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article imageVisualia 2014 in Pula: Interview with organiser Marko Bolkovic Special

By Paul Bradbury     May 11, 2014 in Travel
Pula - In the final article of its coverage of Visualia 2014 in Croatia, Digital Journal meets one of the organisers, Marko Bolkovic.
The successful Visualia 2014 festival in the Istrian city of Pula concluded with a spectacular light show of the iconic cranes of Uljanik shipyard, and Digital Journal conducted a two-part interview, concluding on May 9, 2014, with one of the event organisers, Marko Bolkovic from Sonitus.
As previously reported, the festival in the innovative tourism city of Pula attracted a very international gathering, both in terms of participants and spectators. The main event, Lighting Giants, was postponed for 24 hours due to uncertain weather conditions. Digital Journal sat down with Bolkovic shortly before the start of the final evening's performance, and then once again a few days later.
Marko Bolkovic from Sonitus  one of the driving forces behing Visualia 2014 in Pula.
Marko Bolkovic from Sonitus, one of the driving forces behing Visualia 2014 in Pula.
Festival Visualia
The sun is out. Tell me about the weather. The event has been postponed by 24 hours. You must be a little nervous.
I am a little nervous. We decided to postpone the event as there was a chance of rain yesterday. We could still have gone ahead but the effect of people walking around with umbrellas would not have been the same. We wanted audience participation. Everyone has their own individual lamp, and that was an important part of the concept.
Blending technology with heritage: Visualia 2014 in Pula was a major success.
Blending technology with heritage: Visualia 2014 in Pula was a major success.
Visualia 2014
Tell us about the origins of the festival.
The festival actually started last year, and it was started by my association Sonitus. We are an association for audio-visual art and new technologies. We wanted to do 3D mapping and audio-visual design. Last year we did the first 3D mapping and we are very happy to merge this year with Lighting Giants.
Can you explain a little more about Lighting Giants?
The idea came a long time ago, to light up the famous cranes at Uljanik shipyard. The concept was to produce a lighting performance with music, where the colours of the cranes would change according to the music, as well as making an additional attraction for Pula's night skyline. It is something very specific and not really seen in the world yet. It will be pretty amazing.
Where would you class this event on a global scale of lighting design?
There is a mapping festival in Geneva and a festival of light in Lyon, but what we are trying to do is to try to make Pula a city which can be recognised in the media for new technologies, so hopefully next year more artists will know about the festival, and so hopefully Pula will become recognised in the world in this field.
Pula seems united with its stakeholder vision. What is so special about Pula?
When we started thinking about the project, we asked ourselves what is Pula? Is it a cultural centre, a tourist city or an industrial one? We have amazing heritage such at the Pula Arena, the sixth largest Roman amphitheatre in the world. We have nice parks, we are in a good location, with Slovenia and Italy close by.
Pula has everything. It is a small city and you can walk everywhere in ten minutes, and on the way, you can admire its great history - Roman, Venetian, Austro-Hungarian, Yugoslav.
We have music festivals, so many things in one place, and you can do anything here. We looked at other cities, but decided Pula was the place. There is nowhere quite like Pula.
What will happen after tonight?
Our association will do educational workshops for younger people in 3D mapping and light design, and probably next summer we will do some additional 3D mapping. The idea is to build one extra lighting installation each year. This year it was Lighting Giants, which was a big project, but maybe we will have smaller, more interactive projects in future, until we truly have a City of Light.
Lords of LightingUK from London electrified Forum square.
Lords of LightingUK from London electrified Forum square.
Is that the branding, Pula, the City of Light?
It is one of the things we are considering, as there is no such thing in the world. Cities like Las Vegas yes, but no specific City of Light.
There has been lots of preparation for this event. At what moment will you relax?
I will start to relax only after the Lighting Giants performance finishes, and I fully intend to enjoy the party afterwards. I am a little nervous, but everything will be ok.
The festival begins.
The festival begins.
Elizabeta Beg
What is your biggest concern apart from the weather?
We have really no idea how many people will turn up. Will it be 500 or several thousand? Some of the streets in the old town are small, and we want everyone to have their space, and to have fun with their lamps.
The event was truly spectacular, and passed off without a hitch. Digital journal caught up with Marko Bolkovic a few days later to ask him how it was for him.
I still can't believe what beautiful energy there was that night. All the people (several thousand) that came to the festival really contributed to the festival itself, since they were a part of it with LED finger lights. All the hard work really paid off, and we can't wait to start preparing next year's edition of the festival.
More about visualia 2014, Croatia, pula croatia, marko bolkovic, sonitus
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