amsterdam light festival | 2019 entry

in collaboration with A. Novo

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1024x561.png

Night is usually defined as that part of the day with too little light for us to use our eyesight. The tapetum lucidum is a layer of tissue in the eye of many vertebrates and imaginary species. It functions as a retroreflector reflecting light directly back along the light path, thus increasing the quantity of light passing through the retina. In the cat, it increases the
sensitivity of vision by 44%. Allowing a great part of cats’ and other nocturnals’ stories to take place in the dark and remain imperceptible to the human eye. Imagine visualising these stories! With a little help of retroreflectivity, we can discover what lurks in the dark.

You would expect the mobile phone to be the ultimate exploration device. Actually it achieves the opposite, having us withdraw in our comfortable bubbles. What if these flashlights, instead of all recording the same event, could discover their own unique version of it? Only by shining your flashlight around do you, and only you, expose a dinosaur hiding behind a tree, and huge butterflies escaping their pavilion? For the passive onlooker, all these boats with tiny lights randomly looking for night dwellers must be a curious sight as well.

what's lurking in the dark?

All these retroreflective creatures will only be revealed to the person who shines a light directly on them. You can find them low by the waterside, floating, attached to walls, perched high up on trees or trying to hide behind them. A full immersive, interactive experience. The far eastern dark canal along the Artis Butterfly Pavilion seems the right location to uncover these subtly hidden stories. Who better help write these stories and draw the
characters in them than kids in the nearby Artis Ateliers?

The various creatures will differ in size and shape from frog to dino. They can be cnc-cut from a durable lightweight sheet material covered in very efficient Black Retro Reflective Graphic Film (3M™ Scotchlite™ Series 680-85). This is both weather and waterproof. At night they merge with the
darkness that engulfs them, until they suddenly appear when shined upon. The lack of active lighting further encourages the need to explore.

100% powered by visitors, consuming zero Watts in energy.