Captivating Canary Wharf
London’s Canary Wharf is yet again full of amazing light installations and interactive art as part of its festival of Winter Lights. To brighten up my January, I headed East to check it out – here are some of my highlights…
What if you could create art using signals from your brain? Marcus Lyall has made an interactive light installation that the user controls by their mind. Using EEG technology, you’re able to create a rhythm of light combined with music into an interactive art piece. EEG stands for electroencephalograph and the method to record the signals of the electrical activity in the brain is electrophysiological monitoring.
The installation uses an EEG headpiece on a volunteer that’s willing to immerse themselves into an LED vortex of light through concentration. The volunteer stands at the end of the tunnel, which is built up in a series of square structures attached with over 30,000 LEDs throughout the whole installation. Once the person has the headpiece on, the music starts playing and the concentration begins. At the beginning of the experience the light patterns have a scattered effect, as full concentration and focus are yet to be in control. The end result is to have a harmonious spread of light from beginning to end.
Based off the Golden Proportion, the OVO is a dynamic, wooden installation using RGB lights integrated into the corners that make up a diamond shape from top to bottom. The structure takes on an egg shape, representing “a global symbol of new life”. The OVO sits on a platform surrounded by water and fog spurring from the inside and flowing outwards. There are two openings that encourage everyone to enter by walking out onto the water, submerging themselves into the experience of travelling lights, fog and serene music.
This selfie-friendly light installation of angel wings is great for all ages. Right in Jubilee Park, there are five various illuminated wings continuously changing colour — from pink to blue and purple to green, everyone’s able to snap a picture in a colour they like. This is my second time seeing this angelic installation and the reactions from the crowd were the exact same: smiles and excitement from both adults and children running up to strike a pose. The first time for me was in Amsterdam and all five were placed randomly throughout the city, creating a search hunt to find them all and then, of course, posting on social media. The message behind the Angels of Freedom is for people to channel their inner beauty regardless of colour, age, ethnicity, and social status.
Our Spectral Vision is by Liz West, who is also known for many works she has successfully put on display here in London including: Your Colour Perception and An Additive Mix, to name a few. Throughout all her installations, she’s notorious for encouraging viewers to understand and explore their relationship with colour.
Approaching the installation, seven dichroic glass prisms stand against the wall representing the seven parts of the colour spectrum we see. Walking past from end to end and changing your perspective viewing, you’re able to slowly see the changing colours. If you get a chance to view the prisms, don’t be shy to move around and view every angle to see the full effect!
Lastly, Horizontal Interface is comprised of coloured bands and a black light that allows them to glow with a neon effect. The bands are placed horizontally stretching from tree to tree − they create a luminous landscape through the appearance of being strings of light. The geometric arrangement is strong in a sense that your eye is immediately drawn to the installation prior to approaching it, and being able to see the rectangular shape it holds between each tree. It would be great to have this installation permanently in any urban city as it’s strong but subtle, and could serve as a directional marker or even a meeting point for inhabitants.
If you happened to miss this fantastic event last year, you can read Cashel Brown’s take on it here, along with what he thinks makes these events successful. And, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best examples of lighting festivals in Europe and beyond, right here.