amsterdam light festival | 2018 entry

in collaboration with A. Novo

RE(TRACE) proposes to overlap different lectures of reality. Using light tracing as a method, five trees and the bridge at the corner of the Nieuwe Herengracht and the Amstel are used as the canvas on which simultaneously several elements and chronological states of trees will be drawn. The tree as organism, as construction material, as environment… This tree catalogue will be lit in a variety of tones at different rhythms and speeds, creating thus a myriad of combinations and situations.

Various vertical lines, grouped two by two, surround the canal. They seem to be attached to tree trunks. Suddenly, two of these lights start moving upwards adopting the shape of flying birds. Behind that tree, another set of lines reveals the wooden structure of the Hermitage museum. Yet two more lines trace the roots of the next tree while the silhouette of the bridge ahead
of us is highlighted. It seems as if the different lives of trees are being represented. All of these lives coexist at the same time, on the same spot, flickering and moving at different speeds. “Did you realise that the bridge is
also made out of wood?”. Someone on my right asks. The existing bulbs on the bridge are incorporated into the installation.

Rather than categorically stating that “the medium is the message”, re(TRACE) reformulates it as a question: “is the medium the message”?
The installation re(TRACE) makes use of light as a tool to outline both the current and potential state of trees. Our lights both illuminate -therefore highlighting- the existing and trace -thus revealing- the intangible. The resulting experience generates a progression of multiple states, an organic entity that shifts from the seasonal to the biological and from the environmental to the manufactured. When does the medium overtake the message?

In re(TRACE) the light is used as a digital pencil to sketch on top of reality as if it were a picture. The goal of sketching is not to draw different realities, but to expand current ones onto past and future times. Expanding the information perceived, like a visual, overimposed note. To achieve this
effect, each trace will have its own character, the lights move, breath, blink, chase and dim, all in one basic bright color. Together the traces form a sequence following the direction of the boats and timed accordingly.