Portuguese Circus of Joy and Light in “Staro Rīga 2014” Programme

Portuguese Circus of Joy and Light in “Staro Rīga 2014” Programme
Mārtiņš Otto, Riga 2014 . The façade of hotel “Astor”
One of the greatest and technically most impressive objects at the “Staro Rīga 2014” Festival of Light will be the “Circus of Light” by the Portuguese team “Ocubo”, which will entertain Rigans and the guests of the city on the façade of hotel “Astor” (Zigfrīda Annas Meierovica bulvāris 10) during all five nights of the festival.

The object has already participated in various festivals of light elsewhere in the world, but for the Riga festival, several characters associated with the city have been added – the Black Cat, the Golden Rooster on the steeple of St. Peter’s Church, and Riga Beaver. The “Circus of Light” will also have a special role for Sigulda, the partner town of Riga as the European Capital of Culture, and the residents of Sigulda.

Carole Purnelle from the company “Ocubo” explains that “Circus of Light” is a fantasy circus going to many towns. “The moon is very unhappy, and the city is very dark and very quiet, but when the circus arrives, suddenly everybody is happier and the light is going on,” Carole tells us about the performance.

The “Circus of Light” has recently visited Lisbon and Jerusalem, whereas after the Riga show it will travel to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

The fantasy circus performance is being staged in collaboration with the “Riga 2014” partner city Sigulda – several popular personalities from Sigulda will be laughing, appear to be scared, or surprised during the performance projected onto the façade of the hotel building.

“Ocubo” creates a lot of participative projects. “It means that we have people participating in our projects. We always consider that our projects are not finished when the people are not participating,” says Carole. So there will be real people from Riga and other cities participating in the project who have been filmed clapping their hands or demonstrating that they are frightened. “They are integrated in the “Circus of Light” as the fantasy audience. We are grateful to have these people in our project.” Carole is pleased at this kind of co-operation as she believes it is very important to personalise each such object by incorporating characters and personalities that the local public knows well.

This time, it is 24 residents of Sigulda – popular athletes and musicians, and other prominent personalities who play an important role in the cultural life of Sigulda.

Their families have also been taking active part in the creation of the film and photographs in Sigulda, supervised by photographer Juris Kilkuts, therefore the age of the people in the “circus audience” ranges from two to 85 years.

The representative of “Ocubo” is especially pleased at the building onto which the film will be projected – an eclectic edifice built in the 19th century and renovated in 2012. “The building – we liked it a lot because it has that red colour, very strong one, and the architecture when you do video mapping is very important. You play with the architecture, and you have to deal with its characteristics. The shape of the building was very good because it’s a bit square, so it was easier to work. The building is like a character, it really plays a big role in each of our films,” explained Carole.

“For us, the public is really important. We are doing films for them, and it’s very important for us to know if the people liked our film or not,” says Carole, adding she hopes very much that residents and guests of the city will truly enjoy the “Circus of Light”.

“Staro Rīga 2014” Executive Producer Mārcis Gulbis says that the “Circus of Light” is one of the largest objects at the festival this year, and one that has captured the overall feeling of the “Staro Rīga” festival this year.

“During the European Capital of Culture year, the festival has taken a major leap in its development, becoming a really big player among such international events.

We have been able to bring most of the world’s best-known contemporary light artists to Latvia.

The building of the “Astor” hotel will be one of the main objects of the festival this year,” added Mārcis Gulbis.

“In technical respect, “Staro Rīga 2014” is also a big step forward in the development of the festival. In order to create the “Circus of Light”, special video projectors are brought to Riga, and a video mapping consultant has been invited from Germany. There is a large international team working on organisation of the festival. This year, the festival will include only 22 objects, each of them unique in its own way, but this one will be one of the biggest.”

It needs to be added that during the “Staro Rīga 2014” festival, the restaurant at the “Astor” hotel will have a special menu as well as an outdoor buffet selling hot beverages and snacks.

As reported, the “Staro Rīga 2014” Festival of Light will continue for five evenings from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on the 14th to 18th of November. The “Staro Rīga” Festival of Light will experience a positive “force majeure” during the European Capital of Culture year, becoming a platform for international and national multimedia light and technology art projects. 2014, the festival also launches the public participation programme “Riga Carnival” for the first time that, with the motto “Light Up Your City!”, urges companies, government and municipal institutions, and residents to create colourful light installations in the windows and on facades of buildings until the 18th of November.


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