Amsterdam Light Festival; Edition #8

The 8th Edition of the festival, started in last november. Amsterdam Light festival is actually a big outdoor exhibition. This years theme “disrupt” is marked all over each and every piece. Festival can be discovered by boat tour specially made for the occasion or the walking routes which you can find on the official website. Here is this years artworks:

BIG BANG, UxU Studio
According to the artists of the collective Uxu Studio, there’s nothing that symbolises disruption – and destruction, war, and aggression – more than a bomb. Their blue-lit bomb BIG BANG hangs somewhat threateningly in the air like it is just about to hit the water.

THE CRACKS, Karolina Howorko
There is a crack, a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in,” legendary Canadian singer and poet Leonard Cohen sang in his song Anthem (1992). Striving for perfection makes little sense, Cohen said, because life is simply about change and decay. Yet there is always hope, and we must embrace the imperfections in what we do and what we make; damage and defects define the character of a person or an object.

Illuminated laundry hangs to dry on washing lines, as though it were a summer day in Amsterdam. Glowing white garments, and a cheerful collection of blouses, T-shirts, underwear, trousers and dresses, hang on either side of the canal. There are also some special items of clothing such as a pair of wide Turkish pants, a traditional Jewish dress, and a Moroccan djellaba. Together these pieces represent the cultural and ethnic mix of residents in the city. 

ATLANTIS, Utskottet
You may identify the image of an international metropolis plagued by floods and other natural disasters from blockbuster films like Deep Impact (1998) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004). With the sinking city, Atlantis, Utskottet demonstrates how this menacing scene can become a frightening reality.

With his installation Nothing Holding Us, Ben Zamora shows us that nothing should hold us back. Not even the disruptive shock of a totally life-changing experience, which he has depicted with dozens of light tubes in the form of an explosion that seems to be frozen in time. The painful shock of losing a loved one, or the excitement and joy you feel when a new person comes into your life – your life will never be the same again and that offers room for perspective and development.

NACHT TEKENING, Krijn de Koning
The Skinny Bridge counts around 1,800 light bulbs that are responsible for lighting up the contours of the bridge at night. This type of illumination is typical for Amsterdam bridges: the arches are accentuated by the concentration of light bulbs, and together they provide a unique and coherent cityscape.The artwork has two faces: during the day, the image of Amsterdam’s most famous bridge remains intact, but when night falls and the lights turn on, it is completely disrupted. The monumental light drawing distorts, distances, and comments on the existing image of the bridge as we know it. With this two-dimensional play of forms and light lines, De Koning has succeeded in turning the Skinny Bridge into an abstract drawing.
Artist Laila Azra transforms Amsterdam’s Amstel River into a red carpet. Photographers and fans have flocked to the docks on either side of the Amstel lock passage, surprising passengers in passing boats with the flashes of their cameras.

Movement is key to Lambert Kamp’s 7-metre-high installation. Nine luminous circles continuously rotate in and out of each other.For the artist, the moving rings represent the dynamic and rapidly-evolving world that we live in.

BUTTERFLY EFFECT, Masamichi Shimada
Seven gigantic butterflies have landed on the surface of the canal. The butterflies not only rise and fall with the movement of the water caused by passing boats, but their wings glow blue against the dark night. At first sight, the artwork seems to portray a peaceful, almost magical scene. But with his artwork Butterfly Effect, Masamichi Shimada attempts to portray how something as delicate as a butterfly can possess such immense power.

ICEBREAKER, Wilhelmusvlug
Ice skating is a winter tradition in the Netherlands.With global warming, skating on frozen waters such as the Amsterdam canals is becoming less and less likely. Icebreaker is an artwork that reminds us of when the canals would freeze over every year, but simultaneously a warning for the results of global warming.

