Visit Amsterdam Light Festival 2014 – 2015
Forty pieces of art, setting the city in a completely new light, will brighten up the inner city of Amsterdam.
This winter, Amsterdam will light up once again up during the third edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival.
For almost 2 months, the historical center of Amsterdam will be the unique décor for this international festival. The Amsterdam Light Festival is a winter light festival for everyone, regardless of age.
Light Sculptures and Projections
Centred on the theme of ‘A Bright City’, the Amsterdam Light Festival features a canal cruise (Water Colours) and walking route (The Illuminade) taking in this year’s selection of spectacular illuminated artworks.
The festival shows light sculptures and projections of contemporary (international) artists in public space. Amsterdam Light Festival brings light during the darkest period of the year and illuminates the audience with colorful artwork.
Water Colors & Illuminade
The Amsterdam Light Festival 2014/2015 will take place from 27 November 2014 to 18 January 2015. The boat route, Water Colors, will take place from 27 November 2014 to 18 January 2015, and the walking route, Illuminade, from 11 December 2014 to 4 January 2015.
One of the Best Light Festival in Europe!
Recently The Guardian named Amsterdam Light Festival one of the most beautiful light festivals of Europe. Mostly because this is the only light festival where the observer can view the light objects by boat, bringing a completely new dimension to the experience.
Water Colors, the Boatroute
27 November 2014 to 18 January 2015
Experience the festival in a whole new way: from the water! This special boat route through the canals of Amsterdam allows you to enjoy light art, projections and installations by (international) artists. The last boats leave around 9.30 pm and there are no tours on New Year’s Eve.
Will it blow away or continue to rise up towards the heavens? The fate of the card house wobbles between the two: up or down. According to OGE Creative Group – an agency from Israel that specializes in architecture, street art projects and light design in the public space – this is a question that is far from decided. Instead their design, an almost six-meter-high tower of oversized playing cards, remains in a never-ending state of limbo.
OGE Group, founded by award winning architects Merav Eitan (1974, Israel) and Gaston Zahr (1975, Israel), specializes in architecture, design and art projects in urban environments. OGE’s various design projects and concepts aim to capture joyfulness as an integral part, both in the design process and in the use of the audience.
Sometimes art does exactly what it intends to do. This is the case with Water Fun by New Zealand-based architect and light artist Angus Muir. Several spherical buoys float on the water’s surface and are illuminated in a rainbow of colors.
Angus Muir (1988, New Zealand) is creative director and founder of Angus Muir Design, a company that specializes in creating new experiences in public spaces through spatial design, architecture and installations. He believes in the importance on innovation, sustainability and the use of eco-friendly materials. Muir studied architecture at Auckland University.
Amsterdam has more than 1,700 official bridges. This number excludes private bridges; bridges managed by the Rijkswaterstaat and Dutch railway; scaffolding bridges and recreational bridges; as well as the more than 1,400 bridges and viaducts that aren’t numbered. So one more bridge isn’t a problem, especially when it’s a beautiful one like Floating Bridge, a copy of a curved lattice that lights up in different colors.
During his studies in design and cinema in 2003, Leandro Mendes (1982, Brazil) became interested in audiovisual performances. He now creates VJ and video mapping projects. He has presented his work at several international audiovisual festivals, and was recently announced the winner of the VJ TORNA International Competition in Mexico, Italy, South Africa and Turkey.
The facade of de Appel arts centre is illuminated with a selection of Early Projections by the Boyle Family. The Boyle Family is a group of British artists including Mark Boyle (1934-2005), Joan Hills (1931) and their children Sebastian and Georgia.
Ah, the paper boat. Along with the hat and the crane, it’s the world’s most folded origami object. Ridiculously simple (although, how do you start again? Oh yes, with the fold in the middle) and immediately recognizable for young and old. An iconic image, with that lower point in the middle, and the front and rear high and safe.
The boat is often seen as a source of comfort during uncertain and turbulent times, despite its frail and non-water resistant material. Take the wishing boat for those who leave for a long time or the comforting symbol meant for traumatized children who have crossed turbulent bodies of water in a rickety boat.A paper boat floats on a Dutch tugboat, or sloepje, in the water near the Scheepvaartmuseum. The illuminated paper boat, about 60 times the size of a folded origami boat, was conceived and designed by Katja Galyuk of City + Light, office for urban lighting. Its shape is unmistakable. A paper boat! From our childhood! The friendly paper boat has been named Intrepid, meaning ‘brave’, or better yet, ‘audacious’. The boat might refer to the illustrious history of the Dutch East Indies in Amsterdam and the impressive wooden trading ships that once docked here. Instead, with her simple approach, Katja Galyuk highlights what the city stands for: safety and security, a place with beacons and landmarks that have become a part of the daily lives of the city’s residents. In this way, the paper boat is an everyday object that, as the result of a slight transformation, can have a great effect.
