“High Tech bench ‘Vena Lumen’ is a very complicated work of art, but it looks simple”

Keith Watson, curator Canary Wharf, brings the bench created by students of Fontys School of Engineering to London

The Winter Lights Festival in London. A light event that takes place for almost two weeks with 21 domestic and foreign artworks. Curator Keith Watson travels around the world, searching for the most interesting artworks for the Winter Lights Festival. And this year the high-tech bench Vena Lumen created by students from Fontys School of Engineering from Eindhoven caught his attention.

"The bench is a real eye-catcher," says Watson. "The design looks simple, but there is so much complicated technology behind it. You can see the intention behind the artwork and the bench looks attractive." According to Watson, this is also the trend in light art. "The technology behind it is processed in a beautiful and visual simple design and therefore attractive for many visitors."

Watson visited the Glow light festival in Eindhoven last November. This was the first time he saw Vena Lumen. From that day he wanted to showcase the student project at the Winter Lights Festival in London. "Glow has always been a great source of inspiration for me," Watson says. "The artworks are of high quality. Both in design and in technology, but also in the way the artworks are presented at various places. And the walking route throughout the whole city of Eindhoven, that’s fantastic."

Watson visits Glow every year, to see if there are artworks that are suitable for the London festival. But not every work of art is eligible. "Winter Lights takes place outside," explains Watson. "And there might be strong winds. So the artwork must be able to withstand those winds.” Winter Lights lasts almost two weeks. Only the light festival of Amsterdam takes longer. “So the artworks must last that long." But the design is also an important issue. "The artwork must be strong, but it also has to be safe and interactive. And interesting for a lot of people. And a beautiful design is also very important."

The Winter Lights Festival takes place for the fifth time. The light objects are set up in Canary Wharf, a large financial district in London, where about 120,000 people work. According to Watson a perfect place for the light festival to take place. "It is not a government area, so we are not restricted by all sorts of rules that make the organization of the festival more difficult. And there are already a lot of restaurants and shops for the people who work at Canary Wharf. These stores are happy to have customers in the evenings during the Winter Lights Festival."

Keith Watson Keith Watson

Vena Lumen in London Vena Lumen in London

For the future, Watson foresees a problem when it comes to the festival. And that depends on how the Brexit goes. He is absolutely not in favor of leaving the EU. "I don’t know how it’s gonna go in the future with shipping artworks from abroad and levying taxes." But Watson hopes that he can continue to contribute to the growing popularity of the Winter Lights Festival.