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Bright Brussels Festival: A host of uniquely original light installations by the water’s edge

Taking place on 2-5 February 2017, the Bright Brussels Festival showcases a host of uniquely original light installations by the water’s edge, creating an enchanting spectacle as night falls and fil

Taking place on 2-5 February 2017, the Bright Brussels Festival showcases a host of uniquely original light installations by the water’s edge, creating an enchanting spectacle as night falls and filling both young and old with child-like wonder.

The Quai des Péniches will be cloaked in light thanks to ten majestic works dotted along an illuminated pathway. The installations are the work of a clutch of local and international artists and collectives, among them Belgium’s ACT Lighting Design, who will be unveiling a creation entitled Naked Truth, a world first that the Brussels-Capital Region is proud to present.

The festival offers visitors an unmissable opportunity to see the district from an entirely fresh perspective, with the visual feast including a floating light installation and giant structures inspired by organic curves.

The Bright Brussels Festival will bring a close to Bright Brussels Winter, which has been casting a beguiling light on the area around the city’s inner ring road (Petite Ceinture) since 2 December last year. In implementing the initiative, which was put forward by Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region and Pascal Smet, Minister of Mobility and Public Works for the Brussels-Capital Region, has been overseeing the installation of a number of large-scale works in the heart of the capital of Europe.

“The Region is working on a number of regeneration projects in the districts around the canal, the aim being to allow this key area of the city to fulfil all its potential,” said Mr Vervoort. “We believe it should be allowed to show itself in the best possible light and that the spotlight should fall on places such as this, which will play an essential role in the Brussels of tomorrow and the well-being of its inhabitants.”

“We organised the inaugural light tour around the Petite Ceinture last year, at the end of the year, to brighten up the darkest months,” added Mr Smet. “What we want to do is make our capital and its public spaces warmer and more welcoming. The importance of this initiative cannot be underestimated. That’s why, from now on, we will be organising a light festival every two years at this time of year. I invite all of you to come to the canal district to admire these installations. It’s going to be wonderful!”

Food trucks will be serving a wide range of dishes and beverages throughout the festival.

The Brussels Bright Festival is partnering Schaerbeek’s Citizen Lights Festival, with a free shuttle service running between the two events on 2-4 February.

The following works will be installed at various points along the Quai des Péniches:

JJMA (Be) – Facade Citroën

To celebrate this special event, the facade of the famous Citroën bulding, which will soon house the new Pompidou modern and contemporary art centre, will be showcased. Its imposing structure will be covered in thousands of lights that will lead you to the Bright Brussels Festival.

Mad Rhizome (FR) – (Off)lines (world premiere)

Three hundred and twenty lines of light burst forth and defy space in an eye-catching ballet of geometrical connections. Beams of light cut through the air before breaking up and then reforming in a melodious soundscape, sketching timeless forms in the process.

Arf & Yes (BE) – Array

Measuring eight metres in diameter, Array is a mammoth floating light installation in which 120 fully automated spotlights perform a harmonious dance for the spectator. Positioned in the middle of the canal, the work can be admired from the banks. (tbc)

CNRS (FR) – I.C.O.N. (JAPAN) Platonium

Taking its inspiration from scientific work being carried out in Lyon and totally reinterpreting it, this is a piece that lays an especially immersive soundscape and light aesthetic before the spectator. A huge vortex of light tumbling away into infinity, through a mirror in the ground: that is the dizzying voyage on which Platonium takes us.

Philippe Morvan (FR) – Dot

Monumental in scale and polymorphous in nature, Dot is a modular installation made from recycled material. Presented in the entirely surprising form of a giant electrical arc flash, it is a wave of light that depicts light forms and graphics, with the 175 lights it comprises moving to the sound of music. Through variations in intensity, speed and frequency, they stage a dynamic, luminous, graphic and sonorous performance right along the 30-meter installation.

ACT LIGHTING DESIGN (BE) – Naked Truth (world premiere)

Naked Truth invites the onlooker to contemplate an avant-garde, dynamic and minimalist installation set up on a construction site, a space that is often overlooked. The fact is, however, that these noisy, urban spaces, which teem with life by day and fall silent at night, possess an altogether unexpected creative force.

Eye Lite Group (BE) – Sphero

Produced in collaboration with schools and neighbourhood houses, the Sphero project consists of three half-spheres illuminated in a synchronised way and decorated by shadow shapes.

Tilt (FR) – Alumines

L’Alumine is a plant with a fragile structure whose stems reach out to the sky in search of light and whose many stamens curve delicately up into the air, beneath the warmth of the sun, to form a refined aerial flower. Sparkling by day, it is only when night descends that L’Alumine reveals the beauty of its colours amid ever-changing reflections, earning the admiration of those who gaze upon it with its soft, comforting beams.

Tilt (FR) – Ros’o

Bouquets of five illuminated bulrushes of varying sizes are brought together in large numbers to form a large, original and elegant grove, bringing a touch of offbeat glamour to a wild plant that populates the banks of many a waterway.

Tilt (FR) – Pocket

La Pocket pays tribute to the French torches of old. This outsized flashlight plays with proportions, taking onlookers by surprise by subverting scale ratios. When lit, it reveals a touch of modernity, casting a classic white light as well as a range of joyful colours. In illuminating its surroundings, it projects a beam that varies in intensity.

Les Commandos Percu (FR) & Deabru Beltzak (ES) – La Parade Danbor Talka/Clash of Drums

Emerging from nowhere, two bands of drummers face off and pound the taut skins of their instruments. On a parade through the streets, they twirl their drumsticks, while their painted faces square up in a battle of rhythms and fire. Who will win this duel between devils and warriors? This symbolic clash seeks only to turn confrontation into a meeting of minds, to convert rage into language and to light fire – a unifying force that brings hearts together.

It is a warming spectacle that evokes the clash of cultures, the need to talk to one another, and a shared, imagined song, a spectacle in which the focus is on coming together and sharing.