
The “Staro Rīga 2014” Festival of Light will commence already on Friday, the 14th of November. This is the seventh time the festival is organised in Riga, but this year the festival will be especially spectacular to emphasise Riga’s title of the European Capital of Culture and the 96th anniversary of the Republic of Latvia, the curator of the “Staro Rīga 2014” festival Diāna Čivle and the festival’s Executive Producer Mārcis Gulbis said during a press conference in Riga Dom on Monday.

The Head of the “Riga 2014” foundation and curator of the festival, Diāna Čivle reminded that the festival this year would be the largest festival of light in Northern Europe, and that the festival would have an international slant to underline that Riga is the European Capital of Culture in 2014. “I’d also like to remind that this year every person is invited to get involved in the public participation campaign “Riga Carnival” by decorating building facades or windows and registering their light objects at the website of the festival. Every participant in the campaign will be issued a special transparent sticker to be put up in the building’s display window. We want the entire City of Riga to participate in our carnival.” Furthermore, previously it was Latvian artists who accounted for the majority of festival participants, but this year there will be a lot of foreign artists bringing their installations to Riga, added Diāna Čivle.

“The festival “Staro Rīga 2014” is one of the events which indicate that the European Capital of Culture year is coming to a close,” noted Diāna Čivle. “But it also symbolises continuation, as culture never ends, it simply is.” It also needs to be added that visualisations of works by the contemporary art icon ORLAN will be set up in several locations in the city.

“Lattelecom” is again the main partner of the festival of light this year, the company has also supported all the events included in the “Riga Carnival” thematic line of the “Riga 2014” Programme. “I believe that the “Staro Rīga” Festival of Light is a wonderful event, and I personally like it very much. We have been supporting the festival for several years now, not only to help new technologies enter every home, but also to link up cultural heritage with the modern-day Riga,” said “Lattelecom” Chairman of the Board Juris Gulbis. During this year’s festival, “Lattelecom” will support two objects: 3D animation “The Story of the Latvian Coat of Arms” that will be projected on the façade of the Cabinet of Ministers building, and the company’s own object at the festival – a special WiFi hotspot in the square next to the Cabinet of Ministers, where any person will be able to use the latest technologies to upload or download pictures taken at the festival.

Juris Gulbis also reminded that, as usual, the website of the 1188 director assistance would offer a map showing all the light objects participating in the festival, also accessible via smartphones. “We urge all people to use the technological opportunities we offer, and enjoy the festival!

Of course, this major event may also be viewed as an introductory event ahead of 2015 – when Latvia will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and a large number of various events will be taking place in Riga – to show our city in the best light possible, and 2018 when Latvia will be celebrating its 100th birthday.”

On the other hand, Mārcis Gulbis, the Executive Producer of “Staro Rīga 2014”, said that the festival was not just taking an important step forward in its development, but rather a long leap to become a notable player among the other European festivals of light: “Other festivals have been inquiring about us, and many guests will come to Riga this year to see the “Staro Rīga 2014” events.”

One or two foreign artists usually participated in the festival before, but this time there will be many more foreign artists represented at the festival, stressed Mārcis Gulbis. “To make it easier for the public to understand what’s going on, we have divided the programme in two parts: there’s the public participation campaign in which any resident may participate by decorating the façade or windows of their homes; these objects will be marked with numbers on the festival’s map (printed in the festival’s official newsletter that is available from information centres). Artists’ works, on the other hand, will be marked with letters from A to Z. The first object, A, is a mobile light project, a luminous parade called “The Secret Life of Light” – a multimedia light performance that will be moving about the Old Town every day from 7 p.m.” In Mārcis’ opinion, the light performance created by Latvian artists is good enough to be also staged elsewhere in the world.


“The festival’s newsletter includes a description of every exhibit, but I’d like to add that there are projects created specifically for Latvia – for instance, Canadian artists’ “United Fish” that will be displayed on the façade of the Congress Centre and has been inspired by our singing revolution that led to the restoration of our independence. I believe it might be very interesting for us to see what people across the ocean think about Riga and the processes that take place here.” In addition, there are major works that have been to the largest festivals of light in the world and were now been adapted for Riga, showing along the way how the artists who created these works see Riga. “One such object will be the “Circus of Light” – an impressive video projection that has been to Jerusalem, the Netherlands and France, and has now arrived in Riga.

The “Circus of Light” will feature such characters as Riga’s Black Cat, Rooster from the steeple of St. Peter’s Church, and Riga Beaver.”

The festival’s executive director also recommends the public to see the Lithuanian project “GLUK MEDIA” take on Imants Ziedonis’ “Coloured Tales” at the Dome Square, which will be a completely new interpretation of the tales. “The public always likes interactive projects in which people can participate. The object “Mi-Mi”, created by local artists “I DID IT” in Jāņasēta, will be one such project, where a mime will be playing with people crossing his path. The object “Pacmanize Me”, set up by French artists at Smilšu iela 3, is also an interactive projection based on the legendary computer game “Pacman”.” Several objects that have already been displayed in Riga in the past will return for the festival this year, including German artists’ project that involves large film screens located in two different locations in Riga, bringing the viewers into a new film reality and at the same time enabling them to “virtually” meet people in the other location. The project was first presented to the Riga public at the “Esplanade 2014” culture chalet, linking up Riga and Berlin, Mārcis Gulbis reminded. All in all, the organisers of the festival have done an excellent job, he concluded.

“Go see the objects, capture them on film, and provide your feedback! This because many of the artists who have arrived in Riga say that it is important for them to see that the public appreciate their work,” said the festival’s executive producer.


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