Early November brought the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The city commemorated the historic event and changes it brought by placing 8,000 illuminated (and biodegradable) balloons along the city where the wall stood, designed by Christopher and Marc Bauder.
The artists wanted the installation to be an “alien object,” like the Wall was, “something that doesn’t belong,” while also ensuring to evoke the hopeful feelings that came after the Fall. See their interview in this NY Times video. We think using illumination was a great way to achieve this. The artists made sure to use lighting in the balloons that was different from the surrounding exterior and building lights, achieving that alien effect. And the stark images of the lit installation in the dark definitely make one think of hope. It’s a common metaphor for a reason. Seeing that bit of light in the dark, either figuratively or literally, is a relief. In darkness, we often freeze. We can keep moving if we can see where we’re going, even just one step at a time.
At the end of the three days, on the anniversary of the Fall, all 8,000 balloons (biodegradable, remember) were released into the air, symbolizing the hope that came with the Fall of the Wall, and the faith of the people that they can keep moving forward.
Designers often get categorized as artists. We can’t completely reject this categorization, but what we do is so much broader than that. These are light art installations — individual pieces designed exhibit-style to invoke artistic thoughts.
And now there’s a museum just for light art! The Centre for International Light Art Unna has many exclusive exhibits showcasing light art. Here are a few of our favorites:
Rebecca Horn’s Lotusschatten 2006 (See more of her work here)
Mischa Kuball’s Space-Speech-Speed
Are you planning on visiting anytime soon? We’re definitely going the next time we’re in Berlin. We’re also looking forward to seeing the contestants in their inaugural International Light Art Award.
Any lighting designer knows that light can affect your mood and your body. Looks like science and technology are catching up to this trick of the trade in a discreet but fun way!
Here in New England, Seasonal Affective Disorder can come on pretty suddenly (especially after winters such as this!). Doctors have prescribed light boxes for years to help combat the symptoms. One company has shrunk down this technology to fit in our ears. That’s right – light shone in your ears can combat SAD and raise your energy levels. Valkee’s Earlight looks just like headphone earbuds, so you can help your SAD symptoms discreetly and on the go. (It claims it will also help with your jetlag!)
It reminds AvLt of how we can focus small but bright spots of light to raise the energy level of a particular part of an exhibit. Nice to see light harnessed in such a practically useful way!
Are your circadian rhythms getting you down?
We all know how it feels when a day seems like an eternity and when it seems like it went by in a second. The idea that time is in the body of the beholder is the basis for the United Visual Artists project Always/Never. The project is a hypnotic sculpture showing how light, both natural and artificial, affects your everyday being.
Watch: A Hypnotic Sculpture That Depicts Time’s Passing