2.5-ton cosmic UFO to light up Shilin at Taipei Lantern Festival

01/20/2022 03:05 PM
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Main lantern at the 2022 Taipei Lantern Festival. CNA photo Jan. 20, 2022
Main lantern at the 2022 Taipei Lantern Festival. CNA photo Jan. 20, 2022

Taipei, Jan. 20 (CNA) A giant red and white cosmic UFO weighing over two tons will be the main lantern at the upcoming 2022 Taipei Lantern Festival which kicks off Feb. 11 in Taipei's Shilin District, according to a top city official Thursday.

The UFO, which measures seven meters in diameter and stands at five meters tall, lights up with spotlights and an array of LED lights, including panels that display the festival's mascot "Auspicious Tiger" manning the cockpit, Taipei Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) said at a press conference.

The tiger is this Lunar New Year's Chinese zodiac animal and traditionally symbolizes vigor and vitality.

Tsai said the connection between the zodiac animal and the UFO is that the UFO is being flown by the "Auspicious Tiger" mascot to Shilin.

"This is to symbolize that it is bringing a whole year of happiness to Shilin, making the district brilliant," Tsai said.

CNA video Jan. 20, 2022

Akibo (李明道), creative director of the 2022 Taipei Lantern Festival, said the idea of the 2.5-ton UFO was developed from an animation concept of a cosmic UFO that became lost in space and ended up landing in Shilin.

Taipei then invited the travelers on the UFO to display the spacecraft as the festival's main lantern, Akibo said.

"We hope it will spark the imagination of visitors and also give them an opportunity to broaden their horizons to give them unlimited possibilities," Akibo said.

During the festival, the UFO will be the centerpiece of a three-minute show every 30 minutes by being lifted six meters into the air to make it look like as if it is flying, Akibo said.

CNA photo Jan. 20, 2022
CNA photo Jan. 20, 2022

The UFO is one of Akibo's many robotic-designed art installations across Taipei, including a Bluetooth speaker robot at Xinzhongshan Linear Park and a treasure-finding airship at Taipei Children's Amusement Park, Akibo said.

"When I was young, I was a child who didn't have toys to play with so when I grew up, I wanted to make a lot of big toys for myself and my children," Akibo told CNA.

The 10-day 2022 Taipei Lantern Festival, which will be held Feb. 11-20, will cover areas along three MRT stations in the district, including Jiantan station which serves Shilin Night Market, and showcase over 50 lanterns and lantern artworks, according to a statement issued by the city's Department of Information and Tourism (TPEDOIT).

The festival will also have two stage areas to host shows and performances by an arrangement of singers, bands, and musicians, including Golden Melody Award-winning artist Sanpuy Katatepan Mavaliyw and idol group AKB48 Team TP, according to the TPEDOIT.

(By William Yen)

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