This weekend is a fairly big deal for London and light installation art. From last night (14th January) through to Sunday 17th January some of the streets are being closed off to allow people to view a number of art installation pieces around some of the landmark places in central London. From the pictures I have seen from a friend’s trip they looked wonderful, and it was a shame that circumstances didn’t work in my favour. However, down in the Docklands, there is a second light installation exhibition taking place called the “Winter Lights” – and I was able to get down and see them.
To be fair and realistic (trans. this is my excuse for poor quality pictures) it was cold, wet and drizzly; I didn’t have proper outdoor (warm) clothes with me and I was using my smartphone – but hopefully the images below will give you an idea of what I saw. Not all were static art – so I will explain (as I best I can) when something “did” something. I did have a free guide which explained the title of the piece, the artist etc, but as I used it (in the rain) to find the various art pieces it didn’t look too good by the end. But have a Google search for Winter Lights as there was a map available.
The first piece I saw were these four tunnels floating in the dock. As you can see, there’s some form of mirror trickery to make it look endless.
This image really does not do justice to this piece at all. There’s another set of balls off to my right and as the music (a weird disco/new age composition) plays so the balls light up and turn off. It made the grass glow green and was very hypnotic and cool – shades of “The Prisoner” (if you remember the large white balls) meets Space 1999 meets Deadmouse.
Glow in the dark stickmen. I think they are supposed to represent someone, but I can’t remember. But it did look cool.
These were fun. As you can see from the picture, they were pressure sensitive, so as you stood on them they changed colour!
This is definitely one example of where the picture does not tell the whole tale. About a metre in front of this is a sensor – and by waving your hand over the sensor it makes the lights glow brighter. In addition, there’s a musical sound played as well and again as you guide your hand close to the sensor it gets louder. This is all in a reflected box, so the sound is really loud. I would say that this was one of the most fun exhibits.
This was just peculiar – but it wasn’t until later I realised how cool the one on the right was. I think it was Hockney that created a picture of a scene by making a collage of hundreds of images all randomly assembled together – this seemed to do the same thing, only with fragments of video clips!
The light rods changed colour. Slowly. Very. Very. Slowly.
This was interesting as it required someone to go into the “thing” to set it off. Sensors would pick up on movement.
I could have done with a camera with a long exposure for this one.
I grouped this one together, but it was very clever. A film is run to a monitor, and the information is picked up and carried by the wires to a number of lamps, providing a less clear picture. It was a fascinating piece of art – if only because of the deconstructed nature!
Inside 1 Canary Wharf was a small installation of art which had been linked to the Winter Lights. There were a couple of sheds with some lighting in them which were difficult to photograph and a set of blocks that were lit by a frame of flourescent lights that raised and fell. What was weirdly interesting on the latter was how my camera auto adjusted its light settings as the lights appeared / disappeared.
This tower of light glowed brighter when mobile phone signals became stronger – so the more people that gathered, the more lights were displayed.
I would hate to be working close to this installation! Eight tripods with the whirry things on top, each with some lights at the end of those helicopter arms – and a constant singing like a singing bowl (which isn’t as nice as it sounds after 5 minutes).
In terms of scale this was one of my favourites. A giant inflatable man, lit up from the inside. Just so cool against the dark sky!
So if the ball was my favourite, this was the geeky “Wow” factor winner. The installation picked up certain words (I think they were from tweets or something) and then spelled the words out. Not by just projecting light onto a sheet of water – but by spelling the words out like an inkjet onto paper. So in the picture above, where you can see the letter there’s water – but where there isn’t (for example the hole in the “O”) there isn’t!!
The final image is this one, which I took in panorama. Each of the lights slowly changed through and each was a paper butterfly / flower which fluttered in the breeze. Quite pretty and calming at the same time.
The Winter Lights run to the 22nd January. It’s recommended to see it after 4pm – when it gets dark; be aware that most are outside so wrap up warm!