Highlights from Amsterdam Light Festival


The city of Amsterdam returns each year to illuminate its streets, waterways and skyline with carefully thought-out light installations by a pool of renowned international artists, designers and architects from all over the world. This year, the capital of Netherlands was once again transformed into a fairy-tale of lights with over 30 pieces of illuminated artwork.


This year’s theme centred on ‘The Medium is the Message’, a famous quote from Canadian scientist Marshall McLuhan who coined the phrase to describe the symbiotic relationship and influence between the message and medium. Particularly in this winter festival, it fittingly discussed the role of light in conveying messages and highlighted the ways in which the city told stories to all its visitors. The dazzling display of light and shimmer came to an end just yesterday after sparkling since November 29th of 2018. Here are some of this year’s most captivating installations:


Absorbed by Light by Gali May Lucas


Gali May Lucas’ ‘Absorbed by Light’ features the use of three sculptures and light to confront visitors with the cold hard reality of smartphone usage on how it’s alienating, painful and even superficially puzzling. This installation cleverly spotlighted the polarising use of lights in the festival as art and in our daily life as a detachment.


Aftereal by Yasuhiro Chida


‘Aftereal’ by Japanese artist, Yasuhiro Chida, features the use of hundreds of moving elastic wires to mimic the wave-like movements that lingers in one’s mind after observing something that emits light. Chida’s installation plays with that idea and was put together to closely resemble the fleeting images formed when you look at sparklers. His mind-bending light show enveloped an entire field and gave visitors an unforgettable otherworldly experience of floating lights.


Desire by UxU Studio


UxU Studio arranged over 1,500 lamps to form a mouth that when viewed sideways, changes shape to resemble a heartbeat. The mouth/lips are interlinked to the heartbeat as they are both agencies of desire – hence the name of the installation.


Starry Night by Ivana Jelic & Pavle Petrovic


The ‘Starry Night’ installation pays homage to Vincent Van Gough’s famous ‘Starry Night’ painting (1889) and highlighted the ironic reality of light pollution in cities like Amsterdam. The installation consisted of the use of over 1,400 electric acrylic tubes to create a dizzying swirl of lights that served as a great reminder to our everyday contradictions.


View all the artworks on display at Amsterdam Light Festival here.

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