Artistic direction of Festival Bella Skyway, which is held every year since 2009 and provides a unique combination of beauty, architecture, art, light and scientific, mainly astronomical, inspiration is the largest outdoor cultural event in the Kujawsko-Pomorskie region and one of the most highly rated cultural events by the domestic audience. By taking place in the heart of the Gothic Old Town of Torun, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, the festival offers everything that a contemporary demanding spectator expects to see — grand-scale production, artistic meditation, easy and broad access to audio-visual art and direct interaction with the public. The event makes use of an entire array of artistic expressions — from subtle installations, to the use of state-of-theart audio-video techniques, including the advanced 3D mapping – and it makes an innovative reference to the values of humanism, stressing the value of art and science in the life of a community. In the 2016 edition, with over 300 000 delighted spectators every edition, the witty vídeo-mapping narratives of Anooki and the work of Anita Ackermann (photo) – the latter ‘throwing shadows onto light’ – stood out as particularly sensitive. In the last two years, the Festival has won two important awards: The best tourist product in Poland in 2014 according to the Polish Tourism Organization, and the best cultural event in the summer 2015 (Brief for Poland Magazine).
A careful attention to the urban and local context, the conscience of the Light Festival as a place-based communicational device par excellence, and finally a collective experience of the typical Old Town which has become referential, have been key traits of the rhetorical balance which turned the Light Festival BELLA SKYWAY one of the most the most relevant and cherished. Lately however, the event – happening in the birthplace of Copernicus and programmatically aspiring to connect science and art, pedagogy and communication – has become a prey of its overwhelming success, and the curatorial vision has to face a challenge: how to remain faithful to a futurant immaterial heritage, when the pressure to turn to immediacy grows? In a moment when the growing popularity of the event has started to lead the event toward a more mainstream (less poetic and experimental) cultural territory, the time is ripe for the acknowledgement of what separates mere creative utterances from meaningful and illuminating – thus lasting – urban aphorisms.