LIGHT IT UP!
City Zagreb, Croatia
Light art installations were the focus of the Mjestimice svjetlo/Light in Places Festival in Zagreb, Croatia. The festival is dedicated to public spaces in Zagreb Upper Town. Historically, culturally and administratively, the center of Zagreb and Croatia measures 79,82 ha of surface with a little over 2600 residents living there. A large number of administrative buildings, cultural and educational institutions and historic landmarks which attract a great number of visitors on a daily basis, has shrunk the living space for Upper Town residents and converted it into a space with limited content for everyday life. The project questions the identity of the Upper Town, its heritage, current and future growth potential, content quality in urban space, the relation between the residents and everyday users and the functionality of the neighborhood in general. Mjestimice svjetlo/Light in Places temporarily revitalizes chosen locations and accommodates artworks within a defined urban structure of the neighborhood using light-based interventions on public locations in the Upper Town.
We chose light art installations as a tool to revitalize certain neglected public spots and to accommodate artworks within a defined urban structure of a neighbourhood. By using light-based interventions on public locations we stimulated a more long-term presence of contemporary art practice in public spaces. The aim of the project was also to involve residents and users in the temporary transformation of space. Their input was the starting point for choosing festival locations and urban problems that needed to be "lit up".
With the light art installations that were presented in the format of a three day festival, we tried to make the public aware of certain disadvantages in public spaces of Zagreb's Upper Town neighbourhood. The artists, architects and designers came up with solutions how to improve the given urban framework. For a park without any urban equipment two artists designed temporary light swings. For another work, we managed to open up a run down gallery space that had been closed for years and serves only as a museum storage space. The turnout for the festival was more than we expected. We learned that people are really interested in light art installations and that it is a good tool to point out urban problems in public space and to connect citizens and artists in a joint project.
Location DIRECT APPROACH
Chose a neighbourhood that will be the "venue" for the light art interventions. Meet the locals and talk to them about current urban problems, in order to define the exact locations for the installations.
Misc OPEN CALL
One method to choose light art installations is to make a public open call directed at artists, architects, designers and other creatives. This way you can get a wide range of ideas and define the best works for certain locations.
Misc SELECT THE BEST
The selection process of the art works can either happen within the organisation team or you can "export" it to a team of experts in order to make it more objective.
Production PRODUCTION MADNESS
Since the works should be site specific, be prepared for a long production process of the installations. Get additional help in order to make thins for you and the artists easier, and keep calm!
Official / Legal GET THE SEAL OF APPROVAL
Since you are working in public space, you will need a permit of the municipality for the temporary interventions. Don't leave it for the last minute, because depending on your local circumstances it can take time to get all the papers.
Things you need PLUG'N'PLAY
It is recommended to get in contact with residents living right next to the locations and tell them about the project/s. A lot of the locations don't have a direct connection to power outlets. Residents can help you with that. It is also a good opportunity to involve them in the project.