Winter Lights @ Canary Wharf

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Winter Lights is an art exhibition that uses elements of light, sound, and sculpture in combination. The free-to-visit exhibition features eighteeen different artworks and is on display at Canary Wharf in east London until January 22 and is available to view between 4:00p.m. and 10:00p.m. I recommend waiting until 5:00p.m. in order to see the outdoor ones because I found it too bright earlier in the day. Winter Lights is the substitute for the Ice Sculpting Festival that Canary Wharf used to host until 2014. This is the second year in a row that Canary Wharf has hosted the light festival in lieu of the ice sculpture one.


Last week, I went to visit Winter Lights to view the artwork. I was not disappointed as there are a couple of gems and some really nice pieces. There were a few that I did not think so much of, but appreciating art is down to the viewer. I recommend visiting before they leave Canary Wharf on the 22nd. Below is a break-down of the work on display.


The Luminous City by Nathaniel Rackowe

Nathaniel Rackowe created a few pieces for the exhibit under the guise of 'The Luminous City', and only my favourites are listed here. The concept combines architecture and light. 'The Consequence of Light' features a moving block of lights that raises and lowers itself to light up individual wooden blocks in a grid pattern. 'Black Shed Expanded' shows a wooden frame with light emitting from the ends of the frame. 

A Parallel Image by Gebhard Sengmüller

This sculpture uses technology and displays each light on a panel as a pixel; each bulb of light represents a pixel transmitted via a separate wire. Over 2,500 cables are used to create this sculpture, which the viewer can walk around and see in action.

Moon by Daniel Iregui

This interactive sculpture creates a series of projected lights that form 'layers' in the empty space and also creates loud bass sounds when the visitor places their hands inside the frame. It was inspired by lunar light.

Light Sphere I by Tom Wilkinson

This sculpture created a ring of light. I believe that it was meant to create a whole sphere, but I only saw the metal ring with lights. 

Liquid Space 6.1 by Daan Roosegaarde

This interactive installation can detect as people move closer to it and then rotate its mechanical body in their direction. Standing underneath the orb in the centre will make the sculpture move and the lights intensify. It will also make noises. This was a fun sculpture to see its reactions to movement while standing underneath it and to watch how its 'legs' shifted. I also watched another group of people interact with it.

We Could Meet by Martin Richman

This light installation is located in the shallow water below the new Crossrail terminal and consists of blue stalks of light with purple stalks of light on some of the ends. The effect was a little difficult to capture on camera. The artist played with colour perception in this piece to enable the viewer to see how the colours 'change' as they work together.

Aura by Philips Lighting Design

This is an interactive installation that uses light and sound based on user's movements. The type of movements made by the viewer influences the sounds and type of lights emitted onto the screen. I tried a 'scratching' motion with my hands, and this provided a unique sound and light when compared to simply moving my hands back and forth. I also loved the fact that the colours of the lights changed for this installation and at times, more than one colour was projected. I really had a lot of fun with this installation and spent a little time playing with it. 

Lumen Prize Exhibition by Lumen

This is the fourth year of this exhibition, and it features art that has been digitally created around the world. The shortlisted and winning works of art for 2015/2016 are a part of a global tour. After London, they will visit Canada, Shanghai, and New York City.

My Light is Your Light by Alaa Minawi

This sculpture was created by the artist to show solidarity with Syrian refugees. The sculptures portray a family of six fleeing the conflict, and the light symbolises that each has their own story to share. The smallest figure shows a glimmer of hope as it appears to have made a discovery while the others have their heads and postures lowered and pointing in the same direction.

Globoscope by Collectif Coin

This luminous orb light installation can be created to work in different locations. The lights change in a sequence of animations. The animations happen in a random manner and start at different points in the installation. At times, all orbs can light up at once.

The Pool by Jen Lewin Studio

'The Pool' is an interactive environment consisting of circular pads that visitors can walk, run, and jump on. When the pads are walked on, the light changes to a different colour. The lights themselves continuously change colour to a new shade to reflect the mood. When groups of users or individual users interact with it, patterns can be created and the pads seem to anticipate the next point where you will step. This was a fun installation, and I saw others come to the exhibit to enjoy the experience. However, do watch the pads as they are a little uneven and slippery when wet. I had a lot of fun with this one.

On the Wings of Freedom by Aether & Hemera
This beautiful installation was inspired by butterflies. They constantly change in colour, representing metamorphosis and evolution. Viewers can interact with the installation by using their mobile phones. Most of the time, the sculpture has rainbow colours, but other changing and more solid colours can animate. I enjoyed gazing at this beautiful sculpture.
Flawless by Gonzalo Bascunan & Perrine Vichet
This installation was not set up when I had a wander around Canary Wharf, but it is inspired by photosynthesis and sunlight through leaves.
Infinity Pools by Stephen Newby

'Infinity Pools' are circular pools of light that appear to go down to deep depths. In reality, they are simple tricks using light and mirrors. There are five of these with two on one side and three on the other side of the dock. I think it would have been a better composition for all of them to be placed a little closer together.

Totem by Bitone Collective

This sculpture uses mobile phone signals in the air around it to come to life. When these signals get nearer, the lights glow brighter, and a sound is emitted from the sculpture. This sculpture makes those hidden signals around us visible through the light and sound. Watching people walk by the sculpture was fascinating.

Chorus by Ray Lee

Kinetic sound is used in this moving sculptures as the top part of the sculptures roate.

Fantstic Planet by Amanda Parer

One of the most memorable exhibits in Winter Lights is the 18-foot tall lit inflatible human figure. The installation was inspired by the science fiction film "Fantastic Planet" (1973), which is set in a planet of giants. The inflatible appears to have just landed and is curiously looking at the ground (and people) in front of it. In addition, sound plays a part to make this feel a little more 'alien'. 

Bit.Fall by Julius Popp

This water and light sculpture was located in the Olympic Park in 2012 underneath one of the bridges, and I watched it there but never included it in my post. Live news feeds create the words that fall from the source so that the words are formed in mid-air before falling into the dock below. This sculpture attracted a lot of attention, and I also enjoyed watching which words would pop out next.

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