Diwali in Brussels! Almost, with the illuminated city

2:43 pm | | Comments 2

When it comes to Brussels, things keep getting bigger and brighter, literally! Its time for capital city to get illuminated again as we are nearing the Bright Brussels, a festival of magnificent lights. This time a new route of around 20 works and animated illuminations will light up the capital. From 13 to 16 February 2020, Festival of Light will enchant several of Brussels’ neighbourhoods. A new route of monumental luminous installations created by Belgian and international artists will take over several of the capital’s emblematic sites. This year, for the first time, a luminous bicycle parade will kick off the festival on Thursday 13 February.

Bright Brussels Festival © visit.brussels – Jean-Paul Remy

For 4 days, the Halle Gate, Marolles, Sablon/Zavel and Mont des Arts/Kunstberg neighbourhoods will be enchanted by around 20 installations and animated illuminations. Bright Brussels will offer visitors and residents a unique opportunity to discover, or rediscover, the historic districts of the capital. No fewer than 17 monumental installations will invade the heart of the capital starting 13 February. From projection mapping to a light show, along with interactive installations, artists will compete in a test of ingenuity to wow spectators.

Bright Brussels Festival © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier

Several free guided visits will be on offer during the festival. Visitors will roam the Royal, Mont des Arts/Kunstberg and Sablon/Zavel neighbourhoods accompanied by a professional guide and will learn more about the various luminous installations. On Thursday 13 February, a luminous bicycle parade organised in collaboration with Pro Velo and open to all will welcome no less than 200 cyclists. Participants start their journey at Place Royale. It would be a great opportunity to put showcase soft mobility.

On the initiative of the Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region, Rudi Vervoort, and the Brussels Minister of Transport and Public Works, Elke Van den Brandt, visit.brussels is coordinating the installation of these monumental works in the heart of the capital.

Bright Brussels Festival © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier

“Last year, more than 200,000 people came to admire our beautiful city region and its Bright Festival illuminations. This year, the route has been designed to intersect our public transport hubs as much as possible. The programme has also been developed to introduce new pedestrian routes and modes of active transport. In addition to being a moment of wonder, we hope that this 2020 edition will allow Brussels inhabitants and visitors alike to experience, in a warm and welcoming atmosphere, a new way of exploring the city,” says Brussels Minister of Transport and Public Works Elke Van den Brandt.

Bright Brussels Festival © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier

“Bright Brussels, Festival of Light has become February’s unmissable event. After the success of previous years, the festival will follow a different route this year. A new and original route that will particularly pay tribute to the artist Bruegel through the magnificent projection mapping that will adorn the Halle Gate, the last vestige of the second medieval wall that surrounded the city of Brussels. The festival will take visitors on an illuminated journey through the rich historical heritage of the capital,” says Brussels’ Minister-President Rudi Vervoort.

So, if you are planning to travel in early February, head to Brussels for a experience like never before. Lets have a  look at some of the artworks of illumination going to be showcased in this year’s edition of Bright Brussels.

Bright Brussels Festival © visit.brussels – Jean-Paul Remy

Winter – B71 (BE)

Winter is a monumental mural depicting winter through the works of Bruegel. b71 have included Massacre of the Innocents, The Census at Bethlehem and finally The Fight Between Carnival and Lent. The Halle Gate will become an integral part of these iconic paintings. Just like the works of the Flemish Master himself, this show will be full of life. Every nook and cranny of the facade will host a multitude of characters that play at the heart of the architecture, somewhere between reveries and sequences full of emotions.

Location: Halle Gate

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Welcome to Oogaland – Nikolai Gillissen (NL)

These happy little creatures are always friendly and cheerful. They laugh and play and dance around. But when people are around, they get a little shy. They stand stiff, and follow everything that moves with their big expressive eye. Are you close? They like it when you pet them. You can feel and hear them purring with pleasure. With the interactive Welcome to Oogaland! installation, talented Dutch designer Nikolai Gillissen takes you back to the comic books and cartoons of your childhood. Audiences of all ages will be amazed when playing with the Ooga, which react to your movements and touches. 

Location: Halle Gate Park

Bright Brussels Festival © visit.brussels – Jean-Paul Remy

Frontier – Encor Studio (CH)

Frontier is an audiovisual experience that questions us on the notions of borders and our interpretation of reality. The audience is confronted with luminous shapes reflected in a water mirror. Initially rigorously geometric, these shapes interact with the mirror and slowly evolve into more and more organic forms.The black-tinted water, which also has an organic aspect, interacts with the installation’s audio universe. The shapes meet the movements of the water, transform into waves and the lights evolve according to the vibrations.

Loops – Jonas Vorwerk (NL)

In Loops, Jonas Vorwerk returns to the idea of creating new spatial and collective interfaces for the making of music. This installation acts as a highly intuitive apparatus that allows anyone to play around with loop-based musical compositions. Loops pays tribute to the musical laboratory that were the 50’s and 60’s, where experimentation with analogue magnetic tapes laid the groundwork for modern music making.

Location: Boulevard de Waterloolaan

Bright Brussels Festival © visit.brussels – Jean-Paul Remy

Les Amours en Cage – Porté par le vent (FR)

Delicately suspended, the luminous lanterns of Les Amours en Cages light the way. With their perforated canvases, they play with the light, like stars suspended in the sky. An invitation to reverie, visitors are poetically immersed in this universe.

Location: Boulevard de Waterloolaan

PING – Gijs Van Bon (NL)

PING, is a work of art in which the light used in networks is connected to art and technology. In the past, primitive means such as smoke signals, drums and fire beacons on mountain tops were used to convey messages. PING refers to this.

