Festival sheds new light on Jerusalem

The show illustrates the contrast between the Old City of Jerusalem and the new light technology.

lights in old city 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
lights in old city 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Eye-blazing light beams, optic thread, video projectors and DVDs, and lighted images of galloping racehorses are what await visitors attending the Jerusalem Festival of Light, which began Wednesday evening in the capital’s Old City.
This will be the festival’s second year. Most of the activities at the event, which runs June 9-16, 8 p.m.-12 p.m., are free of charge and will be open to all ages.
“What’s interesting is that contrast between the Old City of Jerusalem and the new technology of the light system that is being installed there,” said Zohar Gev, one of the artists participating in the festival. “When you have this old city that is very ancient and deep with spiritual things, then the light fixtures and technology, the contrasts, are very touching.”
Set up across the Old City are six different colors indicating different paths to take: red, orange, blue, yellow, green and pink.
The red path led to the opening performance, which took place on Wednesday night at Sultan’s Pool, starring the works of light architect Gert Hof. It was accompanied by music composed by Gal Altrovich and performed by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra IBA.
Among the artists at the festival are Merav (Salush) Eitan and Gaston Zahr from Studio O.Ge., Eran Klein, Malchi Shem-Tov, Bernardo Scolnik, Gil Teichman, Alon Burger, Coby Rosenthal, and various others.
“I was a little puzzled; I thought that people were not going to come to the Old City in the middle of the night, and last year I realized the Old City was packed with people,” said Gev. “The organization was amazing.”
Gev, who has worked in New York and lives in Copenhagen, is exhibitingand selling his sculptures during the festival and will be using solarpanels to illuminate his art. One of the sculptures involves Hebrewwritings carved by lasers into steel. He also designed some of hissculptures with the use of scrap material. One sculpture incorporates aperson climbing a wall with a light bulb for a head, a piece heoriginally created for New York Fashion Week 10 years ago.
Another of the more spectacular performances involves a “History ofLight” show that will take place June 10 and June 13-16 at 8:30 p.m.and 10 p.m., and June 12 at 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. The show will includeacrobatics and dance performances enhanced by light effects, as well asfire to add a spark, and smoke.
The message of the performance is told through pictures that illustrate“the main steps in human development, from the discovery of fire untilmodern day,” according to the Light in Jerusalem Web site.
The artists, basing themselves on the work of video artist Amit Fisher,will be using the Old City walls “as a gate to the different historicalperiods.”
“I’ve been around the world in a lot of places, and I’ve never seensuch a big show. You could be there for a couple of days and never beable to see everything,” said Gev.

Tickets to the show History of Lightshow cost NIS 50. For more information go toen.lightinjerusalem.org.il/2010, or call the city’s hotline at (02)531-4600.