LifestylePersona December, 22nd 2013 by

How Spirit Talks Via "Light Artists"Hand and Heart by Mery Crystal Ra

Mery Crystal Ra

How can professional lighting artists handy work  be helpful for  cities to create their unique impressions?

To answer this question the European Competition “Light in The City”  selected 14 artists to demonstrate what could be done  to move lighting forward as an aesthetic art form in the city scape.

I was happy and fortunate to be  amongst  14 European  artists presenting  their work at the European light event “Light in the City”,  Hasselt, Belgium from 17th-19th  October 2013. This was the first in a two  year series, and forms part of an European Union project “Light in the City”. At these gatherings European lighting artists will have the opportunity to exhibit their works and engage with others working internationally in the field.

I was inspired and moved by this creative event.

“We think of creative people in a heroic manner, and we celebrate them, but the thing we celebrate is the after-effect,” says Barry Staw, a researcher at the University of California–Berkeley business school who specialises in creativity.

The process of professional artists making their permanent statements via light is new and intriguing approach. Getting light to do more than illumination is both thrilling and challenging.

The main aim of the “Light in The City” is also to promote energy efficiency. This was one of the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programmes most important goals in 2012. The project will encourage the construction of a quality urban environment, where lighting in times of darkness is not only energy efficient but also pleasant, while contributing to a feeling of safety. A further aim of the project is to boost people’s knowledge and debate over the European Union’s environmental legislation concerning lighting. A particular subject of examination is the ‘EcoDesign Directive’, which obliges municipalities to conduct an extensive overhaul of lighting over the next few years.

The weekend lighting event attracted more than 150 participants from 12 different countries. Those present included officials, municipal engineers, lighting designers, architects, politicians, lighting artists and ordinary citizens from European cities.

Lighting branch networks were also well represented at the seminar: participants included delegates from Eurotowns, LUCI, PLDA, as well as the twin towns of the host city, Hasselt.

Besides the above-mentioned networks, the event’s partners were the Swedish Public Employment Service, Culture and Media, the Nordic Culture Fund, C2 SmartLight, Infrax, Philips, Sacred Places, Schréder and Tehomet Valmont.

“Light in The City”  event was very fresh and happy event for the artists. There were three days of presentations from city planners, light designers, light professionals and lighting artists. At the same time there were some surreal night events and  happenings and installations by artists in the city environment.

Jyväskylä’s City of Light project team: Deputy City Engineer Kari Ström and City of Light Coordinators Elli Räsänen, Annukka Larsen and Jani Ruotsalainen together with EURES Adviser Wanna Spiridonidou and Employment Officer Eric Bevin from the Swedish Public Employment Service Culture Media Sweden have made a fantastic job for organizing this innovative event.

As lighting artists we need to think and work through at least four issues.

How can we create a better, more creative and unexpectedly delightful and funny urban environment?

How can street signs and signals through the work of  professional light artists enable  people to feel more at ease  and consequently happier in their urban spaces?

Meeli Koiva

Meeli Koiva

How can we lift ourselves from the mundane and usual and sense what artist call “the spirit of the space”  and let it speak to us through the lighting artist’s hand and heart ?

Can we blend the constraints of lighting engineering and marry it to the thrill and excitement of an art form?

If European Union politics new statements are about “dreaming more about spirit…”

Our  over-organized urban environment is very likely destroying our spirit at the beginning of 21st century.

These questions could be answered  through the continued expansion of light art. It is possible to make the artist consider approaches which take the art form away from just twilight and darkness  to being effective and fascinating even in daylight. The technology can be married to the artist’s skills and creativity to produce some amazing results.

Through the professional lighting artist’s skills and their permanent statements there many possibilities available to create environments  which embody feelings of safety tranquilly delight and joy. Some would call these spiritual connections with the urban environment. Just as sculpture has moved beyond the material of the past lighting as an art form is moving beyond

It is the mission of the artists to find new and powerful rhythms in the dominating architectural forms our cities and urban landscapes. These new rhythms could be bright rays of light in the darkness.

And the Light will speak to us again.


Meeli Koiva aka Mery Crystal Ra website and Saatchi online:…
Meeli Koiva twitter:!/meelikoiva

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