07 Dec 2014 • Tracey Ingram
Amsterdam Light Festival
It may not be as drastic as in some parts of the world, but the Netherlands gets dark pretty darn early during winter. To break the blackness, Amsterdam Light Festival illuminates the city centre during the dimmest period of the year. Water Colours – a selection of works visible by boat along Amsterdam’s canals – officially opened last week, and the Illuminade walking route is on display from 11 December.
Of the 40 works on display, many artists and designers chose to work with interactivity. Some utilized technology and adopted a more passive approach. Tjep.’s Lightbridge, for example, reacts to traffic on and under the bridge, while Alfred Marseille and Paul Godschalk’s This Is It, Be Here Now is a neon sign that begs to be approached yet flickers off when passers-by stand beneath it.
Tulip Mania! – a work by Eibert Draisma and Aoife Wullur – involves a more rudimentary form of technology (bicycle pumps on the bridge connected to pipes that run into the water) yet strongly highlights the theme of this year’s event: a celebration of the city of Amsterdam and its people. It requires physical effort to actually work; pedestrians must unite to operate the series of bike pumps that send illuminated tulips to the water’s surface. The more people get involved, the more light comes into the city.
Amsterdam Light Festival runs from 27 November until 18 January 2015
Photos Janus van den Eijnden