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Eindhoven University of Technology: Student team IGNITE lights up GLOW with three installations

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Art & Tech Team IGNITE will leave TU/e’s mark on light art festival GLOW with an enormous light bulb, little airplanes lighting the way and beating hearts spread across the city. The team developed the Student’s Heart project in collaboration with student association SSRE, which will be involved in the festival for the second time this year. The projects will be on display in Eindhoven from 12 thru 19 November.

Bringing together light artists to form one big community is one of Team IGNITE’s. In this light, the team is presenting not one but three artworks at GLOW, say board members and students of Industrial Design Puck Verbeek and Emma Eisma. Normally the team designs one large piece for the festival. This year that’s Unplugged, a lightbulb of three by three meters, which lights up when festival visitors touch its plug.

But then two other project groups working on light artworks for GLOW on behalf of TU/e also decided to join IGNITE. “Uniting students under one flag means more mutual feedback and better external branding opportunities,” says Eisma. One of the projects that joined IGNITE is Paper Trails, which is an elaboration of a concept that participated last year, when visitors were guided around the artworks on campus by a light installation consisting of interactive mushrooms.

Paper planes
This year it’s not mushrooms but ‘paper’ airplanes that guide the way. According to Verbeek, the advantage of planes suspended high up in the air is that visitors can’t take them home, which happened to some of the mushrooms. “We had to patrol the premises to make sure people didn’t take them home. At the end of the festival, 65 out of 75 mushrooms were still there.

The original idea was for the airplanes to signpost the entire GLOW route, but that turned out to be somewhat ambitious, says Verbeek. “We produce everything ourselves, by hand. All wings have to be bent and put into a frame one by one.” In spite of ‘assembly night’, where non-members helped putting together the little planes, it was impossible make enough for the entire five-kilometer route. “So they’re only present along part of the route, by way of a pilot. If the response is positive, we do want to do the entire route next year,” says Verbeek.

Student’s Heart
Student’s Heart is another project that IGNITE has taken under its wings. Student association SSRE wanted to demonstrate that Eindhoven is a real student city. They asked Art & Tech Team for help in realizing their plans. “We made hundreds of hearts, which look like they are beating when they light up. Student houses attach them to their windows to show where students live,” says Eisma. Fifty of the hearts will be on display at student houses along the route, the rest in other parts of the city. Houses can still apply for a heart, which costs 10 euros and can be kept after the festival. At SSRE headquarters the hearts culminate in a work of art.

In addition to the three projects on display, IGNITE is also working on GLOW behind the scenes. The team already started developing two light artworks for the next edition, which will revolve around music and sustainability. Verbeek: “We wanted to get an early start because this year’s planning was less than ideal, which caused a lot of stress for the project teams.” This definitely applies to team Unplugged, which was still busy putting the finishing touches on during the exam week.