BELICHT HEIMWEE

 

Belicht Heimwee: translated as 'lit up longing' organized by Aart van der Kuijl and Frans van Heiningen, was part of a project in Haarlem called Heimwee Haarlem. For two weeks every cultural institute in Haarlem participated in giving their own interpretation of the theme heimwee being either longing, homesickness or nostalgia. With Belicht Heimwee ten artists participated in making projections with light by the water on the Spaarne river which runs right through Haarlem. The river is surrounded by old monumental buildings including the historical windmill: Molen de Adriaan, the monumental penintentiary: Koepelgevangenis and the oldest museum in Holland: Teylersmuseum.

I reacted with light on two very characteristic buildings being the dome shaped penintentiary:Koepelgevangenis and the kopper bridgewatcher's house on the Catharijnebrug being oval shaped. The buildings showed similarities both in shape and in structure even though one was more than a hundered years old and the other was only three years old. I wanted to make a visual connection between these two and started to imagine how the large monumental dome of the penintentiary was the mother and the small oval shaped copper house on the bridge could be her child that has flown away. The child tries to seek contact with the mother from a distance and sometimes the mother responds. I wanted to translate this communication into pulsating light. The small copper house would always pulsate softly with a deep green light. The large dome would respond with pulses of light coming from the top of the dome.

The light had to be transmitted by a strong precise projection. This soon led to the idea of using a laser light, since this could easily bridge the distance between the two buildings being 200 meters and aim with precision at the very tip of the building. Ed Dammers: inventor, took over from this point and translated my idea into a brilliant construction. The light program was electronically controlled and programmed into a small computer. Both the lamps in the small copper bridgehouse and the laser were connected to this. The laser had to be hung in the tip of the copper house. For this the cap of the building had to be tilted up to give enough space to let the laser come through. The beam had to be aimed very precisely to reach the tip of the large dome.

After a lot of hard work the result was a success. The small copper bridgewatcher's house pulsated a deep green light in a consistent movement. Every thirty seconds the laser would project onto the tip of the Koepelgevangenis giving pulses in varied lenghts. The light was so bright that it reflected like a star in the sky. The large prominent dome could also be seen from different angles since the Spaarne river curls around it. Once the viewer approached the copper bridgewatcher's house the green line between the two building became visible and appeared every thirty seconds. The intensity of the laser visibility depended on the weather conditions.