[ISEA2023] Artist Talk: Titia Ex — Light and Bodies and Perception in Public Space

Artist Statement

Theme Architectures – Territoires Subtheme Symbiotic Imaginaries

Keywords: Art of Light, public space, living environment, future, experience-based, bodies, sustainable, interaction, biological clock, cycles of day and night, technology, planet, perception, The Walk.

During a lockdown, there was a supermoon over Europe. A beautiful light filtered through our surroundings, however, a paradox with the obligation to stay indoors when we should be going outside for our health. Light and health are fundamentally linked. Light is related to our well-being during the day and at night. The biological clock of humans and animals, greening, sustainability, public space, every-thing is related to light. Light is much more than a medium that enables us to see. It affects our health, our ecosystems and the places we live in in countless ways. Without reciprocity, we could not survive. We are eating and drinking light.

Art of Light in public space
For me, as a public art artist specialized in light, public space is not a saturated or static space, but a living organism. A continuous process of interaction between people and their environment. Light uses time and space as its material. Light art in public space does not begin or end in a physical form but is a transfer of energy. An infinite potential of relationships that permanently engenders new links between things and people. It can lift the space out of its anonymity and add new and unexpected connections or break fixed patterns of movement. It does not have to draw attention to itself, it provides sight of the space. Light, both natural and artificial, brings people together in urban spaces, emphasize the culture and identity of the city and shape the nightscape.

Artistic research experience-based process
The goal is to identify different light ecosystems, characters and qualities of the living environment. Defining functional, emotional and social dimensions, in order to experiencing what is of real value of light, rethink the relationship with nature and by focusing on bodies and perception rather than reason and intellect. In order to make people the owners of the light in their living environment.

‘The Walk’ shows an intense, red glow of light a fascinating variety of colors and movements. The spherical shape and the change of light and color give the impression of a rotating planet. Based on Dante’s Divine Comedy about the journey from the Inferno to Purgatory, an illusory story unfolds that gives a sense of catharsis and the transition from fire to light. Flames and figures with torches appear as a non-stop procession into infinity, searching for meaning and happiness.

The spectator is invited to enter the procession, approach the sphere and walk around it without ever moving away from the light. In this form of interaction between spectator, space and object, the visitor is not only absorbed by a play of light and image, but is also a participant in a journey in search of light.

  • Titia Ex (NL) creates a choreography in space, where art, technology and the receptive surroundings meet. Every environment has its own character, function and users. Her visual light & media sculptures immerse with their dynamic, mobile forms and interactive characters. In the course of light and dark, day and night, they reflect related changes of mood and create a poetic echo, adding a new layer of meaning. She is the creator of dozens of high-profile, large-scale works of light art in public space, including ‘Dolmen Light’ in the Hondsrugtunnel in Emmen (NL) (2015) and ‘Loom Light’, an interactive light monument in Eindhoven, NL (2022). Several installations travel around the world such as ‘Flower of the Universe,’ an interactive installation about the cross-pollination between humans and plants, and ‘The Walk’, recently shown at the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam and selected for the ISEA2023 in Paris. http://titiaex.nl