See the little boy on the beach. He suddenly decides to bury his yellow shovel in the sand. To protect it from the incoming tide? From other children? Nobody remembers but he soon realises he cannot find it again. It is gone, disappeared in the cosmos.
Can you see that young man, who pensively stares across the beach, thinking about that shovel? Maybe it is still there? Behind him, in the city, young and old play with spheres that form constellations. They light up yellow, the colour linking him to Knokke.
Thomas Nam Hao Thai, light artist, VJ and video artist, in short an artistic all-rounder, also known under the pseudonym TAAI, explains that there is a possibility he will think about his lost toy tool at the Knokke-Heist Light Festival. Coincidence or not, but the accent colour of The Little Prince is also yellow. For that reason, he decided to change the colour of his spheres from cold white to warm yellow. He thinks the more pleasing light fits the festival atmosphere better.
All images and information are in the same house-style as the book. That completes it.
– Thomas Nam Hao Thai
Thomas: “I am truly enthusiastic about the use of the story of The Little Prince for the light festival. All the images and information are in the same house -style as the book. That completes it. It gives the various projects a cohesion, there is a connection. I want to use the word immersion because the entire event will be so much more immersive. The public will enter more deeply into the experience, think more about the Little Prince. And that is why we have changed the colour of “Observatory” so that it fits the thread of the story better. We thus hope to contribute to the overall picture and not only to shows: look, we made this!
Thomas: Observatory is an observational floor where spectators can discover constellations. We used constellations that we can see here in the winter with the aim of making people more aware that there are more constellations that the Great Bear and the Little Bear.
The light installation consists of lots of spheres connected with lines. When visitors stand on the right spheres, the floor will make other spheres light up. And if they are touched, they connect with each other with lines that light up. After a few minutes a constellation is formed.
We like to keep our work simple. We let the spectator play without any text or explanation. It should be intuitive for everyone.
I want to create experiences for the public, I want to touch people directly.
Thomas: The best moment of the festival is immediately after the construction. You see people passing and see that it works. At that moment it is no longer in my hands, it is not mine anymore. It is there and it is public. Everyone sees it in their own way, with their own interpretation. That is super cool. I want to create experiences for the public, I want to touch people directly. That is why light festivals are such fun to do. They are there for the public, the product, the artwork and its quality are central.
Thomas: For these public commissions, I work together with people who have other expertise and skills in the Nacht Collectief (Night Collective). I have four degrees myself, a bachelor in multimedia, graphic design and communication and a master in language and literature. None has anything to do with what I do now. My work flowed from my passion and interests in woodwork, welding, building a structure myself and even sculpture. Now I mainly work with my hands.
The Observatory is a collaboration between myself and Pieter Coussement, a virtuoso in programming, interactivity, electronics and music. He brings the entire installation to life with his creative coding skills.
As the only one remaining of the three founders, I coordinate the work within our collective. That is also why we have the word Collective in the name, we are not a company. We also want to do solo projects, then we have the freedom to do so. I work solo under the name TAAI. And Night, that is a simple, powerful word that fits with what we do. Because we actually work in the night, then you can see the light installations. Nacht Collectief is the ideal reflection of the sector in which we work.
Like thousands of others, we like to go into the winter nights and gaze at the stars of TAAI from Nacht Collectief. And who knows, perhaps, with a little luck, we may catch a glimpse of the Little Prince who may also explore the lights in the magical Knokke-Heist…