‘Don’t make me die before my time, it is sweet to behold the light‘.
On the occasion of the International Day of Light last year, the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, began her speech with the following quote.
Sadly, and given the situation that accompanies us this year, the appointment can become a hopeful plea for us to continue to contemplate the light as a symbol and necessary desire for life. We think that even in this adverse situation, it is an antidote to celebrate the light and that’s what we plan to do on this day May 16 that UNESCO has designated as International Day of Light, highlighting the enormous importance that light has in our lives.
This proclamation continues to make us happy and forces us to reflect not only on the functional and scientific aspects of light, but also on the social and artistic aspects. Light is a “strange material” so present in our lives that we do not know how to appreciate it properly, nor the use we make of it, nor the responsibility we have in handling it. It is obvious to say that sunlight conditions our lives during the day, it gives and takes energy at its pleasure, whimsically influencing our mood. On the contrary, darkness at night gives us intimacy and makes us the protagonists of a world of artificial light that we can manipulate at will, creating, just as the sun does during the day, atmospheres that provoke moods and generate different types of emotions. As an example, in the midst of the LED revolution, we continue to light candles every time we want to enjoy a memorable moment.
Already in Greece, in the middle of the night, large pieces of wood were burned and people gathered around the bonfire – aware of how hypnotic fire is in a collective and common connection. It was a celebration of light. We can affirm that our relationship with light is innate and that a common experience always arises around it. Today we have exchanged fire for technology, but the spirit remains the same. Whether in the street, in a square or in a public building, light becomes, beyond its primary function of illuminating, a language that communicates emotion, hence its importance. Manipulating light is no longer just a craft, it has become an art and as such is a vehicle that contributes to our growth as a society and as people.
For all these reasons, we do not want to let this day pass without highlighting the importance of light and reflecting on some points that concern us:
1. We need the Light, beyond the vision:
– Our biological processes depend on the levels and composition of light.
– Subjective/psychological aspects such as attention or boredom depend on lighting parameters.
– The light environment is a modifier of mood, improving or worsening it.
2. We want to reclaim the presence of Lighting Designers in the projects, as professional experts in the technical and technological part, as well as in the emotional or environmental part of light. Knowledge about the use of light is more important than the technological aspects.
3. Light is a fundamental and necessary component in any kind of show and sadly lighting design cannot be studied in Spain. We have to keep asking for this to be possible, as is the interpretation, direction, scenography through the E.S.A.D. (Superior Schools of Dramatic Art) in a short period of time.
4. We must control energy resources and seek sustainability, or in other words, obtain maximum performance with the lowest possible costs. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the use of natural light as part of any lighting project.
5. Consider the play of light and shadow, seeking balance and avoiding excessive light, avoiding unnecessary light pollution.
6. Adapt to the uses of each project respecting conditions and customs and seeking the common welfare.
7. To assume responsibilities in full independence from manufacturers and suppliers.
8. Share knowledge and innovations among professionals, analyzing projects and results with the intention of improving and correcting.
9. Incandescent light, like fire, is part of our lives and our history. We cannot condemn it and renounce it definitively, it has and must continue to occupy its place in artistic projects, and especially in the world of show business. As Iphigenia, our love for the light goes hand in hand with the desire for life and we show our gratitude to all sectors of society that are watching over us, our solidarity with all those who have seen their projects cut short because of this pandemic. Our support is already part of this manifesto.
While all this is happening let us continue to observe and enjoy, through light and shadow, the world around us.
Let us celebrate the International Day of Light.
AAI – Association of Authors of Illumination
APDI – Professional Association of Lighting Designers