Floating above an 18,000-square-foot area of Dutch land that would be underwater were it not for defensive measures, the ethereal effect hovers between simulated aerial floodwater and imitation aurora borealis.
A temporary work in Westervoort, this latest pieced dubbed ‘Waterlicht’ by Daan Roosegaarde was created using LED projectors located on surrounding dykes, highlighting the essential role of flood prevention technology in keeping so much of the Netherlands dry. As the beams cross in the air, moved slowly up and down by motors, the effect seen in these images is created.
Visitors walking along those adjacent barriers perceive the illumination like an eerily lit surface of water below – those passing below the plane of light see something akin to the Northern Lights, normally a natural atmospheric effect reserved for rare and special conditions. “we create a virtual flood. Walking on the dike the light lines are perceived as high water, once in the flood channel you find yourself in an underwater world.”
The work was commissioned by the Dutch water board to keep up awareness about this vital element of the country’s infrastructure. “In Waterlicht people experience what the Netherlands would look like without its dykes. Awareness is crucial, because the Dutch (water)artworks need every day maintenance and our national water awareness is the foundation of that maintenance.”
No stranger to working with nighttime illumination, Roosegaarde is famous for other works including a night-lit bicycle path in the style of Van Gogh as well as schemes for glow-in-the-dark highway infrastructure.