Katja Galyuk (Russia/The Netherlands)
Katja Galyuk (1975, Russia/The Netherlands) is a designer and consultant in urban lighting. Before moving to the Netherlands, she studied social geography at Moscow State University and worked at the Department of Urban Planning of the Region of Moscow. She founded her office City+Light to create lightscapes that connect people and the public space.
The human mind loves patterns and structures; they provide us with meaning and give support. In the projection World of shapes, shaping the world, abstract geometric shapes are transformed into figurative images and vice versa. The installation consists of a long roll of film that glides through a projector. A colorful city appears on the facade of NEMO and dissolves into a mathematical pattern from which a city gradually rises.
The Flying Dutchman is back! Anchored in front of ARCAM Amsterdam Center for Architecture and The National Maritime Museum, the 17th century ghost ship rests motionless on the surface of the water. When the wind picks up, the ship comes to life; its sails fill and the vessel sways back and forth. Across the water is the colorful replica of the famous Dutch East India Company ship that started its maiden voyage to Batavia in 1749, but that was wrecked in a storm on the English Channel and fell prey to looters. (For the full story, see the Dutch children’s comic book, Angst op de ‘Amsterdam’, from the Spike and Suzy series.)
VisualSKIN is a team of four young architects from Transylvania: Virgiliu Guraliuc (1985), Alexandra Suciu (1985), Daiana Folea (1988) and Mihai Baba (1986). They are specialized in the creation of additional dimensions using lighting designs and 3D projections in existing locations. They spray objects and buildings with animated pixels to give them a ‘visual skin’.
The Wertheimpark bathes in the glow of a radiant cloud of butterflies, hundreds of which hover above the ground in continuous, upward flight. On the Wings of Freedom is an interactive artwork conceived by Italian design studio Aether & Hemera.
Architect Claudio Benghi (Italy) and lighting artist Gloria Ronchi (Italy) are the founders of London-based studio Aether & Hemera. They studied at the Politecnico di Milano, which Ronchi combined with the Brera Fine Art Academy. In their work, they aim to explore the aesthetics of light to create sensory and interactive experiences. Recent exhibitions include Noche Blanca in Bilbao (2014), Kinetica Art Fair in London (2013) and Vivid Festival in Sydney (2013).
The Hermitage Amsterdam is at the heart of Amsterdam. Here, the city is alive with laughter, with the honking of cars and the exciting rings of passing trams. The river flows like a silver ribbon under the sparkling Skinny Bridge, the water washing up against the piers of the dock. It’s here that you arrive with your luggage. A bag slides from your shoulder while another is secured tightly to your back, an invisible backpack of unresolved issues that makes your head hang low.
alaa minawi (1982, Lebanon) is a visual artist who studied communication arts at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon. He has been working in film, photography and theater in both the Arabic world and in the United States since 2006. alaa minawi is currently working in Lebanon as a lighting designer and writer, and is an interpreter for Iraqi, Syrian, and Sudanese refugees seeking asylum in the United States.
Two gatekeepers are positioned in front of the entrance of the Hermitage Amsterdam on the Amstel River. It’s not a coincidence – the museum is currently showcasing more than 30 paintings of gatekeepers from the 17th and 18th centuries. These monumental paintings by Govert Flinck and Jacob Backer, amongst others, are part of the collections of the Amsterdam Museum and Rijksmuseum.
The most beautiful thing is when nothing is what it seems; when you think you know exactly how something is but after further investigation, discover it’s completely different. Take this lighthouse. It’s not a lighthouse but a shipping container that has been cast on the shore and has lost its cargo along the way. After being taken along by the wind and the waves, this heavy object has ended up on its side on solid ground. Safe above ground, several miniature people have built a home on the container: a small wooden white house surrounded by a white picket fence. Light shines from the house at night, in which the pioneers sit, read their books and admire the views of the Amstelsluizen.