HIDING IN THE WOLF’S LAIR, Republic of Amsterdam Radio & Nomad Tinker House
Four ominously lit-up wolves have suddenly appeared on the edge of the ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo. They have gathered around a group of people who are hiding in the attic of one of the wooden buildings along the water, but what exactly are wolves doing roaming free in this scene, designed by the collectives Republic of Amsterdam Radio and Nomad Tinker House? Important clue: an envelope containing poems written by resistance fighters during the Second World War was discovered between the roof tiles of these former storage houses in 2013.
DE NACHTLOERRRDERS, 72andSunny Creative Collective
Hidden in the darkest of darkness, down amongst the bushes or high in a tree, we see their strange, unfamiliar eyes shining out at us. These eyes are here to show us a possible future evolution, one that we humans could soon be faced with if we continue disturbing animal habitats with our ever expanding cities that light up the night skies.

With Between the Lines Holland demonstrates that the crane can be much more than a retired machine. For Hollands, elements and rhythms in urban constructions, which often go unnoticed in our day to day, form the basis of a magical play of light. The city comes to life in a new way in ‘the domain of the fantasy’, as Hollands beautifully describes the night.

SURFACE TENSION, Tom Biddulph & Barbara Ryan
The artists have transformed part of Amsterdam’s famous canal into a drowned city street: the spooky, glowing silhouettes of swept-up cars, lamp posts and traffic signs rise out of the water, a ghostly vision of what could happen. Biddulph and Ryan’s background in graphic design is clearly visible in the piece: it is a spatial line drawing, made of light.

Colourful, flickering and illuminated Korean signs compete for your attention on the Schippersgracht in Amsterdam. EON SLD’s installation contains about 40 replicas of traditional signs, neon signs and lightboxes that represent the 1950s to the present, as well as several newly designed signs. The jumble in which these signs have been presented on the quay are typical of a Korean shopping street.

By combining hard, scientific facts and intense laser light, Ersted generates a performance that is simultaneously confronting and poetic. It is no coincidence that Ersted’s installation can be seen on the facade of the Maritime Museum. From 4 October 2019 until 10 May 2020, the worldwide impact of the ice melt and sea level rise are the focus of the exhibitions Scramble for the Arctic and Rising Tide by Kadir van Lohuizen.

Light always takes a moment to travel from one point to another – one second to cover 300,000 kilometres to be precise – and to reach our eyes. The travel time varies from, for example, eight minutes for the light from the sun to reach the earth, to millions of years from a star at the edge of our universe. This means that the information that light brings us, like how long ago that distant star was born, is always dated. Exactly that is the focus of Alicia Eggert’s artwork ‘All the Light You See’. As in many of her works, Eggert uses a poetic statement written in light that changes meaning with a small intervention. Part of the text in ‘All the Light You See is From the Past’ occasionally switches off, making her message even simpler, ‘All You See is Past’. ‘All the Light You See’ is therefore a memento mori (Latin for ‘reflection on mortality’), an artwork that reminds us that in a short while, we too will belong to the past.

NOBODY, Gabriel Lester
The title given to the installation by Lester, Nobody, says a lot about its meaning. It is the English translation of the Latin word ‘nemo’ – not exactly a coincidence that this is also the name of the science museum. With this work, Lester asks the question of whether man is still ‘someone’ of significance in a world that is increasingly controlled (or dominated) by technology.

AD. EMPTY DOMINATION, M. Watjer, J. Pielkenrood en W. Brand
Two enlarged billboards, or light boxes meant for outdoor advertising, are displayed prominently on the quay. The advertisements are missing; instead, the boxes are marked by their emptiness and the harsh white light they emit. Research has shown that when people are on the move, they often have a positive attitude, are alert, make plans, and are open to visual communication. Too often brands have taken advantage of this, which has resulted in the fact that many of our public spaces are dominated by advertisements. The daily flood of hidden messages regarding how we should live and what we should think controls us and, in some cases, causes overstimulation. Breitner Academy students Pielkenrood, Watjer and Brand created a work of art that disrupts this vicious cycle and dominates the space with an overwhelming nothingness.

Amsterdam Light Festival will be keeping up with the rhythm of the streets and many canals of the city of Amsterdam during  28 November 2019 – 19 January 2020. For more information visit the official website of the festival.



Sinem Erman

Sinem graduated in 2011 from Istanbul Technical University in Turkey with a BA in Interior Architecture and completed her MDes in Living and Interior Design at Domus Academy in 2013, she joined Planlux in 2018.