“Belgrade of Light” is a unique cultural event in Serbia organised by renovated artist and lighting designer Aleksandra Stratimirovic, and dedicated to the culture of lighting. Through artistic light installations, exhibitions, workshops for preschool and elementary school children, for students and professionals, seminars and other activities, festival draws the attention to the importance of light and environmentally sustainable lighting approach, nourishing and developing the culture of lighting.
Regarded as a crash course for those interested in what constitutes good lighting ‘Searching for Heroes and Villains’ is a introduction to the activities of Lighting Detectives. As in the 2008 forum we held a workshop with about 50 students in attendance from Stockholm, Belgrade, and Tokyo.
The activity was very simple. Groups of students split into teams and went out into the city at night looking for examples of good lighting, heroes, and bad lighting, villains. The groups then got together and discussed what was found and stated reasons for classifying each example as either a hero or villain.
Some of the Hero’s that we found:
And some of the villains:
The workshop, the city of Belgrade was divided into three sections “Riverside,” “Commercial Pedestrian,” and “Ministry.” The students were also divided into three mixed teams to investigate each area. After the orientation and with cameras in hand, each team trouped out into the night, returning with stacks of polaroids and digital images. The pictures were arranged on a “Hero and Villains Panel” in a scale of ±5 for a presentation and exhibition.
I was part of the Riverside Team. Although there were specific spots for viewing the city from the riverside, most of the nightscape was dominated by darkness, with high-pressure sodium lamps and orange light filtering out from residential windows sparsely lighting the streets. I thought, it would have been nice to have some kind of pleasant, inviting light for a nightly stroll.
The workshop, itself, was held over two and a half days, but panel work, preparation, and the final presentations were all finished on a tight one-day schedule. Through excellent cooperation from the international group of students, each group completed very different panels to present to a sellout crowd. This experience really opened my eyes to a different side of the city.
After the results of each team were compiled it was time for presentation and exhibition of the work. Below, you can see myself presenting some of the Hero’s our team had found.
I have completed two “Light-up guerrilla” workshops. The other one wad held in September 2009 in Belgrade. This international workshops, with focus on architectural lighting, were organized as part of the light festival “Belgrade of Light”. Mentors of the 2008 workshop were renowned lighting designers Kaoru Mende (Tokyo) and Christof Fielstette (Hamburg). Mentors of the 2009 workshop were Federico Favero (Stockholm) and Mitja Prelovsek (Sidney).
After trouping around the streets at night we returned with stacks of polaroids and digital images, which we sorted into groups of good and bad lighting examples.