Ithra Tanween

4,600 visitors, 300 drones, and one ‘Big Moment'

Ithra turns to technological ‘tools’ in celebrating Tanween 2021.

4,600 visitors, 300 drones, and one ‘Big Moment'

More than 4,600 visitors gathered at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) to participate in creating a collective artwork using the latest innovative technology as part of the Tanween Festival 2021, now in its fourth season. 


The event, called the “Big Moment,” was held Nov. 4 and 5. 


No brushes or colors were needed as visitors used their phones to create a painting like nothing before. Tethered to 300 drones flying above Ithra, the creative audience engaged through their own drawings in this unprecedented interactive experience.


“They weren’t just any artistic scribbles or random drawings,” said Abdullah Al Hawwas, creative developer at Ithra who insisted on uniting the efforts of every painting the audience created and coalesce them into a vibrant expression. 


Slogans, scenes, and text as art

Al Hawwas also addressed how the light paintings formed images in the sky such as slogans, scenes, and text through the drones. 


“It’s difficult to imagine having thousands of visitors participate in a single artwork in under 10 seconds and in one place, but it was possible by engaging the audience and uniting their vision and energy to produce this artistic creative outcome,” he said, noting that creative and artistic products are one of the objectives of the AlSharqiya Gets Creative Initiative launched by Ithra in conjunction with the Tanween Festival. 


The initiative included more than 200 creative participants that sought to promote creativity in an exciting way and in partnership with the public and private sectors.


The “Big Moment” art forms varied between the letters of the visitors’ names and unified patterns of hand gestures captured by waving smart devices to draw parallel lines in an organized artistic expression. The drones hovered above them to record the scene and light up the dark sky like twinkling stars embracing digital art.


The audience watched their drawings eagerly, enthusiastically fulfilling the “Big Moment.” 


The moment that brought them together and united their creative energies was documented on a giant screen that revealed how their creations were translated into light. It was notable that the youth segment was larger than any other, as children waved their parents’ phones to participate and manifest their artistic gestures in this grand event. 


The event gathered all age groups with their smartphones and the colors chosen from the special “barcode” palette. Brushes and colors didn’t come in contact with hands, but rather with minds, to commemorate, inspire joy, and spread creativity with technologically innovative “tools” — the theme of Tanween 2021.


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