Absorbed by light

CELL WORSHIPPERS: Design Bridge senior designer Gali Lucas and Berlin-based sculptor Karoline Hinz collaborated on Absorbed by Light, an installation that comments on “how we’re constantly drawn to the screens that illuminate our lives, yet the light that brings us information also draws us away from the tangible world”. Picture by dionisopunk.com

The familiar sight of people face down in their phones is reflected in an installation cell-worshippers around the world can see for themselves on their mobile devices.

Created by Amsterdam’s Design Bridge senior designer Gali Lucas in collaboration with sculptor Karoline Hinz, the public sculpture Absorbed by Light features three people sitting on a bench. Each of them is absorbed by a few centimetres of light emanating from their cellphones.

Installed as part of the annual Amsterdam Light Festival, the work is a response to the culture of connection and disconnection in a super-mediated age.

“The medium is the message” is the theme of this year’s Amsterdam Light Festival and the message in Lucas and Hinz’s sculpture couldn’t be clearer unless it was messaged in HD.

“This light that rules our lives is sometimes our only means of connection, yet it also isolates us completely,” Lucas told My Modern Met.

“It detaches us from the real world.

“I’m not trying to send a specific message of change for people’s behaviour — I just hope they think objectively about the white light of technology and the role it plays in their lives. It’s more of an observation — I just hope it gets people talking.”

The idea for this piece came naturally, said Lucas.

“Cycling to work in the mornings, I see people lost in the light of their mobile phones. On park benches, on the tram, in restaurants — no one talks to each other anymore. The white light and white noise is a bit eerie if you look at it in a certain way.”

Lucas initially looked at using 3D printing to create the work, but when she couldn’t find a cost-effective option she turned to Instagram and found Berlin-based sculptor Karoline Hinz.

Hinz coated the three life-sized human sculptures in epoxy fibreglass and dressed them with polyurethane lacquer. Light pads imitate smartphones.

The work invites people to sit with the figures. Involving the viewer is a recurring feature in Lucas’s work, says dionisopunk.com webzine editor David Capone. He believes a counter movement to cellphone fixtion is on its way.

“Several tech companies are creating ways to look at your phone less. You can set a timer . . . 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.”

The familiar sight of people face down in their phones is reflected in an installation cell-worshippers around the world can see for themselves on their mobile devices.

Created by Amsterdam’s Design Bridge senior designer Gali Lucas in collaboration with sculptor Karoline Hinz, the public sculpture Absorbed by Light features three people sitting on a bench. Each of them is absorbed by a few centimetres of light emanating from their cellphones.

Installed as part of the annual Amsterdam Light Festival, the work is a response to the culture of connection and disconnection in a super-mediated age.

“The medium is the message” is the theme of this year’s Amsterdam Light Festival and the message in Lucas and Hinz’s sculpture couldn’t be clearer unless it was messaged in HD.

“This light that rules our lives is sometimes our only means of connection, yet it also isolates us completely,” Lucas told My Modern Met.

“It detaches us from the real world.

“I’m not trying to send a specific message of change for people’s behaviour — I just hope they think objectively about the white light of technology and the role it plays in their lives. It’s more of an observation — I just hope it gets people talking.”

The idea for this piece came naturally, said Lucas.

“Cycling to work in the mornings, I see people lost in the light of their mobile phones. On park benches, on the tram, in restaurants — no one talks to each other anymore. The white light and white noise is a bit eerie if you look at it in a certain way.”

Lucas initially looked at using 3D printing to create the work, but when she couldn’t find a cost-effective option she turned to Instagram and found Berlin-based sculptor Karoline Hinz.

Hinz coated the three life-sized human sculptures in epoxy fibreglass and dressed them with polyurethane lacquer. Light pads imitate smartphones.

The work invites people to sit with the figures. Involving the viewer is a recurring feature in Lucas’s work, says dionisopunk.com webzine editor David Capone. He believes a counter movement to cellphone fixtion is on its way.

“Several tech companies are creating ways to look at your phone less. You can set a timer . . . 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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