Monday, May 18, 2009



The seeds for The Light Show 09 (TLS09) were sown about a year ago whilst www-surfing, ogling amazing light creations made from found objects and recycled material by people from all corners of the world. From thinking ‘We Need Some Of That’, to ‘We Can Do That’, we became inspired to walk our talk and mount our own light show. Serendipity at play that the word ‘light/to light’ carries positive connotations everyone could use.

Some of us were already making lights out of discards so finding like-minded people to join us was difficult only when it came to limiting the number of participants. It quickly became clear that we had (traditionally) disparate design disciplines on board: object/spatially-driven architects and emotive/experiential/ephemeral-driven theatre-lighting designers. Add one interactive multimedia artist, one artist who instinctively uses found objects as his preferred medium, and a film-maker, and TLS09ers make for an interesting mix.

Finding material to work with was easy. People throw away so much. Coupled with energy efficient lamps, the green label sits comfortably on some of what we have created for this show. Regardless, we hope to enable others to find aesthetic value in all things discarded and to expand perceptions of lighting and of found material.

Any interaction between different disciplines is rewarding, and particularly so the Performing Arts with Design. A dance response to the end results of our lights/installations, choreographed by Aida Redza and performed by dancers with passion, to music by Hardesh Singh is the absolute icing on the cake for us.

It has been a good journey, with much love and light moving us along. But love and light alone is scarce enough these days to mount any show – so our deepest gratitude to our generous sponsors and supporters for enabling us to realise TLS09.

If we earn a few brownie points along the way promoting the mantra Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, all well and good. If TLS09 manages to inspire future light/found object shows then we would have achieved our quiet goal of contributing creatively towards Malaysian Design.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Light Sculpture Exhibition
at The Annexe Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Thursday 16 April - Sunday 3 May 2009, 11am - 7pm

Admission Free

at Galeri Tenaga, Wisma TNB, Petaling Jaya
Thursday 7 May - Saturday 23 May 2009
Mon to Fri 10am - 5pm, Sat 10am - 2pm
Admission Free


The Light Show 2009 presents an assortment of lights and light installations made from recycled/found objects to humour, cajole and inspire. Exhibitors include Bernard Chauly, Carolyn Lau, Fabian Tan, Farah Azizan, Jazmi Izwan Jamal, Lisa Foo, Loh Kok Man, Mah Su Sim, and Richard Lau.

The Light Show 2009 was made possible with support from the Krishen Jit-ASTRO Fund. With thanks to Galeri Tenaga, GDP Architects, and Balai Seni Lukis Negara - National Art Gallery of Malaysia.



How appropriate that there should be a Light Show during these dark times; when we would be so near, yet so far, to more transparency; when some of our politicians would be innocents and angels but have been brought down, hard, by murkier intents; when streetlamps and cctv cameras seem to cast nothing on the rising crime rate. And while lava lamps are not exactly passé, plasma globes are still used to launch anything new. We might well be losing our way.

With this show, we bear witness to the end of the Fluorescent Light that once ruled the land, solo and monotonous, from morning to night in bungalow and apartment block, high rise and low rise, living room and boardroom, security guard pondok and stesen keretapi. To be sure, this hardy tubing is unbeatably cheap and lasting, but what a relief that at least now there are warm white and cool white tone options. Our hours have been and are being inside-outed, not only by turns of events, but also by designers, developers and Ikea. Now, more Malaysians can afford to enjoy a variety of light, and not just an Astro package, to paint their lives with colour and feeling. These are new ways to move the human spirit. Still, how many Malaysians does it take to change a light bulb? None. They’ve gone to call the Bangladeshi.