Location: Egmont Park

Bright Brussels Festival © visit.brussels – Jean-Paul Remy

Contemplation – Patrice Warrener (FR)

The process of polychromatic architectural illumination (dubbed “Chromolith”) was created and developed over 5 years by Patrice Warrener in the early 1990s. The first creation of its type was presented on the facade of the opera Garnier in Paris for the Grand Gala des Arts et Métiers. it followed, approximately, a hundred achievements of this type everywhere in France, in particular at the festival of the lights of Lyon where he intervened on the city’s major buildings for more than twenty years. They also appeared throughout Europe and all over the world. The illumination of the splendid gothic facade of our lady of the Sablon will constitute a first for brussels. this highly detailed facade is the best place for a Chromolith architectural illumination.

Location: Notre-Dame du Sablon/Onze-lieve-ter-Zavel Church

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Whale Ghost – Pitaya (FR)

The installation invites the audience to spend a moment to think about the impact of mankind on our biodiversity. How it can affect multiple species and how, if nothing changes, it could lead to their disappearance and by extension, to our extinction. In “Whale Ghost” the audience witnesses the poetic dance of what could be the Ghost of the last remaining Whale.

Location: Pedestrian Zone

Bright Brussels Festival © visit.brussels – Jean-Paul Remy – 2019

Ray of Light – JJMA (BE)

Ray of light is a light installation that showcases the Gothic style architecture of Chapel Church. Using light beams and video projections, the installation invites visitors to rediscover the church in an atmosphere of light and shadow.

Location: Notre-Dame de la Chapelle/Kapelle Church (indoor)

Experignon – Maria Ilia (BE)

A live video mapping performance by Maria Ilia, on a large scale mapping installation, that flows in harmony with the sounds of a thoughtfully selected line-up, invites the greater public of Brussels to experience a festive atmosphere during the 4 days of Bright Festival. The mapping installation is carefully placed at the skate park of Ursulines, a strategic location in the fracture axes that have been created in the medieval city in order to connect the North and the South station. The mapping structure represents a linear thresh¬old in between the transportation system and the ev¬eryday city life, proposing a visual connection in the extensive Boulevard.

Location: Skate Park Place de la Chapelle/Kapellemarkt

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NYX – Gijs Van Bon (NL)

Nyx is a machine that writes texts with its arm by pouring photoluminescent powder on the ground. Letter after letter, the shining text appears slowly out of the machine. Once on the ground, the glowing letters become words and the words poetic texts.

Bright Brussels Festival © visit.brussels – Jean-Paul Remy

Rhizome – Tom & Lien Dekyvere (BE)

Rhizome visualises (dis)connections, in search of geometric patterns between entities. The installation is made of thousands of meters of illuminated fluorescent rope knotted together and plays with perspective through light and sound. The artwork’s structure is a reflection of our current society, where groups of people connect and disconnect, aware and un-aware, required or chosen. This society grows fast into digital networks, and Rhizome makes visible this web-idea while trying to understand its complexity by building a similar analogue form- study.

Location: Boulevard de l’Empereur/Keizerslaan

Trapped – Encor Studio (CH)

The machine is confined, in an enclosed space, like a caged beast. Evolving in its atmosphere, for its own safety and ours, it reacts to its environment like an animal. Not understanding its own position in the world, it reacts to the most fundamental vibrations that surround it. 

Location: Place Sainte-Catherine/Sint-Katelijneplein

Bright Brussels Festival © visit.brussels – Jean-Paul Remy

Les Luminéoles – Porté par le vent (FR)

A light and poetic atmosphere drifts through the night. The Luminéoles, imaginary birds of light with slender wings, dance with the wind. Their flight offers a display of colours with the sky and the city as a backdrop. Spellbound, visitors watch this aerial ballet in awe.

Location: Mont des Arts/Kunstberg Park 

UV-Dimension III – Ad Lib Créations (FR)

This scenography, created by French company Ad Lib Créations, uses several laser projectors installed on a circular metal structure. A set of light sources with concentrated beams, installed in a semi-circle behind the circle, complete the device, bringing a vertical nature to the whole piece. A New Age electro sound diffusion accompanies the various visual sequences, in a futuristic and playful creation of 12 minutes that repeats on a loop.

Location: Place du Musée/Museumplein

Bright Brussels Festival of Light STALACTITE (Cristopher Bauder) © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier

1,3 Seconde – TETRO – Guillaume Marmin (FR)

1.3 SECONDE is a monumental work illustrating the journey of light from the Earth to the Moon. The title of this installation refers to the time it takes for light to travel from the Earth to the Moon at the speed of 300,000 km/s. 1.3 SECONDE offers a physical exploration of the links between light, time and space by playing with viewers’ perceptions. The light and sound compositions offer a complete audiovisual show.

Location: Place Royale – Saint-Jacques-sur-Coudenberg/Koningsplein – Sint-Jacob-op- Koudenberg Church

Los Pajaros de Colombia – Sergio Mantilla and Miguel Chaparro (COL)

As part of a collaboration with the Colombian Embassy, a piece by Colombian artists Sergio Mantilla and Miguel Chaparro will be presented at Bright Festival. The work “The Birds of Colombia” addresses the theme of the impact of global warming on the biodiversity of Colombian fauna and its ecosystem. It reminds us how important it is to protect our planet. Colombia is one of the richest countries in terms of biodiversity and is one of the most varied and exciting birdwatching destinations in the world.

Bright Brussels Festival of Light UNDERLIGHT (OCUBO – TELMO RIBEIRO) © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier

Do you remember any other city getting light illuminations on this scale? Where? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!

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  1. TravelerInMe says:

    This is so interesting. I never knew about this ……

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