Every winter, visitors and residents alike get to see Amsterdam in a whole new light – literally – as large-scale light art installations add an extra layer of vibrance to the city. For the seventh annual edition, the Amsterdam Light Festival chose the theme “The Medium is the Message,” a modern-day evaluation of the famous phrase coined by Canadian scientist Marshall McLuhan. The role light plays in conveying a message glows in the foreground with Amsterdam as the stage, each work interacting with its setting.
The festival asks artists to consider what kinds of messages light transmits in an era of technology, new media and “fake news.” Can light maintain its objectivity? How does it communicate in a way that other mediums simply can’t share? 29 works of art present their own answers to these questions, illuminated each day between 5pm and 11pm. The festival kicked off on November 29th, 2018 and will run through January 20th, 2019.
Among the most dynamic works is ‘Light a Wish’ by OGE group, which dangles rotating dandelions over the city’s canal.
“The enlarged, fuzzy seeds – of which there are 20 in total and measure 2 metres in height – dangle carefully above the canal and glow in a way that makes it look as though they are breathing. With ‘Light a Wish’ the artists visualise the good intentions that we quietly release and (hopefully) encounter again in the future. In this way the illuminated dandelion puffballs are carriers of our deepest desires and dreams.”
“In the old days, blowing dandelion seeds into the air was also done as a superstitious act: the number of seeds that remained signified the number of years you had to wait to get married, how many children you would have with your loved one, or how many years you still had to live. But before we can take a look in the future, we have to wait a little longer for spring.”
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Of all the lights in this year’s @amsterdamlightfestival, this one’s our favourite. Not only because it was created by our own @galilucas, but because it speaks to a little part of all of us. See ‘Absorbed by Light’, a collaboration from our Amsterdam Studio, outside the Hermitage from now until January 2019. . . #amsterdamlightfestival #amsterdam #design #lightart #lightfestival #creativity
If you’re a light artist interested in seeing your own work splashed across Amsterdam, the festival is already calling for concepts for the 2019-2020 season – check it out at the Amsterdam Light Festival website.
Photography by Janus van den Eijnden