If there is any polemic this show wears, then it is environmentalism. So often, this is a tedious and smug ideology. Such conviction, in the face of no scientific consensus, that humans do have a real impact on the future of the planet! Such complacency that Nature is a pussycat that will purr to the caress of carbon footprint trading! Such intellectual convenience in the idea of a ‘planet in peril’ and all we need do is re-cycle and re-use to rescue it! How deeply conservative this ethos and what a restraining order, even as it looks so hippy and laidback. Meanwhile, there is God, who made the world in seven days, beginning with Light, and might just snuff it out irrespective of mortal efforts…

In this show, however, there is an integrity of idea that in most instances, has ample evidence to support. That is, with adept use of a range of materials – created, found and/or recycled – here is an environmentally-conscious aesthetic that is light-footed not leaden; not just bastardized, also beautiful. The old and new fashioning with light emitting diodes (LEDs) and plastic bottles; combinations of natural and artificial light sources; preoccupations with the elegant and startling, and how light affects spaces and interiors… this is wit, clarity and craft that is plain to see and persuasive. Bright minds are also making light work of the limiting divisions of discipline between architect, theatre-maker and film-maker.

When movies were first viewed, they terrified audiences for appearing as if out of nothing but they soon became popular as the Greatest Light Shows on Earth. In the 1920s, various artists were fascinated by the prospects of the ‘new’ art and famously in Dusseldorf, Germany, a three month-long exhibition was held using projected images, music and dance that was attended by millions. Such was fascination with the new form.

In the arena of this show, filmmaker Bernard Chauly can be found providing a cheeky yet evocative insight into the heritage of private and public taste in lighting. Kok Man, theatre director and lighting designer with a predilection for innovative even bravura extravaganzas of experience turns up a series of quiet surprises; Landscape architect and sometime set designer Carolyn Lau presents lamps and other works that fuse a confident designer’s flair with a mother’s fear for the next-in-line who must deal with the debris of unbridled consumerism. She makes innovative do with the discarded, in charming yet provocative ways.

Farah Azizan’s imagination, which brought us the memorable yellow pages-sofa, is again harnessed in strong conceptual work with a practical twist. Jazmi, who sees such potential in mobile technology creates an installation with humble ol’ straws, adroitly turning what we take for granted on its head – such human ingenuity; sip on it, folks. Architect Fabian Tan’s Gu-light forms, derived from the marbles of the popular childhood game, are a joy to behold. Richard Lau’s ‘head lights’ suggest that we might all be migrants with migraines from the detritus of present day living, yet we will find ways to go on. The artistic duo of Lisa Foo and Mah Su Sim continues to create intriguing new shapes, going deeper than their earlier visits into marine life that created a popular series of deep-sea creatures.

The show’s diversity of movement, sound and music together with sculpture, fused plastic bag heads, oil drums and soda bottles, multimedia installation, lampshade apron, water-bottle headpiece and a raft of other pieces are surely all signs of progress. They are each a tiny solution in the scheme of things but in sum, like fireflies, they are around to be found, praise be. If there is one regret, it is that there are no epic pieces here. Perhaps we can look forward to even more in the next Light Show. Hopefully, it will be an annual event and extend to sites wherever. For now though, experience the rare chance to delight indeed in re-examining what we need, what we use, and what we know.

Congratulations to the producers Carolyn Lau, Farah Azizan and Lisa Foo.


excerpts from TLS09 catalogue


Seven Skins in rehearsal


Aida Redza is a dancer and choreographer whose works are a visual example of tight bound tradition, deconstruction and new dance. She is mainly inspired today by interdisciplinary collaborations based on the principles of chance happening as well as the intervention and interaction of the performance body within public spaces.

When I think of light, I think of skin lighting up. When I think of dance, I think of wearing wild flowers in my hair.

When I think of green, energy efficient light and dance I think of the ways of spreading the body and senses, as a candle or reflective surface emanating the love and inter-dependance between dance and light.

Bringing together five prominent and significant performers from different and unique performance backgrounds, to join me in discovering and exploring each our own special light, amidst the web of light created by the TLS09 team has presented us with seven choreographic challenges.
Of illuminating and resonating the romance of dance with the embodiment of light.

Anne James loves acting; is happy to dance again; is finding her life renewed in teaching Theatre; is a member of Five Arts Centre; is a snatch theft victim; believes that the political turmoil Malaysia has been going through since March 8 is a necessary process of national cleansing; is convinced that we will come through this dark period renewed as a nation and a people.


