Amsterdam AMS

Amsterdam Light Festival Nov 29, 2018-Jan 20, 2019

a water with boats and buildings in the background
Light a Wish – Amsterdam Light Festival Edition #7

Edition #7 of the Amsterdam Light Festival opened November 29, 2018 and ended last week on January 20, 2019. Since 2012 the city of Amsterdam has found a way to load up canal boats for tours on dark winter nights by hosting art installations of light along many of the city’s canals. Amsterdam Light Festival Edition #7 featured 29 artwork light installations.

I came across eleven of these artworks during my six days in Amsterdam.

ARCHEStextures: PORTAM CIVITATIS – Peter Snijder (Belgium)

a body of water with a bridge and a boat in the water
ARCHEStextures: PORTAM CIVITATIS – Peter Snijder

A spooky, blue and purple illuminated pavilion floats on the water at the end of the Herengracht like the remains of a lost or drowned cathedral. It’s Peter Snijder’s installation ARCHEStextures: PORTAM CIVITATIS.

a structure with blue lights

Light a Wish – OGE Group (Israel)

Make a wish before you blow the fluff from a dandelion into the air – everyone knows this game. OGE Group’s ‘Light a Wish’ visualises the moment the seeds disperse in the air, taking your wish with them into the world.

a water with boats and buildings in the background
Light a Wish – Amsterdam Light Festival Edition #7

A.N.N. - Kóros Design (Hungary)

In their suspended installation A.N.N., Hungarian artists Péter Koros and Réka Magyar (Kóros Design) use moving light to visualise a process that is similar to brain activity.


O.T. 976 - Stefan Reiss (Germany)

Presenting complicated scientific theories in a playful, creative way – it’s what Stefan Reiss does like no other. It’s not surprising then that Reiss found inspiration for his artwork ‘O.T. 976’ in a famous theory that tries to explain everything in our universe.

a bridge with lights on it
O.T. 976 – Stefan Reiss
Amsterdam Light Festival Edition #7


Parabolic Light Cloud - amigo & amigo (Peru/Australia)

In their installation ‘Parabolic Lightcloud’, Renzo B. Larriviere and Simone Chua (amigo & amigo) use more than 1,000 lights to make something invisible visible: our human emotions.

a blue lights from a wire
Parabolic Light Cloud – Amsterdam Light Festival Edition #7


Absorbed by Light – Gail May Lucas (U.K.)

Absorbed by Light – Three figures sit next to each other on a bench, displaying the typical characteristics of smartphone users: their heads are bent, fingers typing and swiping, and their faces lit up by their phone screens. While their bodies are physically present, their minds are elsewhere.

people in garment sitting on a bench
Absorbed by Light – Amsterdam Art Festival Edition #7


Picto Sender Machine – Felipe Prado (Chile)

The resolution of the images that Felipe Prado’s ‘Picto Sender Machine’ produces is not only lower than we’re used to but is actually lower than the resolution of the first-ever digital photograph from 1957.

a group of people standing in front of a large screen
Picto Sender Machine – Amsterdam Light Festival Edition #7


Neighbors – TOCHKA (Japan)

Painting with light – it sounds magical but impossible. But people have been doing it for a long time – since 1889! It’s not difficult to do, you move a lamp through a dark space and capture these movements in a photograph using a camera with a slow shutter speed.

a building with lights on the side
Neighbors – TOCHKA (Japan) – Amsterdam Light Festival Edition #7


Aftereal - Yasuhiro Chida (Japan)

Several of the art light installations were in locations we walked by during the day. Aftereal is one piece I was hoping to make it back to see at night.

a grass field with trees and buildings in the background
Aftereal – Yasuhiro Chida,
Amsterdam Light Festival Edition #7


Strangers in the Light - Victor Engbers & Ina Smits (Netherlands)

The little figures we know from pedestrian traffic lights (one red and one green), that we sometimes impatiently have to wait on, are more than just icons in the installation Strangers in the Light.

a horse drawn carriage on a street
Strangers in the Night (green pedestrian on one bank of Herengracht canal)
a body of water with a red man
Strangers in the Light (red pedestrian on opposite bank of Herengracht)


NATUURLIJK LICHT - Meke Vrienten (Netherlands)

Natuurlijk Licht -  It’s hard to imagine that Amsterdam’s streets were almost completely dark at night until well into the 17th century, when the first streetlights appeared. Because today, there’s light in surroundings no matter where we are, from desk lamps to the many lampposts that line our streets.

a group of cars parked next to a canal
NATUURLIJK LICHT – Meke Vrienten (Netherlands)