Amsterdam was the location – and inspiration – for an eye-catching light installation that lit up a canal in the Dutch capital over the course of two months during a wintery holiday season. The Drawn in Light project by Ralf Westerhof shone bright as a beacon over the course of several foggy days and welcomed the New Year in with optimism.

With figures containing minimal lines, the installation consists mainly of empty space, but still it felt very solid. The structure relies greatly on the exact placement of parts/details in spatial relation to the other parts. Against the dark night sky, a bright three-dimensional line drawing of a typical Amsterdam-style canal building hung, slowly spinning in the air as elements of its surroundings gently orbitted around it.

This eye-catching cityscape was an ever-changing drawing made of light – developed as a progression from Westerhof’s early investigations into the shadows cast when light was shone onto his sculptures developed as three-dimensional minimal line drawings. Unlike with solid objects, it is the shadows – created by the use of LED illumination – of the sculpture that give it an ever-changing three dimensionality. When the light source illuminates a different spot, then it gives the viewers an extra perspective of the same image – still three dimensional and coherent, but slightly different. The experience for the spectator is different depending on the viewing angle, the light source placement and what part of the moving sculpture is facing the observer.

Crafted out of powder-coated stainless steel rods that were hand-bent and welded, the illuminated mobile takes on the shape of a house, replete with a nearby tree and passing cyclist. The constituent features of the construction included three layers that rotated independently, spinning on an axel propelled by an electric motor. The entire structure was painted white, suspended aloft over the water and lit on different sides by LED theatre lights. As there is nothing else around these lines to reflect light, the lines are brightly visible in the dark sky and reflect of the canal below it.

This piece was originally featured in Bright 2. You can purchase a copy here.