Anne James interacting with Lisa Foo’s Lancelets, a
headgear and selendang made from PET bottles and LEDs

Foo Chi Wei is always spirited. It would be true to say that if there’s some action, Foo is certain to be in there somewhere. Discovering Odissi for the first time in 1992, Foo finally took the plunge in learning the dance form from Ramli Ibrahim a decade later in 2001 at Sutra Dance Theatre. In 2007, he was seen in Donna Miranda’s contemporary dance production Extended Periods of Waiting at The Annexe Central Market. Later the same year, he also took part in Dr.Zulkifli Mohamad’s play Selipar Jepun as a Cabaret performer at the Stor Theatre DBP KL.

Light is many splendoured things to me: Light is when I first open my eyes each day… Light is comforting beacon to the heart… Light is harsh reality… Light is the soul reflecting in one’s eyes…I cannot imagine a world without light… that would be a void without forms…

Hailizan Mahmoon is mother of Aida Redza. She loves to sing.

Shafirul Azmi Suhaimi is an independent artist who enjoys working in contemporary spaces. Currently studying dance at ASWARA, majoring in Choreography.

Shafirul & Sukarji reacting in Loh Kok Man's blue stage lighting

Suhaili Micheline Ahmad Kamil
aged 24, has been actively teaching dance to kids since the age of 17. She now teaches at ASWARA and Aurora School of Dance. She earned a Bachelor of Dance (Hons) and various awards from the Victorian College of The Arts, Melbourne. Her passion is to perform more but sadly, very few opportunities, such as this event, exist.

Light helps me to be noticed. The way I see it, dancers’ thirst for light will always be.

Suhaili and Anne James exploring the light by Carolyn Lau's nourishments.

Sukarji Sriman received a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Dance from the Five College Dance Department, Smith College, USA and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance from the Jakarta Institute of the Arts, Indonesia. In early 2006 he joined the Dance Program, Culture Center, University of Malaya and has now been appointed as Coordinator of the Dance Program. Sriman is well known as a Javanese classical dancer, and as a contemporary choreographer. More than 20 of his dance pieces have been choreographed and performed globally, including The Circle of Bliss, A Time of Darkness, Awakening, Manuhara, and Angin-Angin.

Light is life. Light can burn my body and soul to dance, to interact with others.

Sukarji wearing a fused plastic bag mask by Richard Lau

Hardesh Singh is a music producer/sound designer turned technopreneur who holds a degree in Telecommunications Engineering. He founded SoundWorks Productions in 2003, carving a name for himself locally and internationally with albums for local pop, rock and R&B artists as well as a remix release in Germany. His Music & Sound Design for films have been featured at major International Film Festivals. He has scored for numerous commercials and international award winning films.




Bernard Chauly is a Film Director and TV Series Creator who started out with a passion for theatre. Most of his work as Lighting Designer was for Five Arts Centre, working especially with Krishen Jit and Janet Pillai. Two memorable creative collaborations were made with Carolyn Lau; as co-lighting designer for Rama & Sita: Generasi Baru and as lighting designer-set designer for Family, staged in KL and Berlin. Bernard’s proud of lighting for a show called Ne Zha (Teater Muda, Five Arts Centre, 1999), an innovative puppet show that toured badminton courts of DBKL flats. Lights were made out of Milo tins. At home, he likes low-wattage bulbs, only uses fluorescent if it’s T5 and thinks halogen spots are over-recommended. His favourite film lights are called Dedo and Diva.

Bernard studied at Universiti Sains Malaysia and Goldsmiths College. His film credits include Gol & Gincu, Goodbye Boys and is currently finishing his third feature film, Pisau Cukur, in cinemas 2009.







Muzium Lampu is a collection of light objects from a possible future.

A while ago, I heard that traditional 100 Watt incandescent light bulbs are being phased out in favour of low energy alternatives. Will it ‘Save The Earth’? Everyday, we hear of initiatives and options to combat climate change. All have to do our part, yes, but will it make a difference? Some would say it’s too late…

Small Initiatives vs. Major Steps. US President Barack Obama wants the world’s two biggest polluters — America and China — to form a partnership in the battle against global warming. Yes they should?! Perhaps this would be more significant than just phasing out the 100W bulb?

