Let me start by stating that I am the unofficial member of the Light.func team and YelloBallerina and I go way back! I decided to become a part of Light.ication V2.0 about a week before Light ME was set to open its doors. Excited and nervous, the Light.func team and I brainstormed over lunch and came up with a solid but hectic plan of how we were going to make this year an entirely one of its kind experience.
Fast forward to the eve of Light ME, we were running around buying supplies and getting our hands dirty, setting up our booth. The students and their mentors were busy setting up next door, so what exactly were we so busy with?
The first day was seemingly quiet on the exhibition floor, while YelloBallerina ran around the halls putting out fires, by which I mean really she was assisting the Messe Frankfurt team with the conference theatre, Ready Steady Light, the Light ME Awards, and so on. That left Wanda (team Light.func) and myself to hold down the fort and explain to curious passers-by, what we were all about. Our booth was rather mysterious, with drawn curtains and a sign that read “Big Brother Booth”. To my surprise and delight, not only visitors stepped in for a peak, but also neighbouring exhibitors came to see what hid behind all the secrecy.
We had set up, wait for it…a glow in the dark booth! It was a fun space to give our visitors a break from the seriousness around us. We turned ordinary things into objects of interest such as suspended plastic jars with glowing lids, bottles of glowing tonic water and a deck of playing cards. Our aim was to draw in the crowd and educate people on the concept of Light.ication, as we showcased students’ work from 2016 with the help of time lapsed videos playing on a projector, after which we directed them to experience this year’s installations for themselves. Many of them came back to our booth to praise the students’ work. Maybe they just wanted to take a picture in front of our bubble wrap fluorescent graffiti wall, or leave a note on our glowing chalkboard!
Day 3 was the most exciting as it was all about interacting with the students. They were divided into groups and interviewed to gain a deeper understanding of what Light.ication meant to them and how the process affected them. For me, this was the highlight of Light ME as I got the chance to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with the students. For them it was a bonding experience that entailed real-world exposure to the realm of lighting that truly opened their eyes to a host of possibilities. I distinctly recall one student from the winning team who definitively stated that he had made up his mind to specialise as a lighting designer. It really was a full circle moment. Above all, it was apparent that the unique pairing of the teams and their mentors had resulted in the unforgettable work that was seen at Light.ication this year.
During the interviews I encouraged the students to let loose with invisible makeup crayons and when I turned on the UV light, their handiwork glowed in the dark! We took some videos and photos while marvelling at our clothing and how they were affected by the black light and needless to say, we had a blast! The idea was to create a space where the black light would be the only source of light, making anyone in the room the actual source of illumination.
Over the three days, the students effortlessly put on a show around the clock, interacting with the visitors. They were judged on their creative work by a panel of judges who had a combined background in lighting design, architecture, interior design, and art. The winning team was announced on Day 3 and the team were given their trophies at the Light ME awards. Team Light.func was in attendance as well and was nominated in the Restaurant/Bar Lighting Project of the Year. It was a rollercoaster of a week and we put in 200%. It was a completely new experience for me, one I will surely be a part of every year, as Light.ication grows!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!