Denmark is located in the high latitude of the northern hemisphere. February is still one of the shortest months of the year; how to spend these long and cold winter nights? The answer is: to banish the darkness with light.
From February 3-26, the 6th Copenhagen Light Art Festival was held as scheduled. Artists worldwide used light and shadow to leave impressive works in all corners of the city, including many thoughts on nature, human society and other profound issues.
It is worth mentioning that Copenhagen, recognized as one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world, is still implementing its concept of sustainable development in this festival.
According to the official information, the electricity consumption of a full day of the festival in Copenhagen is equivalent to the total electricity consumption of three fully charged electric cars (75 kWh X 3 = 225 kWh); the electricity consumption in three weeks will be equivalent to 3/4 of the electricity used in a professional soccer match held at AGF Stadium in Aarhus (more than 7,000 kWh).
Here’s a tour of the Copenhagen Light Festival with Darkless.
Creator: Anna Rosa Hiort-Lorenzen
On Earth, we coexist with various creatures that likely see the world in a completely different way than we do, such as insects that can perceive ultraviolet wavelengths, which means they can see colours that we cannot.
The creators drew creative inspiration from Estonian biologist Jakob von Uexkull’s concept of the environment and his examination of how different species in different times and spaces, with different subjective perceptions, experience their surroundings.
During the day, the piece is an installation with branches, leaves, pods, fungal mycelium and rhizomes, but it lights up in shades of ultraviolet light when darkness falls.
The installation demonstrates how humans observe the natural world around them during the day and how insects perceive things at night. Sadly, the work was destroyed by a storm on February 17.
Creator: Those Guys Lighting
The light installation is located in Vestre Kirkegård, the largest cemetery in Denmark. The red glowing semicircle resembles a setting sun – a metaphor for death – and a rising sun – a new beginning.
A white letter hanging in Vestre Kirkegård Cemetery, which blends in with its surroundings during the day and is illuminated by light at night, represents our thoughts for our departed loved ones.
TIME AND PLACE
Creator: Tokyo Blue
The installation is in Søndre Kapel, a chapel that has remained unchanged through the ages. The hanging discs represent the changes in the oval sunlight that illuminates the chapel’s interior walls at different times of the year.
Creator: CLF Ball & Brand, Arkitekturhovedstad 2023
Copenhagen was officially named World Architecture Capital 2023 by the Director-General of UNESCO. The light installation WHITE BEAMS was created to celebrate the city’s great honour. It was first lit up on the opening day of the World Architecture Capital on January 17.
The installation consists of 11 beams of white light emanating from the tower of Copenhagen City Hall and directed to every district of Copenhagen.
PÅ DEN ANDEN SIDE AF SOLEN
Creator: Marie Nørgaard Nielsen
While clothes usually have two sides: the front and the back, these hanging luminous garments have three sides, which seem to perform a ritual and have some mysterious power.
Creator: Mani Nikdel
As if everything could be hidden in this endless hypercube, including truths and lies, nothing has changed, as the Danish seismologist Inger Lehmann proved in 1936 that the earth’s core is an unchanging fact.
Creator: Theaterpixels by Frederik D. Hougs and Claus Boysen
The device responds in real time to information provided by the Danish Meteorological Service about wind conditions in Copenhagen.
Creator: Maj D
Plastic is very cheap but breaks easily and does not degrade easily, which is a high price for the climate. The installation, created with 25 volunteers from 16 countries on 4 continents, is covered with blue plastic items collected by the citizens of Oddsherred, Denmark, in cooperation with the municipal recycling depot, and visitors can step inside the installation for a tour.
Creator: Hans E. Madsen
Reproduce the light of the sun in the darkness of the night.
Creator: Markus Anders
A nautilus washed up on the dock.
DANCING ON WATER
Creator: Arthur van der Zaag
Two beams of light swim nimbly in the water, like two dancers dancing the tango.
Creator: Tokyo Blue
The LED lights on the bridge are modified with analog colored filters, just like seawater flowing underneath the feet, like a dream.
A pair of wings appear in the dark sky over Copenhagen, and as one moves around the installation, one notices a moiré on the bird’s wings.
OUR BEATING HEART
Creator: Studio Vertigo
A glittering heart-shaped ball of lights was slowly rotating, attracting everyone’s attention and evoking a sense of love and unity.
Creator: Mads Vegas
“Knips” means “snap”, and when the lights “snap” on, a bridge built in the early 17th century is illuminated and the underside of the bridge, once hidden in darkness, becomes a beautiful sight.
Creator: Julien Menzel
In Greek mythology, the mountain nymph Echo is forever cursed to repeat what others say to her. Echo later falls in love with the young man Narcissus, but since they have difficulty communicating, her love will be a tragedy. In the end, Narcissus falls in love with his mirror image, which is why Echo and the mirror image are tragically linked in Greek mythology.
