Echinodermus and Pissenlit–created by TILT.
With towering trees made of light, flying acrobats, and psychedelic music, the Jerusalem Festival of Light seemed more like a big carnival for grown-ups than a forum for environmental art. Happily, many of the artists featured at the festival made sure to include sustainability and social responsibility in their designs. I found two innovative artistic installations that stood out.
The Department of Nocturnal Affairs
The first was The Department of Nocturnal Affairs, a whimsical effort to make the average citizen aware of the nighttime critters that are scampering around their streets as they sleep. We city dwellers tend to forget that we aren’t the only animals around, especially once it’s dark out.
At the Department of Nocturnal Affairs, they give you the opportunity to reflect upon a time when you encountered a nocturnal creature. A form is given to you to fill out, where you record the meeting–where did you meet this animal? What did you observe?
At the end of the form, they ask you, “If (your animal) could vote, what issues would they be concerned about?”
The form is then typed up on adorable vintage typewriters, stamped and filed away with the DNA. According to the festival website, “The DNA hopes to raise awareness about the existence, intelligence, and fragility of these animals, by encouraging people to act as witnesses to their presence and behaviors.”
The second installation, OVO, was my favorite before I even knew of its environmental relevance. From all aspects it is stunning–a gigantic egg-shaped structure formed from 24 crossed spiral pairs, resting on a shallow pool of water. The experience of walking through it is remarkable, as the spiral structure lends both a feeling of tranquility and introspection.
The best part of the installation is the effort the artists put into creating an eco-friendly piece of art. The wood used for the structure is sourced from local suppliers who work with a sustainable forest system, the lighting system uses only LED lights, which uses far less electricity than normal lights, and it produces no waste at the end of the installation–every part is recyclable.
Looking up while in the OVO structure
It was a wonderful festival, one that brought people from all walks of life together to celebrate the beauty of the night. On for the next couple of weeks, visit the Old City of Jerusalem, at night, to catch the festival of lights.