David Lesort (1976, France) and Arnaud Giroud (1977, France) founded design studio Pitaya in 2004. They met while studying industrial creation and design at the Leonard de Vinci Art School in Villefontaine, and now focus on innovative luminous objects in public spaces. Their installations have been presented at various festivals including the Lyon Light Festival, Ghent Light Festival and Arbres en Lumières in Geneva.
www.pitaya-light.comThis work has been made possible with the help of Waterschap Amstel, Gooi and Vecht.Amsterdam and water are inseparable. The city conquered water, and its position on the river has made it one of the most important trading cities in the world. But water has also always been a reason for concern. Polluted canals caused diseases. The city has had to protect itself against flooding from the IJ, and the water levels constantly need to be managed. The river Amstel remains very important for water management in Amsterdam. Waterschap Amstel, Gooi and Vecht ensures Amsterdam’s residents safety, and provides clean and sufficient water. Without Waterschap, the city would be underwater.
“People make the place,” is the conceptual starting point of the The Sphere of Amsterdam. How is Amsterdam actually doing? Did Ajax just lose a match, leaving the city with an air of disappointment? Or radiate love? Are we all looking forward to the weekend?
The bridge is the perfect connection between two parallel experiences, those of being on the water and being on the street although we don’t often stop to think about it. When you cross a bridge, you rise above ground level – above the rush of the city – and you look over the water, or beyond, into the future. When passing underneath, an unseen, century- old part of the city is revealed.
Lightbridge, by design agency Tjep., is an ode to Amsterdam’s bridges, much like an actual bridge, functions as a connector itself. The artwork not only draws on bridging our experiences of the city from the street and the water but attempts to connect the 17th century architecture of Amsterdam’s canals to the newest developments along the shores of the IJ.
Tjep. refers playfully to Amsterdam’s most iconic lights: the ones that line the arches of Amsterdam’s bridges. The lights used by Tjep. in Lightbridge react to movements, from both the street and the water, and respond with computer-controlled lighting effects. Never before has an artwork so beautifully bridged the gap between what was and what is to come.
Frank Tjepkema / Tjep. (The Netherlands)
Frank Tjepkema (1970, The Netherlands) graduated from the Design Academy in Eindhoven in 1996. He started his own design studio, Studio Tjep., in 2001 and was Department Head at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam from 2001 to 2004. His work has been selected by Droog Design and has been included in several international museum collections such as the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Tjep. won the Dutch Design Awards twice in 2004 with his design for the British Airways executive lounge and the jewelry design piece Bling Bling.
If you have read Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or seen the film adaptation with Johnny Depp, you know that the Californian city Barstow is the last stop before the madness of the games and entertainment paradise that is Las Vegas begins. “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold,” Thompson wrote. That’s the exact moment the trip can begin.
Barstow is also the name of the Dutch artist collective consisting of Steven Bos, Susan Lanting and Gover Meit. The name is not a coincidence, of course. Stichting Barstow has a passion for the spectacular, for artworks that don’t find themselves in the confines of white walled spaces but in the public space for all to admire their compelling presence. The artwork made by Stichting Barstow immerses the audience in a world where other laws apply: the laws of spectacle.Take the moon on the roof. We all know that Moonburn is a large balloon painted with glow-in-the-dark paint. Although considerably smaller than the real moon – 6 meters in diameter versus 3,475 kilometers – the balloon appears larger than the moon, and its presence really shakes things up. The skyline of Amsterdam is different than usual and something special has been added: spectacle.The nice thing about ‘simple’ additions like these, or actual imitations of natural phenomena, is that we are able to better appreciate the originals. In 2003, Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, whose body of work consists mostly of imitating various natural phenomena such as rainbows, waterfalls and fog, created a shining sun in the large Turbine Hall of London’s Tate Modern.Of course, visitors realized this was an illusion. But those who witnessed this art performance will never forget it. It’s hard not to think of this artist when seeing the sun set over the sea. The only thing Eliasson did was recreate something that existed long before us and that we can enjoy daily. For Stichting Barstow, it wasn’t enough just to imitate the moon. They had to add something, something to connect the moon to the city. Better yet, connect it with the craziness of the city, the lights, the crowds. There’s a reason why the title of the work is Moonburn; in the same way that the sun can have an affect on our behavior, so does the moon. Some people actually go a little crazy. Lunatism, although never scientifically proven, is a condition that describes sleep-walking and mood swings during the presence of a full moon.Now the moon reflects the light of Amsterdam. At night, the moon charges with the energy radiated by the city. In return, Moonburn ensures temporary insanity in the minds of those who look up and find themselves in another dimension, the last stop before total absurdity.
