The Dark Side of Amsterdam

Interactive installation for Amsterdam Light Festival

During the Amsterdam Light Festival, that took place between the 6th of December 2013 and the 19th of January 2014, residents and visitors of the city Amsterdam were being challenged. During this light festival a group of international students seduced residents and visitors to enlightening the Dark Side of Amsterdam. Visitors were asked to confess about their dark side by wearing anonymous “sin” glasses in a nighttime light painting portrait that would then be projected onto the Mozes & Aäron church at Waterlooplein. This project was commissioned by BeamSystems. 411 People used the installation, and revealed that with a majority of 91 people, Amsterdam is still a sin city of lust. Also see the twitterfeed and Flickr set and the visualisation of the results (below). I coached on the concept development and project management of this project.

Exploring the emotional experience of sin

I developed this project with a team of students from design and technology backgrounds, and we found out very early on that there was a desire for the installation to be an experience, calling for audience participation. This idea eventually came out and was symbolically rich: the context of the church and building a confession booth where you can admit to your sins. While at the same time playing with people’s vanity in the form of dark stylized selfies in which they could semi-anonymously make a statement about their liberalism of choice – bragging almost.

Rituals and theatre

My favourite part of this event and installation was the theater and solemn rituals involved in the whole concept, and the students carried and understood that well. They invited a ‘priest’ to preach about sinfullness in front of the confession booth to draw in people and get people in the mood. The audience would be approached by the students to think about a sin, and pick a pair of sunglasses representing that sin. They had made these with a laser cutter from plywood at iFabrica, and then covered the back with glow-in-the-dark paper that they would charge with a torch. Then the audience would go into the booth (in pairs or alone), to get their confession taken. Inside the booth two assistants shot the lightpainting picture that would be projected and tweede immediately with a moralising quote from the bible.

Awards

The Dark Side of Amsterdam won the audience award at Beamlab #32

lightfest_50

Students: Sandro Miccoli, Akarsh Sanghi, Adwait Sharma, Shinichiro Ito, Shubhojit Mallick, Mizuki Kojima, Matias Daporta Gonzales. Gabriele Colombo (visual design), Jan Scholte (priest), Loes Bogers (coach and concept development) and Gijs Gootjes (project manager), Supported by BeamSystems: Jason Malone and Jozef Hey. Visuals by: Frouke te Velde www.frouketenvelden.com. Thank you to Irma de Vries for mapping support.


amsterdam, Art Projects, concept development, Design Coaching, photography, urban