GLOW – Forum of Light & Architecture

9 – 16th November, 2013
Eindhoven, Netherlands

Flickering sensuous violet neon letters spell out the words ‘Urban Paradise’. You can see the words glimmer for miles around. But as you draw closer, you’ll discover there is no Eldorado to be found. Diana Ramaekers presents us with an apocalyptic scene reminiscent of a city annihilated by a natural disaster or a war. Images of bombings, wars and violent shootings crowd in on the spectator. Members of the public are invited to restore peace to the city using a control panel. But our attempts only seem to make the carnage worse: menacing thunder clouds darken the floor and ceiling, geysers spew columns of water from ruined buildings and blistering fire scorches architectural remains. Despite the horror of the scene, it possesses a strange kind of beauty. The notion of death and destruction, war and decay is at odds with the enthralling colours of the burned landscape and the display of majestic, primal forces of nature.

From November, 9th to 16th 2013, the city center of Eindhoven again turns into a forum of interventions, installations, performances and events based on the phenomena of artificial light. Thousands of people will walk the ‘Light Route’ and marvel at the artistic use of light and architecture. In addition to the traditional route around the city, this years event features another route called GLOW Next. This route contains another 22 light-art installations around the businesses and galleries of the Strijp-S area. On Sunday night there was a special performance. TRANSITIA took the audience on a musical odyssey through time; a dazzling tribute to Anton and Gerard Philips shown on the façades of the loft buildings Anton and Gerard. The light show with music featured vocal soloists, percussionists and scores of extras in and on these iconic buildings. The project was conceived by Martie Dekkers. The music was composed by Ed van Otterdijk and Ad Maas. The lighting was designed by Tom Spaan and producer Hoevenaars Licht Geluid Video.

‘Urban Playground’ is the theme of the eighth edition of GLOW. During the week Eindhoven will be the playground of different light artists. By playing with light they’ll show that reality can be experienced in a totally different way. 

100 Year Anniversary

The theme ‘Urban Playground’ is well chosen. In Eindhoven both creative innovators, smart scientists and ambitious sports men and women get plenty of space to explore new horizons. Here the TU/e, the High Tech Campus and the Design Academy are located and the city is also the home of football club PSV. This year the Philips Sports Club celebrates its 100th anniversary and certainly with the theme ‘Urban Playground’ that is a great excuse to take the art route through the football stadium. But also buildings, streets, warehouses, squares and alleyways in the public space are part of the four kilometers long route. Made out of stone, cement, asphalt and concrete these are the building blocks of the city. Just as dancers or musicians the artists of GLOW play with concepts such as shape, size, scale, color, movement, rhythm and sound. Using various light applications, they open new perspectives on the environment of the city.

During GLOW we discover hidden locations in Eindhoven. The route of 30 installations runs from the NRE Area to the Philips Stadium and back by a different route. These two locations were chosen with particular reason as highlights of GLOW 2013. Not only do we celebrate 100 years of sporting excellence, but also the re-birth of another area of the city that most people have never seen. The NRE Area was closed to the public for more than eighty years. After the departure of ‘Endinet’ the former site of the Utilities company will be developed into a new piece of Eindhoven. In early 2015, an innovative restaurant concept will move into building five – FIFTH NRE. During GLOW, the doors are open and we take a foretaste.

Pop Into The Puppet Theatre

The arched windows of this old building are covered with canvas. A reminder that behind this façade there was once a canvas factory. Seen from the street, the cloth appears to be lit with a white light, but from the rear it’s obvious that the white light is actually a composite of red, green and blue. When someone walks into the pools of light from these spotlights, their shadow dissolves into spangles of colour. You realise that you can actually paint with light on this virginal white canvas.

The people on the street enjoy a shadow theatre that, thanks to the arched décor, brings to mind old-fashioned puppet theatres. The spontaneous scenes played out here couldn’t be more at home; just a stone’s throw away is De Effenaar, a pop venue.

Jolanda Tielens is fascinated by the capacity of light to affect our perceptions of a space and direct our behaviour. This is precisely what the artist is exploring with her light projections. Sometimes Tielens opts for inconspicuous lighting and sometimes, such as here, light is centre stage. Many readers may remember Tielens from her time as an excellent lighting designer with Philips Lighting. Your humble Editor co-created many great projects with her in the past and is very happy to see her work showcased here.

GLOW for Kids

Last year, we marvelled at an illuminated sea of flowers at the Karel Vermeerenplatsoen; this year, the garden of the Dommelhoef is the backdrop for a flock of luminous birds. Pupils at junior schools in and around the city have been invited by GLOW organiser Eindhoven365 and CultuurStation, an agency that connects culture and education in the Eindhoven region, to take part.

Two thousand junior school children aged approximately between 7 and 12 made a bird from waterproof material, and attached it to a stave fitted with a LED light. The result is two thousand birds of all plumage that flutter in the light. GLOW for Kids is a formula for success. The project encourages children’s creativity and offers them a remarkable experience: a chance to discover their own work of art among the GLOW projects with parents, teachers or other children.

For information about the complete route, click here.

Julie Allen

09 Nov