Stichting Barstow (The Netherlands)
Artists Steven Bos (1984), Susan Lanting (1982) and theater director Gover Meit (1987) founded the collective Stichting Barstow in 2014. They graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 2009, and Bos and Lanting continued their education at The Sandberg Institute. Meit has produced many theater plays and strives to combine various art disciplines. Bos and Lanting create visual experiences using modern techniques like 3D video. As Stichting Barstow they explore new forms of visual spectacle.
There is no other city in the world where you can find as many nationalities as Amsterdam; the city’s 800,000 residents represent 178 nationalities.
Saskia Hoogendoorn (1973, The Netherlands) studied social psychology at the University of Amsterdam while Lieuwe Martijn Wijnands (1970, The Netherlands) studied design management at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute and culture, organization and management at Amsterdam’s VU University. They have been working together as Tijdmakers since 2006 and create projects that connect people based on a principle of ‘social flow’, or informing, involving and activating others to create new energy and ideas.
Mirrors and light. You don’t need much more to create the perfect illusion. In the Californian desert, close to Joshua Tree National Park, artist Phillip K. Smith applied mirrors and LED lights to the boards, windows and doors of an old wooden house. When the sun had set and the warmth of the day lingered on the ground, the hut appeared almost like a mirage in the horizon. There are great photographs of the artwork to be found on the Internet.
Jacques Rival (1972, France) is an architect who studied at L’École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture in Lyon. He has used light in his installations and designs since 2000. His work, mostly done in urban spaces, uses color to attract the attention of passersby. Rival’s work has been shown at many international festivals including Amsterdam Light Festival 2013, Dubai Festival of Lights 2014 and Jerusalem Light Festival 2014.
LIGHT(onda)FLOW. It’s not an easy title. It becomes a lot clearer when you know that ‘onda’ means ‘waves’ in Spanish and Portuguese. LIGHT(onda)FLOW is the poetic representation of the fusion of light and water in an undulating, serpentine-like movement, mirroring the movements of the two natural phenomena.
Lighting designers Carla Jardim (1977, Brazil) and Fabienne Cuny (1977, France) have backgrounds in architecture. Lola Solanilla (1974, Spain) is specialized in ephemeral architecture, and Marga Vicens (1980, Spain) combines architectural lighting projects and the world of showbiz. They have all completed the Lighting Design Postgraduate Program at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona.
You might not have heard but the United Nations has proclaimed the year 2015 as the International Year of Light. Light is used in art, in science, in health, in nature, at home, and just about everywhere else. Light is so pervasive that we hardly ever stop to think about it. This is the case even though energy shortages may become a serious problem in the not so distant future. What better place to highlight this issue than a light festival where the city’s beauty and power of innovation are literally illuminated, albeit in the most sustainable manner.
Loop.pH is a London-based spatial laboratory founded in 2003 by Mathias Gmachl (1974, Austria) and Rachel Wingfield (1978, United Kingdom). Wingfield graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2001 and Gmachl has a background in experimental music. They operate across the fields of design, architecture and science. Their work can be found in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, Museum of Modern Art New York, and Bloomberg Art Collection.
Tulip mania, or tulpengekte, tulpenwoede, bollenrazernij in Dutch are all words that refer to the hysterical tulip trade in Holland and Utrecht in the 17th century, the first economic bubble in world history. During those days, a bag of tulip bulbs, imported a century earlier from the Ottoman Empire, was worth so much after a period of three years that you could buy a row of canal houses for them. And then, just like that, the lucrative trade collapsed in 1637.
This winter, the tulip craze returns to Amsterdam. Over by the bridge at the Herengracht and the Leidsestraat, two colorfully lit beds of tulips rise from the water.The tulips don’t just rise from the water spontaneously, however, just as the economic boom in the 17th century didn’t fall from the sky. Instead, it was the result of prosperous trading and people working together. Working together is what defined the Dutch Golden Age and what these tulips need to rise above the water; they require actual human strength.That’s the reason for the 20 pumps that line the bridge. Those who want to discover tulip mania in 2014 will have to work for it. City residents, passersby, tourists – everyone is invited to participate in this collaborative project. Pump, and let the tulips bloom.
Eibert Draisma and Aoife Wullur (The Netherlands)
Designer, inventor and artist Eibert Draisma (1966, The Netherlands) started his own design firm after graduating from the Design Academy Eindhoven. His products range from karaoke singing robots to speaking coffee machines and dancing lamps. Designer and creative co-creator Aoife Wullur (1985, The Netherlands) graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2011, and creates conceptual designs with a technological touch.
