Since 2006 Eindhoven colors with lights during its GLOW event. In order to gain more insight I decided to accept the invitation to act as official GLOW guide. It triggered me to go deeper into the stories behind the creative expressions of the artists, meet several personally and extend their messages to the visitors and groups who walk with me.
Most of the 750.000 visitors walk the 5 km route with 32 official light objects with just an Ohhh and Ahhhh experience. Photos are shared through social media with expressions in the range of “beautiful”, “best ever” or “I thought it was Christmas”….The enormous presence of people hardly gives time to really connect with the art or the message contained.
This year the overall concept is Living Colors, an allegation to the broad scatered spectrum of light colors that we experience in our visual world. But this definition is not enough. When talking to some artists we note multidisciplinary combinations of artistic specialties, such as light, with 3D and sound. They all experience a deep engagement in cocreating among the disciplines and make something truly unique by applying 1 +1 is much more than 2. The results are truly remarkable and best appreciated if someone draws attention to it. As a guide I have the opportunity to transmit some of the artistic energy.
Students from different highschools used the opportunity to pick up sustainability issues and design a light experience around it. We see references to water scarcity, air pollution, plastic pollution, making the city together, multidisciplinary cocreation, inner rest, global networks, etc. all expressed in combinations of light, interactivity, sounds and a sensory experience.
All this together makes GLOW 2019 into a communication platform, an opportunity to engage artistically with the modern world of observation, awareness, experience and reflection. The route also takes us through the modern expression of city development, the city as meeting place, with cosy (COS3I) social engagement place, some doing special things around GLOW to show themselves. Life music, nice family restaurants, cosy terrasses, make it more welcome to eat out than at home. Eindhoven transformed in recent years from a small industrial, sleepy technology town into a lively multicultural city for social inclusion and professional engagements. GLOW made this visible for the first time and guests from outside the city reacted with a sense of approval and enthousiasm. This GLOW became thus also a true integrator of social design and engagement.