Penang, Malaysia – The Star has landed in Northern Malaysia! A colossal light sculpture by Malaysian artist, Ong Jun Hao, has been installed in a concrete building structure in Raja Uda, Penang for the Urban Xchange 2015 public art festival.
Festival curator Gabija Grusaite explains that the installation is part of a bigger vision to use art and creativity to inspire positive change and community building. Malaysia has recently been on the international news for all the unpleasant events such as missing planes, corruption scandals, imprisoned opposition leaders and fast dropping national currency – the Star shines bright as a positive trigger in the hard times. It is not only an artwork, but also the means to create a new public space in Butterworth “Garden under the Stars” where concerts, performances and celebrations will take place.
Urban Xchange 2015 is a public art festival in Penang that curates site-specific and daring artworks that brings hope to the community. Organised by Hin Bus Depot which is a non-profit art centre determined to inspire the new generation of Malaysians for creativity and thinking out of a box.
The Star is the most recent and ambitious project completed in mainland Penang. Stretching over a four level high building structure, the sculpture is made out of steel cables and LED lights.
First recorded in an American space program, the term “glitch” was used to describe a spike or change in voltage in an electric current. The Star is a glitch in current political and cultural climate of the country; it is a manifestation of the conditions of Butterworth, a once thriving industrial port and significant terminal between the mainland and island. The odd juxtaposition of “Star” with its “host” creates new relationships, tangible and intangible. It is an aestheticization of digital and analog irregularities, becoming a transient portal to the future.