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Visualia. Festival of Light – Mapping night

Visualia is a yearly Festival, which takes place during summer in the Old City Center of Pula (Croatia). It begun in 2013, when Marko Bolković decided to create this cultural event, which was the first and only one of this genre: a festival that united light, new technologies and audiovisual arts in Croatia.

Visualia Retrospective, 2013-2016. Video byMedVid Production

This year, the event lasted 3 days and the public was proposed both permanent installation and temporary, one-time-happening light shows. These three days are the result of a co-working between the Sonitus Association and local artists "whose common goals aim at audiovisual art and works that incorporate light, sound and video".

TWISTED, Dean Skira - Skira d.o.o, Photo Credit © Carmen Frigerio

As the official description on its website says, "thanks to technology, new ideas are being born and with it the need to prove oneself in the society". As the 20th century progressed, in fact, attempts to capture temporal elements in the static arts proliferated; as music and art came together, the spaces -that had previously separated them- became an integral part of the new aesthetic.

During the last century, installation art emerged as a genre and it questioned the silent, static nature of painting and sculpture by highlighting the spaces in which the work of art was situated. This created a new, innovative and revolutionary way to look at art, since it re-positioned attention from the piece presented to its contextual relationships. This new way of experiencing art seemed to be a central point of interest of the VisualiaFestival.

Magic Garden, Nikola Miletic, Zoran Licul, Visualia Group 2017, Photo Credit © Carmen Frigerio

Installation Magic Garden 2017, Video by MedVid Production

During the second night of the Festival, the visitors were invited to follow an iter throughout the city center which was made of four stops, each of them corresponded to a Mapping video-show. The visitors had to go and search for the shows, which transformed somehow the public from simple viewer within an organism undergoing transformation. This shift completely reconfigured the role of the spectator, developing his own spectacle in his wandering throughout the City of Pula and its installations.

LIGHTING GIANTS, Dean Skira - Skira d.o.o, Photo Credit © Carmen Frigerio

But not only the viewers were the new protagonists of the work of art, i.e. the necessary element for the work of art to exist, but also the ancient, charming buildings of the city. The video-mapping presented during Visualia needed in fact the surfaces of the buildings, to be shown, since these videos, which were a mix of images and sounds, were projected on the different facades of Pula. For this reason, those videos were not a mere, conventional video projection, but a dynamic audio-visual installation which combined, interacted and completed the buildings -and vice versa. In this way, digital art burst into the city and modified it: the city was no more just the physical place, where art is exhibited, but it became art itself.

The colorful, geometrical patterns of the videos, that constantly moved and changed in new forms, transformed and revitalized the architectural heritage of the city. Looking at the videos projected on the old buildings was like looking at a harmonious “battle”(or dance) between past and present, where a flood of light and colors invaded the old stones of the buildings, in order to give them new life and allow them to express themselves in a new modern way.

The Video-Mappings made a communication between the architectural city space and the citizens possible: the city is not a permanent, static and silent material anymore, but it is transformed in a huge dynamic (and ephemeral at the same time) territory, which includes the dialogue between space and time.

It is not a coincidence if the word “video” comes from the Latin verb videre: VIDEO = “I see”. Through the video in fact, we are provided a new way of looking at images, of gaining new perspectives, because a video it is not only an object but rather a process, it is the act of looking itself. With the video, images become an event.

VISUALIA Festival 2016, Video by MedVid Production

Text and photos by Carmen Frigerio

Visualia Festival Svjetla


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