One Peace at a time

The Lights in Alingsås light festival returned to the town of Alingsås, near Gothenburg in Sweden, during the autumn and brought a message of peace in troubled times

The popular Lights in Alingsås light festival has run in in the town of Alingsås, near Gothenburg in the west of Sweden, every autumn since the turn of the millennium.

The 2023 festival – the 24th – took place from 6 October to 6 November and had as its theme ‘Rays of light – one peace at a time’, undoubtedly topical given the grimness of the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, Ukraine and elsewhere.

Since 2018, Alingsås Energi has been the owner of the project and it is run in collaboration with the International Association of Lighting Designers.

Seven lighting designers displayed installations across the 2km festival route, including a ‘Children’s Lights’ festival by Malin Wallin, which took place in the city’s Järtas Park. Visitors were also able to take part in guided tours of the installations.

The other six installations were: ‘Lillån’, by Portuguese lighting designer Martina Frattura; ‘Stampens kvarn’, by Lina Färje, based in Sweden; ‘Equmeniakyrkan’, by Linus Lopez, based in India; ‘Allén’ by US designer David Ghatan; ‘Nygrens Handelsgård’, by Nick Dankers, based in the Netherlands; and ‘Christinae kyrkpark’, by Iris Molendijk and Sara Altelind, again, based in Sweden.

For Lillån, or ‘one drop at a time; together we are stronger’, Martina Frattura played with horizontals and verticals through a loop of lights mimicking raindrops. The installation was designed to make visitors think about the connection between you, the individual, and, as more and more raindrops come, the power and strength of us as a collective.

For ‘Stampens kvarn’ or ‘pulse of life’, Lina Färje contrasted movement, light and sounds, projecting her building’s interior on to the façade, building on the idea that the history and function of a place will often have been the starting point for its lighting.

THREE ‘JOURNEYS’
‘Equmeniakyrkan’ used light to articulate three ‘journeys’: tension, inner peace, and outer peace. In ‘Tension’ a discordant clash of light and colour created contradictions and glare within our vision and across the base of the façade.This gradually changed to ‘Inner Peace’, where the windows of the church were illuminated from the interior, so creating a sense of warmth that gradually glowed from every window. This, in turn, led to ‘Outer Peace’, where the church’s façade and trees were illuminated, so as to ‘spread hope, love and kindness among people while walking into your next path of journey’.

In ‘Allén’, or ‘Interludes of peace’ the idea was simply to encourage people to take a break from the busyness of life and stroll along a ‘magical’ path, to pause and observe. Visitors were encouraged to ‘encounter quietness in darkness, otherworldly experiences and warm comforts before resuming your journey towards inner peace’.

FEELINGS OF HARMONY
For ‘Nygrens Handelsgård’, the area was divided the area into three parts where Nick Dankers and his team aimed to convey ‘places where the feeling of harmony is experienced in the body’.

The first was water and mist, the second dusk and dawn, and the third moonlight and shimmer. Lighting effects created varying patterns and movements to generate a dynamic atmosphere intertwined with the theme of, as he put it, ‘eternal horizon’.

‘Christinae kyrkpark’, or ‘Shelter’, was about encouraging visitors to ‘experience peace in the hugs of the people we love’, to ‘find peace in absolute silence and also in loud laughter and music’.

Finally, the festival included ‘Arcus Arcus (Regnbågen)’, by Alingsås Energi in collaboration with Calidos of Barcelona, where visitors walked through a ‘rainbow’ to start their light walk.

There was also the permanent ‘Färgeribron’ installation as well as ‘Skortstenen’, or ‘The Chimney’, where one of the town’s big chimneys – belonging to Alingsås Energi – was illuminated in the festival’s colours.

Another permanent municipal installation, ‘Mullbärsplantaget’, or ‘Plantagets new playground’,
was a playground filled with illuminated equipment that illustrated the process of silk production
in the form of mulberries, silkworms, silk butterflies and silk thread.

Clockwise from top: ‘Stampens kvarn’; ‘Equmeniakyrkan’; ‘Lillån’; and ‘Nygrens Handelsgård’. Main image: ‘Skortstenen’, or ‘The Chimney’. All photographs by Patrik Gunnar Helin

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