Lyon Light Festival Forum 2016 — New technologies enabling new innovations for cities and light festival professionals
The Lyon Light Festival Forum 2016, which took place from 9 to 11 December 2016 during a special edition of the Fête des Lumières in Lyon this year, gathered the urban lighting community for a series of conferences highlighting recent trends in light festivals and public lighting.
The event, organised by the City of Lyon and LUCI, brought together almost 150 participants from over 20 countries consisting of a mix of lighting professionals, lighting designers, light festival organisers, light artists and city public lighting representatives. See the full programme here
Event lighting and permanent lighting – two sides of the same coin
The conference session on the link between temporary and permanent lighting, which featured speakers from both the event lighting and the permanent lighting sector, addressed the connections that are increasingly being made between permanent and event lighting, two originally distinct subjects.
Perspectives from two light artists/designers – Géraud Périole who has been making the shift towards event lighting from his permanent lighting background, and Bernard Duguay, who, conversely, specialises in temporary light art installations, working on his first permanent lighting scheme for Montreal’s Jacques Cartier bridge – revealed that the techniques and principles of both event and permanent lighting are sources of mutual inspiration, each one enriching the other.
Presentations from the cities of Lyon and Jyväskylä also reiterated that event lighting and permanent lighting are clearly interconnected and should be used in a complementary manner in cities’ lighting policies, with a coherent lighting strategy combining overall urban lighting with time specific light festivals and events.
Moreover, facilitated by the technological advances of the past few years, cities are increasingly integrating a dynamic element into their permanent architectural lighting schemes.
This enables normally “static” permanent lighting installations to reflect the temporality of the city, thereby bringing an element of surprise and poetry to the urban space and, in addition, giving public officials the opportunity to use light to send powerful messages from the city to take part in the events of the world.
Innovations in light festivals – harnessing the power of big data.
With presentations from Ghent, Prague, Lyon and Quito, the second conference session on innovations in light festivals focused on some of the ways in which festivals need to evolve to ensure future success – from addressing security concerns to harnessing the power of big data.
A key topic of discussion was that of security and social cohesion, which has become increasingly important in today’s context, and how light festivals can adapt to address this, through for example, format changes as made in the Fête des Lumières this year. In addition, the ever-increasing popularity of light festivals which sees crowds coming out in even larger numbers every year, also means that festivals need to be equipped to ensure safe and enjoyable experiences for visitors despite public infrastructural limitations.
Another major point of discussion addressed new tools used by light festival organisers, namely, data analytics. Currently used by the Signal light festival in Prague, the data analytics software developed in collaboration with IOT companies, helps festival organisers obtain information on visitors via data collected through their smartphones and public wifi networks.
While this means that festival organisers can better understand their audience and adapt the festival accordingly, it also brings into question not just individual visitor privacy rights but also the larger issue of data ownership and use – questions that cities organising light festival will have to tackle in greater detail in the near future.