A Guide to “Staro Rīga 2014”

A Guide to “Staro Rīga 2014”
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Already this weekend, from the 14th through 18th of November, Riga will become a much brighter city – not only because of a fireworks display and candles lit on the Independence Day of Latvia, but also because of the “Staro Rīga 2014” Festival of Light that this year is part of the “Riga 2014” Programme and one of the most prominent events in the European Capital of Culture.

This year, “Staro Rīga” is striving to join the company of the most prominent international light festivals. The largest number of foreign artists in the festival’s history have come to Riga this year, and the festival is taking a major step forward in terms of technology, showcasing works of light art of the highest quality in the urban environment.

These include a total of 22 objects in the Centre of Riga, created by artists from France, Canada, Great Britain, Portugal, Norway, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. In addition, this year the festival includes the colourful public participation campaign “Riga Carnival”. For more information about the festival, visit www.staroriga.lv.

A map of the “Staro Rīga 2014” exhibits is available here.

During the festival, there will be four “Staro Rīga 2014” information centres: in the amusement park “Egle” (Kaļķu iela 1a), Railway Station Square (intersection of Marijas and Satekles Streets), near the Laima Clock, and at the Powder Tower (Smilšu iela 20). The information centres will be open from 12 noon to 11 p.m.

A – Luminous Parade “The Secret Life of Light”
A light procession through the Old Town. Parade route: Rātslaukums, Kaļķu iela, Vaļņu iela, Smilšu iela, Doma laukums, Herdera laukums, Palasta iela

Parade starts: 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th of November at 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m. from Rātslaukums
On the 18th of November – at 9:15 p.m. from 11. novembra krastmala

As the day darkens, the city comes to life – blossoming into an array of bright lights. But what happens to the city lights when everyone has gone to bed and night sets in? What does the Light Family do in the dark hours of the night? Only from the 14th to 18th of November, light will come out to play in the Old Town, holding a real party and revealing its secret life. Light marshals, daughter Spuldzīte, Light imps, Spuldzīte’s mother, Father Light and many other members of the family invite us to their unusual urban procession through Riga’s Old Town. Project concept/execution: “Atklāj Rīgu” (Latvia).

B – “United Fish”
Riga Congress Centre façade, Kronvalda Park

Plinks is a playful little fish who spends his days keeping an eye on the deep waters, waiting for the next bright star to fall into the depths. Plinks and his brothers use the stars to make unusual musical instruments with which to fill the underwater world with catchy melodies. One day, they suddenly face danger – evil stingrays attack the village where Plinks lives. Can our little fish unite all his brothers in song to fight for their rightful place in the deep? Project concept/execution: “Lucion Media” (Canada).

C – “Kaleidoscope”
Bastejkalns trees, on the Raiņa bulvāris side

Describing his concept, Rihards Šešo says “There are four things you can watch forever: fire, running water, other people working and kaleidoscopes”. A projection on to the building facades concealed in the Bastejkalns (Bastion Hill) park’s trees reveals ever-changing kaleidoscope patterns. Fire, water, dancing people, flowers, umbrellas, ribbons, fabrics, dresses, joy, happiness and positive feelings merge into a single video image with musical accompaniment. Projection duration 8 minutes.

D – “Video Culture”
Art Academy of Latvia, Kalpaka bulvāris 13

A video recording, created by artist Sam Meech through experimenting with “organic video response reactions”, depicts three independent colour systems, mutually evolving, developing and fighting for their territory. These laser-based systems have taken on lives of their own. A specially created surface, modelled on the facade of the Art Academy of Latvia, is slowly permeated with them, so that they can be projected onto the actual building.

E – “Loopy Lou”

“Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play”. This Heraclitus dictum is what inspired Remi Brun to create “Loopy Lou” – an unusual light sculpture whose movements enable us to see a carefree, skipping child. “Loopy Lou” sees Remi Brun return to Latvia – her light installation “Galloping Horse” received the “Staro Rīga” audience award in 2010.

F – “Carousel of Light”
Vērmanes Park

The symbolic meaning of carnival is characterised by the nature of a carousel – striving for change, relentless movement and, at the same time, having fun, joy, a propensity for the unexpected and surprising. Visible from a considerable distance, the light installation in Vērmanes Park calls on us to submerge ourselves in fun, hope, illusion, and when we disembark from this maelstrom of light and sound, everything around us will seem to have changed for the better. Throughout the event, visitors to this intangible light carousel will be able to perpetuate themselves and the installation in long-exposure photographs. Project concept/execution: “Kompānija NA” (Latvia).

