di Francesca Spanò

© Martina Bertola

Recently, we told you about the Amsterdam Light Festival, the event made by lights and colors which illuminates streets and canal of the Dutch capital. In that occasion, for the Water Colors, the exhibition of the installation in the water, we challenged the bad weather, on boat and under the rain with 5°C.

This week, even braver, we faced the cold, but on dry land, to discover the secrets of the Walking Route. The path, going through the Hortus Botanicus from Nieuwe Herengracht, reveals the Illuminade, a series of illuminated installations on the street.

The concept is the same: friendship, perceived as a link going beyond geographic and cultural borders and connecting even the shiest souls. “We have the idea of the culture as something close. It doesn’t have to be seen like Spanish, Italian or Dutch… It’s made by influences and this mixture creates prosperity, like in friendship bonds”, says Darya von Berner. Spanish by origins, she is the author, for the festival, of Dearest Friend…, illuminated reproduction of the letter written by Baruch Spinoza to his friend and intellectual Lodewijk Meijer.

The walking path goes through projections, special effects and led illuminations, which are integrated both with the urban architecture – for example the Canal House by the Dutch Irma de Vires, at her third appearance at the festival – and with the natural elements provided by the city.

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Judith Holland & Tessel Schmidt, Winged Migration

In this last category, great relevance has the Winged Migration by Judith Holland & Tessel Schmidt (Dutch): a video-installation in which from a bird-house, reproduced in 3D effect on the trunk of a spare tree, illuminated figures come out and run to the top. The viewer, who owns a prime location from a wooden house in front of the tree, has the chance to enjoy the magic of the colours and to listen to the sound of these animals, which is automatically reproduced by sensors which recognise movements.

More connected to friendship is, on the other hand, the work The Bridge by Brazilian Tomás Ribas. It is an abstract reproduction of a bridge, obtained through two containers which were put exactly one in front of the other in the banks of Nieuwe Herengracht. Differently from many artworks, which can be appreciated in a distance, the peculiarity of the bridge – which undermines the bond created between two people (the banks, indeed) – lies in the fact that you have to net into it to enjoy the light.

Tomás Ribas - The Bridge
Tomàs Ribas – The Bridge

“I think that the bridge is one of the most iconic elements in order to explain the relationship between two people”, the author explains. “Friendship is a specific choice. You connect with someone who is basically different from you. As a bridge, which links two points that are distant by nature”. From inside the bridge, it is possible to perceive that bond, in a never-ending reflection of squared figures which plow the canal on a virtual structure made of lights.

The Illuminade is completed by other 21 artworks, made by international artists and they are exhibited for free until the 17th of January 2016. In the meantime, another festival dedicated to lights is taking shape, in these very days, in Sweden.