Whenever I cook, I’m told not to pour used cooking oil down the drain. What if it was illegal not to recycle used vegetable oil into agrofuel that could power cars? Are biofuels the way forward? If so, do we have to clear more of our forests to plant more oil palm, a source material for agro fuel?

MUZIUM LAMPU is just a small collection of pedestrian light objects to trigger some precious thought…and a few laughs about ‘what if’s’…to do with light.


Carolyn Lau is a Landscape Architect with Seksan Design and partner of affiliate company SD2 Sdn Bhd.

She has previously dabbled in set, costume and lighting design for theatre. Receiving support from the Krishen Jit ASTRO Fund makes her feel like she’s working with Krishen again – what an honour!
Childhood memories are of watching her parents making — food, tools, sculpture, clothes, canoes, pots, bags, fishing nets, traps, chicken coops, jewelry, gifts, gardens.


Why do people discard and litter so much? Because those things hold no value to them. Convenience is expected, assumed, taken for granted.

The craft of frugal living, where the botol-man cruised neighborhoods to buy used glass and tins, where plastic bread bags were washed out and reused, where toys were enjoyably hand made with much make do, where old magazines were reformed into paper bead curtains, is now largely undervalued, if not forgotten.

I am nostalgic for that frugality, for the resourcefulness, dexterity and simple creativity that came with it. I wish for my children large doses of it to help them survive their uncertain future (as I wish for myself and half this planet). So I am trying to find value in what I throw out.

My works for TLS09 comprise of daily discards from my kitchen — centre of nurturing and nourishment, source of the most household waste. Discards that quickly mount up as ready material solicit contemplation — yoghurt bottles, food tins, milk cartons, glass jars, 3-in-1 packets, plastic bags.

Washed clean, perforated, linked/fused/stitched, lit up, each material’s potentials are explored –whether reflective, glowing, shadow casting or colouring light.Reworking each material as repeated components relives the routine of our daily consumption.

An assortment of lampshades is mounted on empty whisky bottles which were found beside a deserted guard house — apt bases implying the futile inebriation of trying to forget to remember, to remember to forget. Metaphorically, what some of us do when regarding Recycling and Convenience.

The resultant assemblage of renewed kitchen offerings intends to nurture food for thought.


Fabian Tan is an architect who believes that fashionable definitions of ‘art’ can be pushed beyond their existing limitations.

In 2008, his ‘corner art’ works were featured in the Working Title exhibition at Petronas Gallery showcasing 10 emerging Malaysian artists. He has also participated in the Man & God International Visual Feast exhibition in Beijing, China and a parallel exhibition entitiled Retrospective with the Kyoorius Designyatra event. His latest creations, Roller Coasters are vintage drink coasters with golden animals on wheels and have been featured in The Star newspaper and KLUE magazine.

As a relative virgin in the art world, he wants to maintain his naivety and perhaps digress into childhood humour and fantasies in hope of producing ‘fresh’ and ‘cheeky’ concepts in art.

GU-LIGHT, 2009

is an experiment involving an almost extinct Malaysian childhood game, guli, or marbles. I remember myself as a child who would stare into the guli and was always hypnotized by the swirls of colours floating in the glass.

The art works represent a fusion of abandoned wooden crates and other junk material, light and guli to create a feel of nostalgic magic.


The artwork is a signifier for the creepy evolution of the computer. Since its birth, it has intrigued mankind but I have been observing lately that the computer seems to be assimilating profusely into people’s life. The reliance on computers is heavier than ever in this age of emails, internet, social networks, games and softwares. Not long ago, I used to laugh at the notion of a terminator in the movies but now, I am terrified of witnessing its slow birth. Electrolyte should remind us of the computer’s emergence as a living breathing entity. The whirl of lights represents veins behind its skin. Beware of the computer.


Farah Azizan obtained her BA in architecture at Nottingham University, UK and after working with GDP architects between 2000 and 2001, pursued her diploma in architecture (RIBA part II) at the Architectural Association, London. Her works are inspired by urban ecologies, post-industrial landscapes and the visual arts, blurring the boundaries between art/architecture/landscape design. A recent exhibition at the Annexe featured a chair made of yellow pages and recordings of random conversations she had with some of its more sinister advertisers. Upon graduating in 2004, she freelanced in London after which she reluctantly returned to KL and joined Seksan Design. She has not looked back since.


