November 11 to January 10, the northern Italian city of Turin hosted a unique combination of decorative street lighting and a huge contemporary art exhibition held outdoors. For Artists' Lights in Turin, which was conceived by the city authorities as a follow-up to 1997's nativity scene by set designer Emanuale Luzzati, 32 miles of streets in the heart of the city were lit up, and the works of 14 contemporary artists were shown. IEMA of Borgaro Torinese custom-built most of the lighting equipment and controllers.

Luzzati's work appeared in Via Roma, Piazza Carlo Felice gardens, and the facade of Porta Nuova station. Via Roma (pictured) had a huge white and yellow light "nebula" in one section and a comet's tail in the other. At one end of the street, a 21'-diameter (6.4m) star was lit by approximately 18,000 lamps; the comet's 900'-long (274m) tail was comprised of several series of lamps (a total of 12,000 Starlux 2W/24V incandescent units) with chase effects. The garden's trees were decorated with more than 70,000 0.43W/12V Tecnid Sextus lamps, and the lines of the rail station facade were lit and decorative motifs added using 20,000 white and yellow 5W/14V Starlux incandescent lamps.

Among the other works, viewed from buses that took visitors around the installations, was Enrica Borghi's Snowballs--all made with sculpted plastic mineral water bottles, each with a Starlux 2W/24V lamp (a total of 15,000) mounted on plastic globes. Genoa artist Giulio Paolini's Palomar, comprising 150 luminous 2D and 3D structures, represented real and imaginary planets and stars. Its key element was a 20'-high (6m) acrobat walking across a solar system whose "orbits" moved thanks to programmed chase effects. The most traditional Christmas theme was Francesco Tabusso's nativity scene, The Dance of Life, on two 18'x24' (5x7m) panels painted by the artist. The silhouettes of the design were lit using 13mm-diameter Wimex ropelight of various colors, with a snow effect created by precabled Tecnid 0.43W incandescent lamps.

Turin artist Richi Ferrero covered a 120' (37m) construction crane and its 125' (38m) boom with 2.5 miles of similar (light blue) neon, split into 140 separate zones controlled individually by a programmable PLC. From the crane hung a 33' (10m) boat lit by 2,000 5W/14V Starlux lamps of various colors, split into 250 zones controlled by the same PLC. A fishing net in light steel lit by 8,000 pre-cabled Tecnid 0.43W lamps was "cast" from the boat and caught three "stars" (2,000 red 2W/24V Starlux lamps), the largest of which had an 18' (5m) comet's tail with 25 individually controlled lengths of red luminous tubing.

Luigi Stoisa's sculptures in 20mm hand-blown Tecnolux neon tubing formed a series of 20'-high men and women leaning out above the streets, with their heads touching in the center--the 1,200' (366m) of tubing was transparent for a halo effect at night. In Via Gerabaldi, Francesco Casorati created a flight of huge birds lit by 5.6 miles of red Wimex ropelight. Mario Molinari's sculptures in steel-reinforced polystyrene were lit with Osram Sylvania Halodium fixtures with symmetric lenses and Osram Sylvania 70/150W metal-halide lamps, and Luigi Mainolfi wrote 50 lines of poetry in the air around an entire city block--the 1,100 one-foot-high letters were fitted with 28,000 5W/14V Starlux lamps. Appropriately massive media coverage greeted the outsize spectacle.