As part of the Zomer van Antwerpen or Antwerp Summer festival, artivist Dan Acher from Switzerland installed his ‘Borealis‘ at Antwerp‘s Theaterplein, home of the Exotische Markt and Vogelenmarkt. It’s visible until the 29th of August. Every day from 9PM to 12AM.
“This mesmerising installation brings the experience of the Northern Lights to cities the world over. Time slows down as eyes look up. An aurora, here and now, in our latitudes?”, Acher explains on his website.
“Throughout the ages, we have attributed countless legends to the celestial phenomenon. Today we can replicate it. ‘Borealis’ is about our ancestral communion with nature and our more recent compulsion to control it. It’s about inspiring shared emotions in the center of a city by creating something magical – something that shouldn’t naturally be there.”
“The Northern and Southern Lights have long inspired awe and astonishment ; by recreating their majesty in urban skies, Dan allows city-dwellers to share emotions beyond their differences of origin, race, religion, status, age, gender identity, sexual orientation…”
“Climate is rapidly changing due to excessive human activity. New and unusual natural phenomena are occurring all around us. Will we start witnessing auroras appearing in cities around the world, far from the poles they currently inhabit? Or will controlling our environment become the new normal? Will we be able to artificially recreate all that we seek and need from nature – aesthetically, emotionally and in terms of natural resources?”
How does it work?
“High-power laser beams travel through particle clouds to create the illusion. Variations in movement, colour, and density, together with changing weather conditions, give infinite variations. A unique aurora is created each time.”
OXSA‘s musical composition supports the installation, premiered over the Rolex Learning Centre at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology to mark the opening of the new ArtLab building in November 2016.