Mirrorowl (Bubo speculus) is a sculptural light installation that hoots from a tree branch. Foto: Helsinki Lux.

A fire tornado, colour therapy and sci-fi – satellite installations extend Lux Helsinki from Hanaholmen to Itäkeskus

The official route of the Lux Helsinki light festival in January 2020 will stretch from Senate Square to the Tokoinranta shoreline.

Lux Helsinki is a bright spot in the winter that will once again present a diverse range of top Finnish and international light art from 4 to 8 January 2020. The official route comprises nine installations and stretches from Senate Square through Kaisaniemi Park to the beautiful Tokoinranta shoreline. The route is designed as a dramaturgical series that should be seen in numerical order from start to finish.

The Lux Helsinki light festival will cover more ground than ever before in 2020. Thanks to its satellite installations, the festival is even more comprehensive and diverse than in previous years. These satellite installations will extend Lux Helsinki even further, including East Helsinki for the first time.

Lux Helsinki 2020 is curated by Ilkka Paloniemi together with Christina Dvinge from Denmark and Martin Pošta from the Czech Republic. The light festival promises to be more international than ever, with participating light artists coming from Austria, Turkey, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Sweden and, of course, Finland.

“The route mixes the built urban environment with parks and shorelines. One of the great things about Lux Helsinki is how the festival can spread out quite freely in the urban environment, highlighting places that are less familiar. Arctic Helsinki is just as big a star in Lux Helsinki as the light art,” Paloniemi says.;

Light art from primal fire to interactive projections

Lux Helsinki audiences will get to enjoy a wide range of light art along the route, from primitive fire all the way to interactive video projections.

“Lux Helsinki is made using a wide range of light tools. The route has both analogue and digital projections, both of which have their own interesting characteristics. Lux Helsinki 2020 also offers interactive art, multisensory experiences and communal projects,” Paloniemi adds.

The route starts from Senate Square, where the façade of Helsinki Cathedral will feature SunWind,a colourful installation inspired by the northern lights and Scandinavian light by Austrian light artist Teresa Mar. Inside the Topelia courtyard, The Bridge by M4 artists from Lithuania will offer light therapy. Viewers get to walk through the 27-metre-long installation and experience it with all their senses: the art can be seen, heard and even felt on your skin. 

The Colour Out of Space by 3dsense from the Czech Republic is inspired by a science fiction novel and creates a horror-themed scene in the courtyard of the Forest House that combines sounds, video mapping, projections and light. Large Fire Tornado by Dutch artist Ivo Schoofs takes viewers at the Kaisaniemi field to the mother of light – fire. This kinetic fire installation creates a rapidly rotating flame that reaches a height of 16 metres. At the Tokoinranta field, the pink glowing Do-gooders by Katja Tukiainen and OiOi allows viewers the opportunity to touch the light and awaken the painting into life. 

Details about all the installations along the route and the artists who created them can be found on the Lux Helsinki website. Later in December, numerous satellite installations and related events will be added to the official Lux Helsinki programme. The carbon footprint of all Lux Helsinki installations on the route is being offset. 

A communal way to enjoy the power of light in the middle of winter

The Light Challenge has become a popular feature of the Lux Helsinki light festival and is now being held for the third time, encouraging local residents, communities and businesses to light up the darkest time of the year with their own light art. Real estate company SATO has participated in the Light Challenge from the outset, presenting light installations at its residential buildings and celebrating turning on the lights together with residents. The Light Challenge has also inspired the likes of Korkeasaari Zoo, Fazer, the National Museum of Finland and Paulig Kulma to light up their surroundings. Over a thousand Instagram photos can already be found using the #valohaaste hashtag. 

Lux Helsinki 4–8 January 2020, 5pm–10pm. Lux Helsinki is organised by the Helsinki Events Foundation and produced by Susa Nokelainen. Sun Effects Oy is responsible for the design and production of the Lux Helsinki route and installations. The festival is curated by Ilkka Paloniemi together with Christina Dvinge (DK) and Martin Pošta (CZ).

Main partner: Sun Effects
Partners: SATO, Hanaholmen – Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre, Korkeasaari Zoo, Granlund, Cultural Centre Stoa, Ylva, UNICEF Finland, Helsinki Art Museum HAM, Torikorttelit, Bright
Network partners: City, Johan & Nyström, Local Crew, Marski by Scandic