Lampyris Noctiluca and Light Halo Light Art Festival Installations

Ljubljana, Slovenia is an up and coming center of European culture that is already replete with exhibitions and happenings. One unique event it hosts is the Lighting Guerrilla festival. Here, public art enthusiasts can gather to see a variety of pieces that use light as an artistic medium. By nature, light is expansive and can feel limited by the walls of a gallery, thus the festival sites comprised of parks and streets make for memorable settings. While many installations at the 2016 light art festival were unforgettable, perhaps none were as truly enchanting as Lampyris Noctiluca by Tamar Frank.

Light Art Festival Installations Tamar Frank Lampyris
The picturesque setting of Frank’s light art festival installation is embellished by firefly-like LEDs.

Resembling a scene from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this art piece creates a mystical, or mythical world. Tamar Frank was inspired by nature to invent this magic realm that lies not so far beyond our own reality. The viewer may be surprised when the LED lights that look like fireflies actually acknowledge their presence. Sensors register the movement of spectators, making these fireflies move in a circular pattern or fly away. The extraordinary effect is that the little creatures appear to be living entities. If the viewer respects them and backs away, they return to their lightly pulsing resting state.

“Lampyris Noctiluca enhances the sensation that we seek in nature and green areas. A fleeting moment that allows us to lose ourselves. A temporary escape from the city, and the hustle and bustle”

The interactive aspect of Frank’s light art festival installation draws people towards the piece. It also makes this immersive fantasy world more believable, commenting on the border between urban and natural, controlled and wild.   

Light Halo Light Art Festival Installation Tamar Frank
Light Halo refers to an invisible spiritual world that light itself can symbolize, as it is both tangible and intangible in some way.

In another piece for the festival, Light Halo, Tamar Frank once again speaks to the borders between belief and disbelief, existence and imagination. The halo is a symbol strongly associated with the spiritual world; they hover above angels and saints in countless classical paintings and icons. It is also a shape that Frank has used before in her work. The reference is subtle, after all the installation is quite simple in form, but those who walk by the occupied benches of the park and see halos above the heads of city strangers will curiously begin to search for meaning in the scene. There is a poetic beauty when art in public places is open to interpretation.

“With projects in the public space where the work is integrated in the environment and architecture I have a much larger audience of unsuspecting passersby. Here a new realm is reached outside the walls of museums and galleries creating a more open and direct response from the spectators. At first sight it might not always be clear to define when a work is art, space, function and/or design. This ambiguity interests me.”

Light Halo Closeup Tamar Frank Light Art Installation
A closeup of Light Halo shows the glowing, beckoning quality of the light itself. The ability to open up a dialogue with the viewer is impressive from such a minimal form.

Frank’s light art festival installations excite, enamor, and inspire. They use light technology to add beauty to public spaces and entice the local people to explore her artworks.

“I see a lot of development and innovation concerning light and light design and I think this is very positive because this way light can also play a more prominent role to become a focus and interest for the public.”

The artist sees advanced technologies like those used in Lampyris Noctiluca as a way to highlight why light is the perfect medium for public art. This is because it is omnipresent, yet largely unnoticed. It is familiar, yet completely mystifying. Employing these qualities, a great artist like Tamar Frank can present never-before-seen creations that instill a lasting sense of intrigue in the viewer.