G – “Aquarium Car”
Audēju iela 16

How many surprises are concealed in simple and mundane things! Sometimes we cannot even imagine how full the world is full of surprises. We continuously find new uses and applications for various items. And that is precisely the story of the “Aquarium Car” – a video installation featuring huge coloured fish. Project concept/execution: “Les Machines Images” (France).

H – “Cosmogole”
Latvian National Opera Square, Aspazijas bulvāris 3


The “Cosmogole” light installation enables us to view an orchestra of vivid light instruments in the square by the opera house, with more than a hundred light objects combining in a fabulous symphony of light and sound. The specially commissioned music and light score creates a mood that can only be felt by being there. This light installation has already been demonstrated in many parts of the world, including the Lyons, Jerusalem, Leipzig, Amiens and Helsinki light festivals. Project concept/execution: Philippe Morvan (France).

I – “Screen Test – 1”
Square outside the “Kaļķu vārti” restaurant, Kaļķu iela 11

“Screen Test” is an interactive installation inspired by various genres in and the history of cinema. Two identical screens, in two different Riga locations, each invite us to enter a new, surprising and intriguing film environment. Participants in the two locations meet on screen and, depending on the actions of the remote players, each scene can unfold differently, just like in films. “Screen Test” first appeared in Riga at the “Esplanade 2014” summer cultural chalet. Project concept/execution: Paul Sermon and Charlotte Gould (United Kingdom).

J – “Circus of Light”
“Astor Riga Hotel & Conference” building, Zigfrīda Annas Meierovica bulvāris 10

A circus troupe arrives on the moonlit, night-time roofs of urban Riga. The troupe invites us into its colourful and surprise-filled circus arena where, accompanied by an orchestra, tonight’s master of ceremonies – Riga’s rooftop black cat – greets the audience. The “Circus of Light” features jugglers and acrobats, Riga Canal’s beaver and golden cockerel, cats on trapezes and even a magician. The video projection, executed by Portuguese artists, also features viewers from official “Riga 2014” partner Sigulda. Project concept/execution: “Ocubo” (Portugal). Read more about the project here.

K – “Pacmanize Me”
Building façade at Smilšu iela 3


“Pacmanize Me” is an interactive video projection based on the legendary “Pacman” computer game. The interactive game is open to players large and small, both in teams of two and as individuals. Special technology tracks the players’ hand movements, enabling the “Pacman” avatar to be moved over the building facade. Test your dexterity and remember that this game has only one rule – it must be enjoyed! The interactive “Pacmanize Me” installation first appeared at the Lyons light festival. Project concept/execution: “Theoriz” (France).

L – “Reader”
“Arsenāls” exhibition hall, Torņa iela 1

“Reader” is a performance featuring 100 travellers – readers of books. What happens when readers go on a journey through the world of books? They are overtaken by a mixture of feelings and associations related to the events described in the text, their own feelings and experiences. Viewers will be able to see the reader/traveller’s thoughts, observing the power of mind over matter. Four performances, each 10 minutes long, will be staged every hour. The video performances utilise a brain-frequency scanner. Project concept/execution: “Connection Codes” (Latvia).

M – “My Latvia”
11. novembra krastmala

Creation of a joint large-scale object of light

Project concept/execution: “Riga 2014” foundation.

N – “Journey into a World of Colourful Fairy Tales”
Doma laukums

Join an unusual journey through different worlds inspired by the children’s book “Krāsainās pasakas” (“Colourful Fairytales”) by Imants Ziedonis. The festival’s largest projection in Doma laukums square sees images from the well-known stories come to life in a gigantic 3D projection. Vivid spectacular scenes will delight both children and adults, giving a completely new visual reading in the ambience of the colourful tales. Project concept/execution: “Gluk Media” (Lithuania).

O – “Screen Test – 2”
Amusement park “Egle”, Kaļķu iela 1A

“Screen Test” is an interactive installation inspired by various genres in and the history of cinema. Two identical screens, in two different Riga locations, each invite us to enter a new, surprising and intriguing film environment. Participants in the two locations meet on screen and, depending on the actions of the remote players, each scene can unfold differently, just like in films. “Screen Test” first appeared in Riga at the “Esplanade 2014” summer cultural chalet. Project concept/execution: Paul Sermon and Charlotte Gould (United Kingdom) and “Ideju institūts” (Latvia).

