Llum & Co.

Photography means painting with light. And that’s what you do. You paint a picture only by adding light to the things you see. No, you don’t shoot things. You capture them.

Katja Michaels


Light festivals express exactly the idea of a live act of painting with light – of playing with perception, of reshaping the concrete reality into digital ephemeral stories. The setting has also great importance and, for this reason, Llum BCN, the light festival of Barcelona, is one of the most originals of all Europe.

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Llum means light, in Catalan, and in February there’s a huge celebration of one of the city’s saint patron, Santa Eulalia (nicknamed la Laia) celebration that evolved, from a series of festivities dedicated to children, to a display of outstanding shows, including parades, human towers or buildings (falcons, a very specific Catalan thing that you need to see while being there) and, also, coincided with the light installations and video-mappings of Llum BCN.

As in any light festival, there were several routes to see the artworks and the places chosen, all outdoors, all open to public, were impressive as well, most of them nearby Barri Gòtic, like Plaça de Sant Jaume, Plaça del Rei or various museums from Born, briefly all important sites of Gothic architecture that the city takes so much pride in.

There were 26 art installations displayed from the Llum festival, and here are the ones I found to be the closest to the idea of patterns.


Dots of Stellar Patterns

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Museu Frederic Marès has got a nice, big, shady inner courtyard that houses, in summer, a pleasant cafe, Cafè d’estiu, a place to take everything with calm (that’s their own line).

The courtyard is filled with trees and is completely surrounded by the old building. And here, in the exact middle of the space,  occupying the space of the fountain, a big hexagon, with kinetic spotlights inside, spread dots all around the walls, the trees, the floor, the people… Dins l’universby IED Barcelona.


Lines of Spatial Travels

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Axioma is an intricate 3D video-mapping depicting the idea of an abstract travel through dimensions that starts from 0, or the point, then goes to 1, or the line, to 2, or the two-dimensional plane, to 3, or the 3D space…

It was created by Onionlab studio and projected, on every evening of Llum BCN, on one of the facades of the Gothic square of Plaça del Rei.


Circles of Kinetic Kaleidoscopes

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MUHBA, meaning the Museum of the History of Barcelona, is situated not far away from Via Laietana, and is, as well, a Gothic building with a nice courtyard. Around the many stairs of the patio, students of Eina, or the University Center of Design and Art of Barcelona, installed a series of ventilators and LED lights that gave a strange feeling, especially due to the sound, hence the name of the artwork, Incomoditat sensorial.


Changing Colors of Fog

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Fog art installations are something quite spectacular. One of the most known artists that work with this ephemeral material, Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya is also the first to have worked with fog as a sculptural medium. Rather than molding the medium according yo her own conception, her approach implies a subtle collaboration with water, atmosphere, air currents, and time itself. Experiential and ephemeral in nature, her fog sculptures have certain affinities with Conceptual and Land art, but nevertheless represent a radical departure in the history of art and technology.

One of her fogs is part of the permanent collection of The Guggenheim Bilbao.

Back to Llum BCN and, inside one of the patios of the famous Museu Picasso, there was a very dense fog: Metre i mig or A Meter and a Half, in Catalan. Even more, the color changed in all shades of the RGB light. It was a place of wonder and, above all, a place to take photos – a place really dedicated to taking photos. The installation was created by Jaume Pla Liñan, Sergi Marzo Montoro and Xavier Bardina.

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