Light dances across a building and transforms an empty space. Patterns and shapes appear and disappear. Before your eyes, the city becomes a decor in a play. Yes, it is the city, but not the city you know. Or thought you knew. Instead, it is Urban Skin, the city transformed and the theme of this year’s GLOW light art festival in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

New yet familiar
The 2022 edition of the much-loved light art festival will be held in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, from 12-19 November, and promises to lay down a marker for the future. First and most importantly, the goal is to reconnect with those things from pre-Covid editions that visitors loved so much, and especially the single walking route. At the same time, the ambition going forward is based on GLOW’s vision of ‘Light Art for All’ and its core values of Striking, Connecting, Accessible and Innovative. GLOW 2022 is the first step towards this.


The route
The single, communal walking route, which was dropped during the previous two, corona-dominated editions, has been a much-loved feature of GLOW since the first edition, in 2005. In the years up to the 2019 edition, some 700,000 visitors each year would walk the same, fixed route, enjoying the same views and experiences and sharing the same moments. The fixed route connects and is central to GLOW’s sense of occasion and shared ‘wow’ for both residents and visitors alike. “On the route, everyone is equal and there is a shared feeling, experience or perception,” says Ronald Ramakers, director of GLOW Eindhoven. “Not a change, but still important in this context: GLOW will continue to be free.”
By everyone, for everyone
As for Urban Skin, it represents both a creative theme and a statement of intent. Urban, because the organisers, as they do every year, want to involve the city and its residents in creating and shaping the festival. Skin because the theme involves transforming an urban landscape through the use of light art – giving it a new appearance or skin.
Artworks confirmed so far include having 20,000 school students draw and project monsters onto and inside of the city’s Van Abbemuseum (a concept from Hugo Vrijdag), Picto Facto with their mobile street art and co-creations from local tech-leader companies like ASML with light artist Dirk van Poppel and DAF with Michel Suk. There will also be interior and exterior projections across the city and combinations of light and water.
In total, Urban Skin will feature over 30 artworks, with around 80% of them unique to GLOW. There will also be a congress during which participants will explore lighting, light pollution and sustainability – key questions for the future.

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