merchants art installation amsterdam light festival daniella rubinovitz
merchants art installation amsterdam light festival daniella rubinovitz
merchants art installation daniella rubinovitz

TITLE: Merchants

PROJECT TYPE: Amsterdam Light Festival Shortlist

MATERIALS: Mesh and Luminous Material

SCALE: 20 meters

The concept is a tribute to the Aristocratic Merchants of Amsterdam. These merchants, via trading, built the wealth of Amsterdam. Historically we are reminded of this Dutch Golden Age through the white neck ruffs as commonly depicted in the paintings of Rembrandt and Frans Hals. This installation gives a chance to step back in time and interact during these heated trade discussions. The interaction happens though the activation of light sensors. We can sense the energy of who is speaking. The feeling is that viewers are welcome to come and leave the discussion. The more pulsating lights, the more discussion. As these neck ruffs, appearing to float by, we are in awe of the active negotiations of past and present day merchants.

The visitor experience is one of Historic nostalgia, education and encouragement of these active trading discussions. These sculptures represent the intense trading between these merchants, where the visitor is invited to interact within heated negotiations. Both the pulsating lights and moving waters, as boats pass by, enhance this. The movements simulate Yes’s and No’s as these neck ruffs move about the imaginary heads and bodies. The pulsating white lights accentuates the stark white contrast, in paintings from this time period. We are reminded through these ruffs of the timelessness of the historical significance and architecture of Amsterdam.

The theme, THE MERCHANTS is designed for the Water Colors route theme: View of Amsterdam. On a historical level we are taken back in time when the aristocratic merchants wore white, lace ruffs that we are familiar with from the painting masters of the Dutch Golden Age. This is an ode to those who commissioned Amsterdam to be built. Similarly we can admire the hand labor that touched architectural details and interior fashions through the lacework of these ruffs. The presence of these pieces remind us of the establishment of Amsterdam. Today International trade relations continue to bring visitors and business alike to Amsterdam. The strong foundation in trading is still culturally active as a leading export oriented base.

  • Each unit of THE MERCHANTS, six in total, measure approximately 2.5 meters in diameter.
  • The ‘Ruffs’ themselves are to be made out of wire mesh and a light transferring membrane.
  • LED light strips detail the outer corrugated edge.
  • LED Flood lights are mounted on inside of structure and shine onto a luminous material allowing it to glow.
  • Motion sensors are activated by the movement of pedestrians and boats. The lights simulate intense trading discussions between the six ruffs. The effect is that the brightness of each piece pulsate as multi lights per unit turn on and off.
  • The underlying structure is made out of welded aluminum ‘L’ beams. This structure is designed to be light, durable and creates stability during heavy winds.
  • Six 120 Liter plastic drums keeps each unit afloat on the canal. It will be tested and weighed properly for high winds.
  • Wire cables keep the six ruffs in position.

The wind is able to move through the low, mesh structure, which minimizes wind drag.

merchants art installation amsterdam light festival daniella rubinovitz sketch