The artist uses a series of triangular light-emitting devices to visualize “echoes,” which seems to suggest the communication problem of modern people, who only listen to the voice that agrees with their position and only fall into the information cocoon.
FRAGMENTS OF REALITY
Creator: Alessandro Lupi
The canal next to the Nybrogade 26 Hotel is covered with a web of small mirrors, each representing a fragment, a metaphor for today’s age of fragmentation.
Creator: Tine Bek
The installation projects meditative scenes filmed among the bent pines of Atherbo Plantation’s Trowel des Corvin on the exterior walls of the Palace Theatre, with recorded sound effects from the Theatre Museum’s attic. The palace theater is completely and carefully renovating its 300-year-old wooden interior.
Creator: Michaël Verlinden
This is an interactive light projection installation; when people step on this digital wool blanket, the projection will imitate the effect of depression accordingly. Through this installation, the creator poses a question to visitors: If the digital world comes true and human movement becomes digital, what will our lives become?
Creator: Arash Nourinejad / Anour
A tribute to the islands of Brygge and Langebro. The archway concludes Anour’s 10th anniversary with 10 new “I-models” hung in the GoBoat Club. The animated lights are a vivid image of the city’s life.
Creator: Cédric Marquis
“MIRAGE” is originally a French word referring to the natural phenomenon of a mirage. The installation uses thin strips of light to create an ethereal image: the scene in front of you is somehow real, even though it does not exist, and so is “hope,” even though what you hope for has not yet become a reality.
Creator: Julien Menzel
Named after Plato, the Platonic entities are regular convex polyhedra composed of tetrahedra, cubes, octahedra, dodecahedra, and icosahedra.
The device is a tetrahedron composed of four square triangles. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato associated the five Platonic entities with the four classical elements (fire, air, water, and earth) and the divine. He believed that the tetrahedron was associated with fire because the heat of the fire was sharp and tingling, just as the most pointedly shaped positive tetrahedron gives the sensation.
Creator: Mads Vegas & ANGER
“Celestial Garments” is a collaboration between South Tyrolean musicians Julian Angerer, Nora Pider, and Danish light artist Mads Vegas. Thin cloths “colored” by light flutter in the wind under the bridge, as if they were pieces of the sky scattered on the earth.
“Dreamcatcher” originated from the Ojibwe language spoken by the native people of North America, meaning “spider”.
Creator: Gertjan Adema
The shape of this installation is inspired by the giant buzzing gyro used by Dutch composer Peter Schat (1935-2003) in his work “To You”.
Its exterior is laminated with a mirrored mosaic that reflects fascinating light as it rotates, accompanied by the buzzing of the gyroscope and the sound of breaking glass. Each mosaic fragment has its direction of reflection, representing the diversity of people’s perspectives.
Creator: Danai Lytra
The light installation is made of translucent material and is suspended from an artificial lake behind which is a nature reserve.
Creator: TATI Studio x Grace Chan
The device is inspired by the idea of uniting individual strengths, with built-in motion sensors that interact with visitors.
“Incanto” means magical, mysterious or unexpected event in Italian. The installation projects the dream world into a three-dimensional landscape through abstract visual art.
Creator: Mads Vegas
This candle arch will be decorated at the Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, Winter Solstice and Holy Candlemas, each time with seasonal flowers, berries, fruits and vegetation. In this way, the piece changes with the seasons and gains increasing power as a portal to the seasons to come.
Creator: Mariliis Kundla and Katrin Kivisikk
The walkway through Remy Sepacon is lit up with colorful dynamic light patterns.
Creator: Jan Kuck
Arachne is a character in Roman literature. To save her, Minerva transformed Arachne into a woman with a spider-like upper body and eight legs to live in a huge spider web and weave constantly.
Historically, women mainly undertook textile work, but men took up the benefits. Today, women are still exploited in poor working conditions and international textile companies led by men still vested interests. This luminous blanket is, on the one hand, an indictment and critique of the patriarchal power structure and, on the other hand, an expression of praise for the power of women.
The installation is made in the shape of a wave, recreating the image of seawater rushing towards the pier under a violent storm on the ground, signifying that the powerlessness of struggle can be overcome if human beings unite.
Creator: Hubert Kurkiewicz & Cong Liu
Five unique animations are projected onto the surface of the concrete sculpture, which are both hand-drawn illustrations and 3D animations.
KÆRE GUD (DEAR GOD)
Creator: Jakob Fälling, Bobby Salomon Hess & Ole Samsøe
This work, in the form of a cartoon with beautiful voices, projects reflections on the themes of Muslim prayer rituals, meditations on death and quiet evening prayers on the façade of the Church of the Holy Spirit.
The artists use “light” to paint in the darkness, outlining their understanding of the city and the world, perhaps they are not as straightforward and sharp as words, but this kind of sensual vibration can also touch the heart. Which of the above works touches you the most? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section!