The opportunity to make lights using glass bottles came when we chanced upon a derelict factory in the heart of industrial PJ filled from floor to ceiling with crates of empty soda bottles. The forsaken space held a treasure trove of soda-pop brands ranging from the early 60’s to more obscure brands like Peacock Cola, Sinalco and RC Cola, stacked precariously high like city tower blocks trapped in a zinc-roofed cavern, guarded by a solitary pakcik who granted us access via skillful negotiations worthy of a national politician. I thank him for my material.The factory has now since been cleared out, likely to pave way for another consumerist monument blurring into PJ’s seemingly ambiguous cityscape.

The DRUMLIGHT series features a group of standing, floor-mounted and suspended lights that are assembled from oil drums and soda bottles recycled and revived to retain their industrial and mass-produced aesthetic. The module is replicated in an installation which comprises a set of utilitarian furniture with inter-connecting functions.


Jazmi is a Malaysia-based interactive designer and sound artist producing commercial and personal work. He received BA (Hons) in Multimedia, majoring in Digital Media at Multimedia University, Malaysia. His interest is mainly in interactive installations, music technology and generative art. He works as a creative director and sound artist. He is a member of the Experimental Musicians and Artists Cooperative Malaysia (EMACM) and alumnus of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF). His favorite performing “tools” are mobile gadgets. Currently, he is researching site-specific interventions dealing with the cultural and social implications of emergent technologies.


Kunang-Kunang is an interactive installation based on the movement of fireflies mapped on a curtain of straws that creates an environment full of light. This project basically uses an unwanted waste material – plastic drinking straws, as a projection surface. The interactive element of this project uses human body movement.

Random colors appear and sounds emerge as the user comes into proximity with the straws. The whole idea of this interactive installation is to share the beauty of fireflies during the night, represented using the power of art and technology.


Softscape is a medium-scale interactive installation of a projection mapping on a soft surface, made from discarded materials such as plastic bags and office paper. Movement, when detected by sensors and a camera, triggers rhythmic sounds and visual patterns projected onto the soft surface.

The objective of the installation is to create an indoor interactive playground for the public. It can be your imaginative “soft garden”, nurturing a culture of creativity and innovation.


Lisa Foo is the co-founder of FOTA Design (2007). Her architectural approach is concerned with the crafting of space and experimenting with material assemblage that marries the functional with artistic expression.

A persistent innovator of spaces, Foo’s EMMA house in Kuala Lumpur, designed and completed in 2006, has b
een featured in many international publications in Europe, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Recently, she collaborated with a friend and exhibited luminous eco-light sculptures depicting deep sea creatures from recycled plastic drinking water (PET) bottles and formed LFSS* in 2008, in an effort to spread awareness of recycling.

In her indulgence for creative experimentation with found objects, she is seeking for that transformation of the expected into art and beyond.


Fascination with bioluminescence in the abyss,
It’s a deep blue world we landlubbers rarely see.
Mystical realm that most of us have given a miss.
Yet, amazing creatures rule the dark depths of the mighty sea!

In response to the problem of plastic waste in our environment, each part in thousands of plastic drinking water (PET) bottles is transformed into individual light sculptures and an installation. The idea of maintaining the inherent quality of the material and employing low-embodied energy in the process of transformation is emphasized when recycling these PET bottles. In the same spirit of reduction, these sculptures also consume less energy by using energy saving lamps and LEDs.

Turning everyday mundane waste objects into mysterious and ethereal delight.

* LFSS is the abbreviation for both the designers, Lisa Foo & Mah Su Sim and at a glance it looks like LESS. Just appropriately spells out our intention. LESS WASTE.


Artistic Director of Pentas Project, Kok Man is an established theatre director, actor and lighting designer. Graduated from the Malaysia Institute of the Arts in 1993, Kok Man is currently lecturing in the Drama and Visuals Department, New Era College. He is also the body development instructor for Hands Percussions’ full time drummers. Since his performance of aku in 1997, he has traveled to Japan, Korea, India and Singapore bringing and sharing his work with people in these different continents.