P – “Grain of Nordic Salt”
Façade of St. Peter’s Church, Skārņu iela 19

The video projection “Grain of Salt” uses the grain of salt as a metaphor in a poetic form. This installation seeks inspiration in all forms of expression – image (visual arts), sound (music), movement (dance) and word (poetry) by combining them in a single art piece on the facade of St. Peter’s Church. In addition to the specially designed visual elements, the “Grain of Salt” projections also utilize contemporary dance elements performed by Simone Grøtte and Marianne Haugli and the poetry of Norway’s renowned poet Olav H. Hague. At the same time, the installation pays homage to the Nordic spirit, using music by Norwegian contemporary composers Arve Henriksen and Jan Bang. Project execution: Anastasia Isachsen (Norway).

R – “ORLAN City”
Facade of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Skārņu iela 10/20 and 11


The multimedia sound and light installation “ORLAN City” is dedicated to the exhibition “Le plan du film and Other Scenarios” at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design (until the 25th of January, 2015). The installation consists of a dialogue between two large-scale video projections, accompanied by lighting effects. The conversation is between ORLAN’s video work “Bien que.. oui mais…” and a work from the artist’s latest exhibition “ORLAN and CINEMA”, specially created for Riga, which takes on a moving form in the light installation. Project concept/execution: Society for Attractive Urban Environment (Latvia), Latvian National Museum of Art, Museum of Decorative Arts and Design Museum in collaboration with the French Institute in Latvia.

S – “Diamond. Dream Flight”
Līvu laukums, performances start at 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

With the support of “Ondo.lv”, Britain’s aerial show troupe “The Dream Engine” returns to Riga. Imagine – a fabulously coloured, glittering diamond more than ten metres in height, rises over the rooftops of Riga’s Old Town. There seem to be people dancing in its unreal light… Is it a mirage!? A dream flight!? “The Dream Engine” and “Concept event” (Latvia) co-operate to create the light, music and acrobatics show “Diamond. Dream Flight” making viewers in Līvu laukums square believe in man’s ability to create and implement fantastic ideas, to believe in your dream coming true.

T – “Mi – Mi”
Jāņa sēta

During the Light Festival, a real, live, playful and frisky mime artist will make his home in Jāņa sēta. MiMi loves to play with people crossing his path. MiMi sees and feels everything – try and talk to him and who knows – our mime artist may be transformed into a wild and musical light show – joyful and jaunty. MiMi’s maxim is “We will entertain you – we will make fun of you”. Project execution: “I did it” (Latvia).

U – “Face Fragments”
Square by Vecpilsētas iela

The installation by Lithuanian artist Donatas Norušis – “Face Fragments” – represents people who, not using their voice, express their views on things and events in life. The faces of people of different ages, races and cultures are projected onto a large-scale outdoor object. The strange depiction of an indistinct image on a television screen appears in participants’ eyes. The Face Fragments installation is constructed from 178 pieces of cardboard. Project concept/execution: Donatas Norušis (Lithuania).

V – “A Moment with Riga’s Seasons”
Alberta laukums

Remember the 2011 project “A Moment with Fountains in Vērmanes Park?” The project’s creative group returns to “Staro Rīga 2014” with a story about the four seasons. This time, jets of water, the interplay of lights and music will transform Alberta laukums square – emerging from the harsh winter, nature wakes up in spring, enabling Riga to flourish in the summer and concluding the water and light performance with the majestic feel of autumn. Project concept/execution: “Artistic” and “Untitled Pasākums”.

Z – “Lumarca”
Intersection of Kr. Barona iela and Aspazijas bulvāris

“Lumarca” is an unusual video installation created by Estonian designers Eva Tallo, Priit Tiimus and Toivo Pärnpuu. Using 5 kilometres of thread, the installation enables us to see 3D images and motion in an unprecedented way. With the help of projection, thousands of whorls of thread experience transformations into dazzling light rays. Various three-dimensional objects appear on these rays one after the other, seeming to hang in the air. Installation concept by artists and designers Albert Hwang and Matt Parker. Project concept/execution: “Light Club” (Estonia).


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