In 1979 American multimedia artist Rudi Stern published his manifesto Let There Be Neon, a history of neon lighting and its implementation in art, architecture and advertisements. Stern dreamed in neon lights. In 1981 he said, “I have plans for neon sidewalks, neon highways, neon tunnels; neon on bridges, under water and alongside the contours of trees in the park.”
Founded in 1987, artist collective Tropism has been active again since 2012. Cofounder and media artist Alfred Marseille (1961) and technician Paul Godschalk (1957) worked together to create this piece, THIS IS IT, BE HERE NOW. The collective creates artworks, installations, soundscapes and films, as well as curating complete exhibitions like Photosynthesis in the Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam (2013) and Edinburgh, Scotland’s Botanic Gardens (2015).www.tropisme.nl
Contribute to the interactive projection Lux Turba Sensus. Developed by Univate, the projection is fed by real-time big data collected during the Amsterdam Light Festival. Add your own content to the installation using the hashtag #AMSTERDAMLIGHT.
Cities contain a certain kind of magic. They’re exciting. But it’s an excitement that’s hard to describe. Amsterdam Light Festival calls this phenomenon Couleur Locale, an essential component to experiencing the city. Fourteen different colored filters have been added to street lanterns to symbolize Amsterdam’s rich couleur locale. What is your favorite color?
A champagne bubble bath. The end of the tubes of Willie Wonka’s miraculous chocolate factory. Vanishing holes to unknown solar systems. Perfect soap bubbles that float endlessly towards the heavens. You can see just about anything in the light circles hovering above Amsterdam’s Herengracht, the realization of French artist Géraud Périole. You can be as poetic or prosaic about it as you want. Périole entitled his artwork Effervescence, which actually means (the) bubbling, fizzing and foaming.
Géraud Périole (1968, France) is specialized in the lighting of historical buildings and public spaces. He currently focuses on event lighting and is especially drawn to the combination of technical innovation and artistic expression. He acquired his technical background while studying construction sciences at the University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France. His work has been presented at the Arbres et Lumières Festival in Genvea, Switzerland, and at the Fête des Lumières Festival in Lyon, France.
Some places require an archway. Take the Melkmeisjesbrug, for example, the narrow, pedestrian-only bridge that connects the Brouwersgracht and Herengracht. Providing an almost magical entrance to the city center, it’s hard not to imagine an archway over this bridge. This winter, this wish has become a reality. Amsterdam-based architect Rob van Houten has designed Circle of Life specifically for the Melkmeisjesbrug, a ring of light around the bridge that, when we are at its highest point, makes it seem as though we are floating above the city.
Circle of Life is a Möbius strip, or a loop with only one surface and one side. It was named after the German mathematician and astrologer August Ferdinand Möbius who discovered the loop in 1858. It quickly became a symbol for eternity, and was used by Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher in drawings and etchings from the 1960s; in one drawing he depicted ants marching on a Möbius strip-like grid.Circle of Life is also about eternity, about the endless stream of water in the canals and the rush of people to the city. The colors of the ring also play an important role in this scene. It starts off in a milky white color, depicting an empty city needing to be filled with life. When someone crosses the Melkmeisjesbrug, the intense light flows in both directions and blends together to form new colors.It’s a different experience from the water. When a boat passes the bridge, the ring’s milky white light reflect the light dancing along the sides of the canals at night; more rough and wild at first, until the water settles and the calmness returns. And then everything starts all over again: shake, light up and settle – Circle of Life functions just like the city itself.
Rob van Houten (The Netherlands)
Rob van Houten (1971, The Netherlands) is an architect, engineer and designer. He studied architecture and building technology at the TU Delft. He works in Amsterdam and New York City and teaches design and building technology at TU Delft. He also has experience in lighting design, both natural and artistic.
Artists were briefed about the theme and story of this year’s edition of Amsterdam Light Festival in March. We asked them to celebrate the city as a place to broaden perspectives, to create new ideas with others, and to explore the city’s history and future.
Illuminade Walking Route
The walking route takes you past several inspiring light artworks of the Amsterdam Light Festival. During this unique international exhibition, young and established (international) artists will present their creations in the public space. Works include aprojections on historical buildings, installations on the street or in public parks, or works that require visitor participation. A unique experience in the darkest months of the year. More information about the Illuminade Walking Route