Winter Lights @ Canary Wharf 2018

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This was my third year of visiting the annual Winter Lights festival at Canary Wharf, an event that now lasts for two weeks from mid-January. This year, the event started last Tuesday, but I did not visit it last week because London Lumiere was taking place and I wanted to conserve my energy for that. Each year, I notice that Winter Lights becomes more popular. This year, it probably gained in popularity due to the success of London Lumiere. 


This year, I completed the trail in the opposite direction, finishing with the installations in the Crossrail building. I was disappointed that there were not many outdoor installations when compared with previous years. Most of the installations were interactive ones for visitors to interact with and smaller ones. However, the improvements this year was the signage and staff presence. In the past, the trail has never been clear and I've spent awhile trying to locate a particular item when it was either labelled incorrectly on the map or easy to miss. I'm also more familiar with Canary Wharf now, so less time was spent "lost" in the shopping malls.


Playful Shadows (Malgosia Benham)
Located inside a black box in the middle of the shopping centre, I waited to see the experience inside. Three lights (cyan, magenta, and yellow) are located inside the box, and visitors step in front of them to create shadows of different colours using the light. The shadows are very photographic.


Vapour (Fenella Osborne)
A series of light and glass installations are located inside a cabinet inside the shopping mall at Jubilee Walk, Canary Wharf. Light is refracted from the glass and creates shapes of different colours. I don't think the lighting was quite right in the cabinet to see the full effect here.


Coup de Foudre II (Bill Culbert)
'Coup de Foundre II' is a permanent art installation at Canary Wharf at Churchill Place. The installation is located both inside and outside the building to create an illusion of a continuous piece. 



Abstract (Collectif Coin)
Time and relativity inspired the light sculpture "Abstract", which features several triangular elements attached to a pole. The triangles move up and down along the pole to represent time and movement. They also turn colour from blue to red, and this appears to be relatively random. This installation is also accompanied by sound.


Sunlight Graffiti (Little Sun)
The light and art installations that encourage selfies are always the most popular with visitors. 'Sunlight Graffiti' certainly meets that criteria. This had a queue of approximately ten people in front of me, and apparently it was going to take 30 minutes before I had a chance to see what it was about. However, I did get a sneak peek of the set-up, and they showed me a photograph from the previous occupants so that I did not need to wait for much longer than 10 minutes. A little sun solar lamp is provided to visitors, which is also an affordable way to bring light to people in struggling countries. The visitors can move around to create different light 'shapes', which are then photographed through a long-exposure camera. They said that I could use one of their Instagram photographs, and the above one is the only one I can locate with what was happening in the little box.


Colour Me Beautiful (Tine Bech)
Five colour 'runways' bring this interactive installation to Jubilee Place mall. Visitors can step onto this coloured runways to have their photograph taken, and these photographs are then added to the large screen with a colour filter.


Interlude (Amanda Parer)
This huge white rabbit has made its home at Canary Wharf. The rabbit has a cute appearance, but it is considered a pest in Australia. It was one of the more show-stopping pieces. She was responsible for the giant floating "alien" form two years ago in Westferry Circus.


Sonic Light Bubble (Eness)
Unfortuntely, this large inflatible 'bubble' was packed away and not on display when I visited. It was not that windy, but they were afraid the wind would pick up, so they left it deflated. I'm sure that if it was deflated today, then this installation has not been on show much as other days have been a lot worse with the wind. From what I can gather, 'Sonic Light Bubble' is a light and sound installation that reacts when approached. It looks amazing and was a pity to miss it, particularly as all of the other exhibitions (except for two, in my opinion) were lacklustre when compared with previous years.


Bit.Fall (Julius Popp)
This permanent art installation has been on display as a part of Canary Wharf Winter Lights every year that I have visited. It takes words from current news and events and projects them as water, which momentarily forms before falling into the wharf below.


Estuary Poem For Wyndham Lewis and Other Works (Robert Montgomery)
This poem brings together the Thames Estuary and landscape into Canary Wharf. This poem can be burned on the beach, and it is brought back and constructed into artwork with neon.


Polaris (Laurent Font)
The northern lights were the inspiration for this installation, which connects art to the natural world. The soft green glow is emitted and projected onto the wall, changing slightly in colour and form.


Halo (Venividimultiplex and Fosfor Design)
This giant halo is positioned above the fountain in Cabot Square, using the reflection as a part of the artwork. It is an eye-catching piece with good photographic points.


The Cube (Ottotto)
The pedestrian bridge and this cube-shaped neon sculpture form an interesting installation that has merged together.


