Saturday, November 22, 2014

Eindhoven GLOW Festival

Eindhoven, a city in the Netherlands, hosts an annual light festival called GLOW.  Eindhoven is known as the City of Light, mainly because of the fact that it housed several match stick factories.  And, then Philips established its light bulb factory. 

I was lucky enough to be in town to experience GLOW 2014.  It was a fabulous experience and some of the installations were mind-blowing.  The city had spent considerable amount of resources to put this project together.  The entire project spanned over 20 installations spread around the city center (Centrum, as they say in Netherlands).

The installations were in the form of light installations, sculptures, projections as well as live performances.  Some of the installations were elaborate and involved high-tech equipment. The entire 'show' started at 6 PM and went on into the night. 

One of my favorite installations was the 'Parklaan Flashback'.  This installation captured the history of Eindhoven at the beginning of the twentieth century.  The show was a light projection on two buildings facing each other.  Spectators stood between the two buildings and watch the show.  The show is synchronized between the opposite buildings and moves from one building to the other.  Different scenes are depicted and 'painted' on the buildings using light with accompanying music.  It made for a spectacular show.  I shot both video as well as still images.  Here are a few of the still images:

The 'Pendulum Wave' was a piece of art built on the principles of pendulums.  This was a great engineering installation with 15 pendulums of varying lengths suspended from a frame.  At the end of each pendulum was a lighted ball.  All the pendulums were simultaneously raised to the side (I guess, using electro-magnets) and then let go.  The pendulums formed interesting patterns governed by their lengths.  As the pendulums swung, the balls would change color.  The entire experience was enhanced with music and fog.

The 'Figures that Wander' was a shocker amongst all the exhibits.  This was the only 'live-art' in the whole festival.  The performance involved four dancers dancing behind semi-transparent plastic curtains.  They formed shapes using light and shadows.  Initially, I thought that this was a projection onto a semi-transparent screen, just like all the other installations.  After watching for a few minutes, I realized that this was indeed live, and there were people performing behind the screens.  This was the most creative, bold and provocative art installation in the entire festival. 

The 'Enchanted Cathedral and the Seasons' was an innovative art creation using high powered color projectors.  Computer generated images are projected onto the façade of the cathedral to depict the four seasons.  Again, the animation was accompanied by lively music.

Here is a view of the cathedral from my room.

'Stereo' was the video mapping projection done on the façade of the Augustijnenkerk cathedral.  This cathedral was right next to my hotel and I could see it from my window.  This audio-visual production transformed the cathedral into a living and moving structure.  Set to music, the high powered projectors painted the façade with features and made the features undulate to music.  It was an interesting way to convert an irregular surface into a projection surface and paint pictures. 

There was another show inside the cathedral.  Even here, they had used a half dozen synchronized projectors to project images onto the tall ceiling as well as the walls of the cathedral.  I was surprised to note that each of the projectors was using film instead of digital technology.  The entire show was cued to baroque music.

All in all, it was an amazing experience.  I heard that other European cities are also hosting such GLOW events and I can't wait to visit them and experience GLOW again.