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From the sublime to the ridiculous

November 15th, 2009

Filed under: FESTIVALS & EVENTS


There were differing opinions about the 2009 Glow Festival in Eindhoven. On the last evening of the event, The Dossier saw examples of these opposing views. One was enchanting and the other was downright clumsy.

This room of globes, Bulbes, by Alexandre Burton and Julien Roy was to be found in the DesignHuis. The installation shimmered with the a-rhythmic waxing and waning of giant 1000watt giant light bulbs. I sat there for quite some time through several cycles of shielding my eyes from unexpected brilliance and then enjoying the adjustment my eyes made when the room fell into almost complete darkness. It was a sort of electro-acoustic experience, where some computer program was probably in control, but I felt as though something ethereal was making the globes speak. Under the wash and hum of so many miniature moons, I sensed my mortality somewhat keenly.

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According to the brochure, this tacky street theatre performance by Un Poco Loco, Elements of Light, was “based on the interplay of the natural elements water and air, earth and fire, their natural forces and the magic they inherent [sic]”. For one, there was a patronizing aboriginal reference – a didjeridu intermezzo from a crouching artists perched atop an inflated plastic ball, which they call a Zorb. Secondly, these garishly clad firetwirlers were not quite dancers nor acrobat artists. Yes, they were very good at the fire thing, and yeah, I certainly couldn’t do it, but witnessing the serious efforts of someone “traversing urban spaces” by gargantuan beach ball conjured up the word “semi-professional”. Having said that, the use of fire was an interesting element to add to the concept of light in LightTown. In an age obsessed with technology, the crowd oohed and ah in unison at the troupe’s devilish flame throwing feats. As we jointly cowered beneath the underworldly blaze and brimstone, I was reminded for the second time that day how indeed, we are mere mortals.

Photography by Edwin van Ras © All rights reserved.

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