He was winner for Best Director and Best Chinese Script in the 2003 BOH Cameronian Arts Awards for Untitled. In 2005 , he founded Pentas Project and went to New York for 6 months on an Asian Cultural Council Fellowship. In 2006, he won Best Lighting Design for Phoenix Rises in the Dance Category in the 5th BOH Cameronian Arts Award. In 2007, he won Best Lighting Design for The Lost and the Ecliptic in the theatre category at the 6th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards. In the same year, together with Ceacar Chong, Kok Man was Co-Production Designer for Ismail, the Last Days.


Stage lighting design not only relies on creativity, but also requires refinement, accuracy and aesthetic discretion. Lighting design creates an environment for performance, to light the stage and to create special effects. However, when “light” is no longer the humble servant of a performance, what is the meaning of “light”? Light/Thought I is an action and thoughts exploring this transition.


Landscape designer Mah Su Sim perceives landscape spaces to be soft, fluid and revitalizing extensions to hard structures. Modeling most of her exterior spaces and sculptural elements after nature’s splendid expression of forms and patterns, Su Sim is simply resolute about integrating aesthetics with functionality to evoke a calming and restorative experience. She co-owns Oasis Water Garden where she assumes mainly creative responsibilities.

Recently, she teamed up with architect and friend Lisa Foo to craft a series of light features fashioned from recycled plastic mineral water bottles. They branded themselves LFSS* to convey the message of re-think, re-use and reduce.


Working in the field of landscape design has over the years nurtured my passion for designing, whether for work or leisure. I find the natural environment a treasure chest of design sources and inspiration bursting to enrich our lives. This inspiration spills over into my luminous sculptures, which radiate as abstract representations of natural forms that exist as blueprints of the world we live in.

The plastic mineral water bottle is undeniably one of the most ubiquitous examples of consumer waste today. Recycling exercises for these bottles into other plastic wares are mainly carried out on a commercial scale by manufacturers. However, at the opposite end of the scale, the consumer can also do his/her bit for a greener environment by cultivating a more eco-conscientious attitude. Thus, this project is aimed at re-purposing plastic mineral water bottles into artistic yet functional light sculptures while still maintaining the inherent quality of the material throughout the crafting process. By applying basic manual crafting skills using domestic tools and stationery, I aspire to generate worth and ethereal charm out of the mundane plastic bottles.

* LFSS is the abbreviation for both the designers, Lisa Foo & Mah Su Sim and at a glance it looks like LESS. Just appropriately spells out our intention. LESS WASTE.


Born in Kuala Lumpur in 1961 into a creative environment, Richard Lau grew up surrounded by artists and art in one form or another. Richard decided to escape this environment and pursue a course in humanities in England only to discover much later that his real interest was in art. Upon returning to KL, Richard worked as a set-builder, prop-maker & designer and has also worked as an art director for film, TV and theatre. His interest in art was revived when he came across raw art (Art Brut) whilst abroad which resonated with his own interest in working with found objects and recycling materials.

Richard currently lectures on Production Design at the Film Department, ASWARA.

(My Mother Made Me Do it!)

From an early age we were encouraged to be scavengers —that’s one way of looking at it! Another way is to say that we were encouraged to look at mundane objects from a different perspective.

There’s nothing quite like finding interesting junk by the roadside. The challenge of seeing the potential in discards sets the creative juices flowing. There are a few drawbacks — namely the objects chosen have to be cleaned so that they don’t smell or rot. Also if you get carried away and can’t resist the impulse to collect, your house becomes a garbage dump.

Some objects resist reinvention and it can be frustrating to figure out how to shape and join materials which are reluctant to co-operate. However never accept the philosophy of ‘once a plastic bag always a plastic bag’.

We are surrounded by piles of discards and the possibilities of working with scrap are endless. The exhilaration and challenge is great and the best thing is the materials are free!

The Headlights are made from assorted recycled plastic shopping bags (PPE,PEP, etc) fused together. The process is called fusing (layers of plastic bags are melted together with a hot iron) and the end result is a tough fused plastic sheet that can diffuse light if it is made with clear or light-coloured plastic.