My Amsterdam Light Festival favourites

The impressive light installations of this year

PHOTOGRAPHY by Kimberley Zondag

The flowing, moving lights appearing out of the darkness…

The sixth edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival has officially started. 36 artworks – exclusively designed for the festival – will illuminate the city centre. This year, all the artists based their work on a central theme: ‘Existential’. And I had the chance to go – as one of the first – on a boat tour through the canals! These are my favourites:

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Light Matters

Light Matters is one of my favourites installations, which illustrates the existentialism of light. You can enjoy the artwork by sailing on the canal or from the park, as a pedestrian. A flowing moving light appears, out of the darkness, in between the trees, dancing in the middle of the sky, like a mirage. An invisible surface catches the light and keeps it as the only visible element, creating an immersive experience. A cloud of light, brought down to earth, floating above the spectators, between sky and water.

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Whole Hole

The science fiction influenced installation, Whole Hole, consists of hundreds of LED strips, reminding you of melting ice or falling stars. When entering the Whole Hole, you are pulled into a kind of wormhole in which you move faster than light. You travel to another place in space or even to a parallel universe, like Alice who accidentally ended up in Wonderland after she fell into the rabbit hole. You will make the journey of existence, which begins and ends with a movement towards the light: a baby that is born sees the light of day, and whoever dies sees the light at the end of the tunnel. If you look closely you will see that the water in the canal plays an essential role: the reflection on the surface completes the half arch of the bridge into a full circle.

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City Gazing

Citygazing consists of a huge city map of Amsterdam, consisting of a structure of thin cables and flexible wires with LED light, floats above the canal. The installation turns your world upside down for a moment. You would usually only be able to see this view looking down on a city, from an aeroplane; now it is right above your head and replaces the starry night while you boat underneath. Bruns and Vogel show us an impression of the ‘footprint’ of light that we send into space.