Lightbenches (LBO Lichtbank)
These lightbenches are a permanent collection at Canary Wharf; they first featured last year in Winter Lights. The light benches gradually change colour.


Urban Patterns (Kasjo Studios)
'Urban Patterns' changes the surrounding landscape using UV rays and horizontal lines. This same installation featured last year where it was larger and took up a wider area. This one features multi-coloured threads.


Apparatus Florius (Tom Dekyvere)
Sound and light come together to illuminate the trees and geometric patterns created with threads in Westferry Circus. I found this installation disappointing this year when we had the multi-changing flowers that used sound and synchronisation the year before and the giant alien sculpture the year before that.


We Can Meet (Martin Richman)
This is a permanent installation outside Crossrail that has featured in the past few Winter Lights at Canary Wharf. These rods change colour and frequency throughout time, and they are inspired by reeds in nature.  


Dazzling Dodecahedron (Amberlights)
This jewel-like structure was one of the highlights of Winter Lights this year. The piece is eye-catching as it glows and sparkles like a gem or kaleidoscope. Visitors can step inside it to see the colours and reflections up close and become truly dazzled by the immersive reflections and light inside.



Pixels (Jonas Vorwerk)
'Pixels' is an interactive installation featuring several glowing coloured blocks. The visitors to this installation can create their own interpretation of it, whether it is to create a wall, animal, or "disco floor". I watched the people interact with it and take photographs with it; this was a popular one with children.



Luma Paint Light Graffiti (LichtFaktor)
This graffiti light installation captured many admirerers, and there were several people waiting to participate. It is another one where people can take "selfies" and interact to show some creativity, and I find that these installations are always the busiest and most-photographed. The wall is refreshed after each use, but the first step is to take a "photograph" using light, which is mysteriously and magically placed onto the wall behind the subject. The visitors who have had their photographs taken can then get creative with a variety of tools that help to create different colours of light.


Helios (DPA Lighting Consultants LED Linear & Architainment Lighting)
Clean lines of neon inspired this piece in order to create a range of perspectives with different colours and 'eclipses' of colour. The sculpture gradually changes colour and appears to change form.



Reflecting Holons (Michael Martens & Jetske Visser)
The artists experimented with reflecting materials in order to create this piece, which includes long strips of transparent foil and spinning motors. The installation mimics water droplets. They gradually get larger and then smaller again, raising up as they lose form and become a thinner shape. The floor appears to be a reflective puddle, making this appear like giant drops of water.


Made by Manos (Manos Kalamenios)
These sculptures were on display in two separate locations. They are made of porcelain and bone china with LED lights. The wall pieces were actually creayed from medieval tiles found on the Thames. 


Luna (Kinetech Design)
Paper-folding and kinetic art has inspired a series of light sculptures known as 'LUNA'. The sculptures are a tribute to the work as architects who create structures in architecture and interior design that can fold up.


Fracture (Jessica Lloyd-Jones)
Colours and patterns of this piece change when observing from different angles. Art and science come together to create this sense of energy.


Reduced Landscapes (Maja Petric)
The light art box has a very abstract rendition of the sky, sun, and stars which change depending on the angle of it being viewed. 


Clones (Joachim Slugocki)
These complex but geometric patterns are painted with UV light, which glows in the dark and helps to create multi-coloured shapes. Circles feature in this installation, which  was repeated throughout one wall of the room.


Tempus (Ben Rousseau)
'Tempus' is a creative way to create a timepiece that is both art and functional.



Selected Works (Amberlights)
The creators of the outdoor piece have also created some smaller models with metallic colours, reflections, and forms. These are eye-catching pieces that create beautiful reflections and colours on the walls.


Future Fashion (Cutecircuit)
Wearable technology has been one of the growing trends in the past few years. Here, visitors can interact with an app provided to change the pattern on the dress.



On Your Wavelength (Marcus Lyall)
This installation ("On Your Wavelength") was present at last year's Winter Lights. It was busier this year than the previous year, and I now wish that I had visited it last year. The participant wears a headset, which reads the activity in the brain. This will then create the different shapes, colours, and patterns seen and also control the audio frequency.


Flora (Phillip Artus)
This interactive installation is placed at the edge of the water by Crossrail Place. Visitors can design the patterns produced.

There were just over thirty pieces on show this year, but there were more indoor pieces than ever this year. I missed seeing the larger-scale outdoor pieces. Overall, only a couple of the pieces really stood out to me. Also, a few of the pieces I had seen before so they were not new. 

To visit, head to Canary Wharf from 5:00pm daily. The event is free and is on display until January 27, so you still have a few days to see it.

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