BANGKOK — A light exhibition in the heart of Bangkok encourages visitors to interpret the illumination in their own ways.
Jaras Light Fest, currently taking place at the forecourt and the third floor of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, is not just captivating to look at. The installation is also trying to raise awareness about the use of solar power as a sustainable energy source.
Supported by Power Development Fund, Office of the Regulatory Commission, the exhibits with light are powered by solar energy.
“Red Heart” by Krit Ngamsom, for example, is a two-meter tall steel heart stuffed with flashy second-hand car lights with wings made of solar-cell panels to power the heart.
The artist himself described his work as a work inspired by the sight of cars’ tail lights at Pathumwan intersection turning the night-time street red.
He added that the heart-shaped sculpture has a connection to the intersection, which is at the heart of Bangkok.
Before reading the artist’s description, I thought of the notion of love giving flight and solar-power creating love. Love gives you wings and with it you can fly and elevate yourself into a higher being, so I thought.
Another work, entitled “The Cycle” is a four-times-four meter cube with lights emitting from geometric forms such as circles and lines. It comes with electro music alternated with the sound of chirping birds.
Here, the work by H-Lab Collective said it was designed “to present the story of the energy crisis through light, color and sound. The working mechanisms are designed to achieve the most efficient and cost-effective use of energy, as energy and resource usage is continuing to grow making it difficult to reduce the scale of the use cycle.”
Again, before having read the description, my interpretation was quite different. I thought the illuminated cubic cage would fit perfectly well at any red-light district or the backpacker party street of Khaosan Road. The cube and its accompanied music was alluring at night.
It reminds me of the Thai expression of “lured by the night light” (lhong saeng see) which described people who have corrupted by the vices of the nightlife.
Inside the BACC building, an informative exhibition about green energy can be perused. At Jaras Lab on the third floor, one reads a chronology of man’s efforts to harness heat as a source of energy. We were told that in China, 460,000 BC, the world’s earliest definite use of fire took place. By 500 BC, passive solar energy was used in Greek homes.
Fast-forward rapidly to 1981, the first large-scale solar-thermal power plant called Solar One begins operating in Daggett, California.
In Thailand, the solar cell project was introduced at Sirindhorn Dam in 2007 with a total installed capacity of 1.012 MW. By last year, 2019, the Energy Regulatory Commission calls for a continuous promotion of solar-powered rooftop among the public in the next 10 years as their goal.
Those interested in solar-powered gadgets might want to learn that quality solar-cell panel lasts 25 years. Also, putting solar-cell panels on the roof doesn’t make a house hotter.
Whether you are into arts or the environment, or both, the exhibit is worth a visit.