Absorbed by Light

A project by Gali May Lucas and Karoline Hinz

Our smartphone addiction becomes a suggestive light sculpture, aiming to comment on how digital technology engrosses us and takes people away from reality. Designed by the British Gali May Lucas and executed by Berlin-based sculptor Karoline Hinz, the piece was designed for this year’s Amsterdam Light Festival and is on display throughout the duration of it: from 29 november 2018 until 20 january 2019.

The sculpture responds to the idea of “the medium is the message”, which is the theme of this year’s Light Festival and is placed outside the Hermitage Amsterdam. The installation itself sees three figures sat next to each other on a bench in the familiar poses and positions of smartphone users: heads bent, fingers typing and swiping, faces glowing in reflected light. Gali comments on the subject by saying, “I see this every day in parks and in restaurants. In previous years, the works in the festival have been visually impressive but abstract — I chose to create something instantly recognisable and, in reality, quite literal. But eerie at the same time.”

Actively involving the audience in the “story” is a recurring feature in the work of Gali, who works in Amsterdam as a graphic designer for international brand design agency Design Bridge.

Yet a counter movement is on its way. Several tech companies are creating ways to look at your phone less. You can set a timer — for your children too —, be confronted with statistics about your use, and enable a do-not-disturb function. It’s still the question whether these types of interventions will really change. For the time being it looks like we prefer to delve into our digital realities versus our direct surroundings.


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