Amsterdam Light Festival


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The Medium is the Message“, the famous quote by Canadian scientist Marshall McLuhan, is the theme of the 7th edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival. The displays are mostly along the interior canals and designed to be viewed from the water as well as the shore. We’d seen several of the displays while walking through the city at night, and had been looking forward to seeing them the way they are best viewed: from the water.

Below are trip highlights from January 11th, in Amsterdam, NL. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps

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Desire
The lighted lips in the Desire entry near our marina, the only one on the IJ River rather than inside the canals. When viewed from the side, the lips morph into heartbeats.
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Mr. J.J. van der Veldebrug
Artist Peter Vink used in the pedestrian bridge Mr. J.J. van der Veldebrug for his display of the same name. Vink traced the triangles of the bridge with bright white light, extending them out above and below the bridge.
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Sea Palace
The multi-story pagoda-styled Sea Palace Chinese restaurant lit up at night. It’s not officially a part of the Amsterdam Light Festival, but it looks great at night against the Amsterdam skyline.
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Night Vision
Boats passing through the Night Vision display represent light entering the eye.
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NEMO Science Museum
Looking up at the NEMO Science Museum, designed in the shape of a ship’s hull.
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Shadow Scapes
Silhouettes based on the Maritime Museum’s collection projected onto the museum’s building in the Shadow Scapes display.
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Nieuwe Herengracht
Entering Nieuwe Herengracht, a 1658 extension to the Herengracht canal that was dug in 1612.
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Natuurlijk Licht
In Natuurlijk Licht, artist Meke Vrienten uses household appliances such as refrigerators to demonstrate that light always surrounds us, day and night, from devices not intended as lamps.
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Continuum
Using filters and reflected light, the colors in Continuum change depending on the viewing angle.
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Parabolic Lightcloud
The shape of Parabolic Lightcloud is based on the the mathematical figure the Fibonacci spiral.
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Neighbours
Short animations projected in light onto the quay of the Schippersgracht in Neighbours.
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Walter Suskind Bridge
The double-drawbridge Walter Suskind Bridge over the Nieuwe Herengracht where it connects to the Amstel River. The bridge’s namesake helped Jews escape from the Nazis during World War II.
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Blauwbrug
Canal boat passing under the historic Blauwbrug over the Amstel River, built in 1883 following the design of bridges over the Seine River in Paris.
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Magere Brug
Looking south to the Magere Brug (“skinny bridge”) over the Amstel River. The bridge has been rebuilt several times, but was originally called Kerkstraatbrug . Locals called it the “skinny bridge” because it is so narrow and the name stuck.
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Code
The letters and numbers in Code are the address of an online wallet, in a reference to how cryptocurrency has become one of the ‘languages’ of the digital age.
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Spider on the Bridge
Spider on the Bridge is made up of 80 smaller spiders using tubes of LED light programmed so that the creatures appear to actually crawl.
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Ode Aan De Mol
Ode Aan De Mol reproduces the words chosen by the US Department of Energy’s Futures Panel to warn those in the distant future who might stumble across a nuclear waste storage site because it was felt the standard nuclear radiation warning symbol might not be understood. The first three visible panels read “This place is a message… and part of a system of messages… pay attention to it!” The complete text is at This Place is not A Place of Honor.
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Two Lamps
The two huge lamps in Jeroen Henneman’s Two Lamps display.
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Starry Night
Starry Night was inspired by Van Gogh’s painting of the same name.
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Midnight Summer Dream
Inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream play, the Midnight Summer Dream is an example of ‘upcycling’ where unused object are turned into something new of higher quality or value. In this case the lanterns of the display are made from washing machine tubs.
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Waiting
Waiting… depicts a life-sized version of the symbol we’re shown while a computer operation is completing, with the lines in the wheel lighting up one after the other.
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A.N.N.
About to pass under A.N.N. (Artificial Neural Network), a display designed to visualize the process of brain activity
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Strangers in the Light
Inspired by Frank Sinatra’s song Strangers in the Night, the 6m-tall figures in Strangers in the Light have “escaped” the pedestrian light signal and have an opportunity to meet for the first time.
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Light a wish
Underneath one of the twenty pieces in Light a Wish that visualize the wish made while blowing dandelion seeds blown into the air.
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ARCHEStextures: PORTAM CIVITATIS
ARCHEStextures: PORTAM CIVITATIS evokes the European Gothic churches built in the 12th-15th centuries.
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O.T. 976
Stefan Reiss’s display O.T. 976 was inspired by string theory. But unlike string theory, this work is enjoyable evey when restricted to three dimensions. The work consists of three large planes folding over Eenhoornsluis bridge. Each plane containing dozens of cables onto which ever-changing colored geometric patterns are displayed. O.T. stands for Ohne Titel, (‘without title’) and 976 refers to the fact that this is Reiss’ 976th artwork.
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Transmission
Close to our marina at Transmission that evokes modern telecommunications through wave-shaped tubes programmed to make the light appear to be moving through the air.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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