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Renowned Swiss light artist Gerry Hofstetter is set to enthral India with his spectacular light art projections. The event, ‘In the Light’, will be held at the Embassy of Switzerland, New Delhi, on October 28 and 29.
Hofstetter, who transforms buildings, monuments and natural landscapes worldwide into temporary works of art, will create customised motifs on the façade of the embassy building and garden. The event, with light projections complemented by dance performances, will offer viewers a rare immersive aesthetic experience and mark the finale of the ‘Swiss it!’ initiative.
“In 2019, the Swiss network in India and Bhutan, together with Swiss and Indian sponsors, launched the ‘Swiss it!’ public diplomacy initiative. Under the aegis of this three-year initiative, we organised 35 events in 30 cities across India to share experiences about Switzerland’s innovation for a sustainable future,” said Ambassador of Switzerland to India and Bhutan, Dr Ralf Heckner, while speaking to Outlook Traveller.
We reached out to Gerry Hofstetter to learn more about his art, inspiration, plans in India and more.
When and how did your passion for light art start? What were your thoughts about it at that time?
Painting and creating things have always followed me in my career. When I was 32 years old, I decided to start my own company and communicate through art, design, events, and films. With my light art development, I connected my passion for travelling and playing with light and colours. This led to my light art expeditions, which I am using to alert the world about climate change.
You have often highlighted important global issues (mainly environmental) through your light art. Why did you feel the need for it?
By projecting pictures and messages onto places where the climate changes are dramatic, I seek to make people think seriously about it on one hand. On the other hand, I want them to see this beautiful picture and realise how beautiful our planet is and how important it is for our survival.
Hofstetter's projection of the flags of nations heavily affected by COVID-19. Credit: Gerry Hofstetter
What are your plans in India? What will be the theme of the light projection in the Swiss Embassy?
I want to discover this land of spirit, colours and light. This fascinating country offers so many variations of life and nature. I want to make some light art projections onto your incredible monuments and landscapes. The event at the Swiss Embassy in New Delhi will be my first presence in India.
I look forward to bringing light and colours to this evening. The theme will be about getting India and Switzerland together through light, colours, music, food and dance by integrating elements from both countries into one night of culture and mutual friendship.
You have travelled all across the world. What are some of your best experiences?
I lived for five weeks below Matterhorn Mountain in Zermatt, where I projected the flags of nations heavily affected by COVID-19. This also included the Indian flag, which was 1.6 km high and 800 meters wide.
Also, once I travelled to the White Desert in Egypt for light art. As I arrived at the location, I told our local guides to form a shelter with the cars because I was expecting heavy rain, sandstorm, thunder, and flashes. However, they didn’t take me seriously since it hadn’t rained there for more than fifty years. Less than an hour later, our world went upside down due to a storm, and we fought for our lives for fifteen minutes. After that incident, they believed whatever I told them the following days!
Meanwhile, talking about Switzerland earning the tag of a global leader in arts and innovation, Dr Heckner said, “I believe that there is a strong correlation between art, diversity, freedom, and democratic values. The three are pre-conditions for art to exist in a society. In Switzerland, like in India, these values are a way of life and art.”
“We would not be one of the most innovative countries if it were not for the very vibrant ecosystem composed of world-class universities and innovative start-ups,” he added.
Dr Heckner also stressed that Switzerland and India would celebrate 75 years of friendship next year. “The Swiss network in India plans to organise 75 different events across India to highlight the richness of our common ties,” he said.
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