By Alice Yoo
To see how art can marry beautifully with technology, there’s no better event to attend than a light festival. In the United States and across the globe, light festivals have been dazzling viewers with huge installations, some of which are interactive—asking visitors themselves to be an integral and intimate part of the experience.
Like these illuminating events, the 2014 Chevrolet Spark is a spunky car that packs a solid punch. Not only does it turn heads with its eye-catching design, but it’s also equipped with tech-savvy features that let you start your car remotely as well as lock and unlock it from miles away. The available in-dash navigation system also works with the BringGo* smartphone app that helps you find thousands of local points of interest and gives you live traffic data.
The Spark is just the car you’d want to take to a light festival like the one in Santa Monica called Glow, an all-night cultural experience that transforms Santa Monica Beach into a bright playground of music and luminous outdoor artworks. It was originally inspired by the Nuit Blanche events that happen in Paris, Toronto, Rome and other major cities worldwide.
So what are some of the other light festivals around the world that you must visit at least once in your lifetime?
Vivid Sydney, held annually in Sydney, Australia, features light installations and projections on a grand scale. Over the course of three weeks, the city’s buildings and landmarks, including the famous Sydney Opera House, become creative canvases for art.
Kobe Luminaire was first held in December of 1995, after the city of Kobe was struck by one of the most devastating earthquakes in Japan’s history, the Great Hanshin. The festival was meant to give hope to the people of Kobe that their city could be restored. Today, more than 3 million people come to Kobe to see it each year.
China’s light festival is projected on ice sculptures. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, located in Northeast China—near Siberia—is famous because it’s the largest ice and snow festival in the whole world. Professional sculptors descend on the city of Harbin to transform ice blocks from the nearby Songhua River into life-sized buildings, palaces, pyramids, slides and mystical figures. While they’re impressive enough, the sculptures really come alive when they’re lit up with colorful LED lights.
The Festival of Lights in Lyon, France is celebrated over four days in December. More than 4 million visitors flock to the city to see how designers have bathed Lyon’s buildings, rivers and parks in beautiful shades of light. One of France’s biggest cultural events, the Festival of Lights turns the historic city into a brilliant wonderland.
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Alice Yoo is founder and editor-in-chief of My Modern Metropolis, a place where trendspotters and art enthusiasts come to connect over creative ideas—a must-visit culture destination. Follow her on Twitter @mymodernmet or @aliceyoo.
“Kobe Luminarie 2013” photo by Kentiki (http://www.flickr.com/photos/37232711@N04/)
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