Cultural events and pandemic

Cultural events and pandemic

Artistic stagings on buildings, light shows on streets and public areas, colorful luminous messages on the buildings’ walls – this is possible also when events are cancelled, art has to be paused and people keep distance to each other for their own safety. With its light art installations, the “Festival of Lights Berlin” brought culture to the people even in times of pandemic. Together with its partners, the team around founder and artistic director Birgit Zander brought smiles to marvelling faces, gave people joy and courage. And they can rightly be proud of this.   Shining in artless times

Glowing in artless times

From spectacular light installations to magical lights

Optical illusions break down the contours of buildings and put them back together, again and almost immediately. Video installations on the building walls tell stories of people, places and events. Carpets of flowers appear and disappear, objects in public space seem bathed in a new light. Rapid-moving color plays in flashy colors or soft pastels follow the music that fills the place. The productions bring messages to the audience. These are emotionally statements or wishes, facts as well as reminding representations of an important event., embedded in colors, pictures and illustrations.

All productions are developed by the festival team in close consultation for and with partners or sponsors. They ask what information an installation will communicate to the viewer. Because colors, images and selected effects trigger emotions and thoughts. The task of the “Festival of Lights” is to present these emotions with great effects and precisely.

What was different within the work during the pandemic?

The sounds in nearly all installations were a little quieter, more thoughtful, the images often a little more emphatic. Courage was a big theme, the desire for solidarity and responsibility was articulated. All the messages were intended to carry confidence, the look ahead was intoned with self-assurance. With the unusual format of the light art, these requirements were realized  with their usual perfection by the producing team “Zander & Partner”.

Bebelplatz, 2020 “Together we shine” (Fotocredit: Frank Herrmann)

Festival of Lights Berlin,

also the largest open air gallery in the world in 2020

85 monuments, landmarks and buildings and a pandemic visitor concept – the festival was the only and biggest cultural event in Germany.

Berliners look forward to their annual festival of lights.  For the “Festival of Lights” team was there no reason to cancel it in this extraordinary year.  The locations and buildings for the installations were spread all over the city and, if possible, chosen so that the space in front of the installation guaranteed as many people as possible the distance they needed. In short, the concept of outdoor installations, the dispersion of locations across the entire city and the individually coordinated protective measures made the festival to a success. The number of visitors could even be topped, the festival places over 168 square kilometers gave enough space for strolling guests. Images of the light art installations were posted to the world every hour and met with an enthusiastic echo.  

A remembering view of three out of the total about 100 artworks by 52 artists from 8 countries.

Siegessäule: An exuberance of yellow hearts danced up and down the skinny tower, Mastercard was sent its message of love to its customers. The people in the passing cars and especially on the bicycles enjoyed it most of all.

Siegessäule, 2020 “Hello Berlin” (Fotocredit: Christian Kremer)

Schloss Charlottenburg: Powerful sounds accompany the rapid changes of the light-art installations on the formerly royal residence. Stones break out of the façade and build up anew, the splendid play of colours changes to the notes. The audience follows the show with rapt attention, many have brought a glass of wine, some relax on unfolded blankets on the central dividing strip of the Schlossstraße.

Schloss Charlottenburg, 2020 “Tabula Smaragdina” (Fotocredit: Frank Herrmann)

Kurfürstendamm: The building ensemble known until now as KuDamm Caree is currently under renovation and will bring new radiance to City West with the new name FÜRST. The video installation on the façade of the high-rise building tells viewers about the past and the future. Passers-by take the time to assimilate this message, conversations arise, in anticipation of a new highlight at this location.

FÜRST, 2020 (Fotocredit: Frank Herrmann)

You want more great stories about the Festival of Lights, the locations and partners? Browse through the magazine or directly on the festival page with impressive pictures and videos.