19.10.2017 | Words by: Mathis Neuhaus
Photo by: Tim Meijer
When looking at the timetable
for De School’s 62-hour party during Amsterdam Dance Event, you can see De Aula listed next to all the fun activities that are going to go down in De Club, Het Muzieklokaal and De Tuin (and in-between, but those you have to find out yourself.) For most of the duration, it reads “Exhibition: Warping Halos”. What images, thoughts or ideas are sparked while reading this title? Halo is one of the more versatile and hazy terms in English language and the liaison with warping does not necessarily make decoding easier.
The term halo and its proximity to everything light-related gives an indication that the exhibition has something to do with De School’s own Children of the Light. The artists that are, as anyone who embraced the basement-dancefloor’s spare glow knows, paradoxically not afraid of the darkness and call the club one of their fields for experimentation. They are also not afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue, to loosely quote the titles of Barnett Newman’s abstract paintings from the 1960s. Recently they started to embrace colors in their up-to-this point mostly monochrome work (they just celebrated their 5th anniversary!) and “Warping Halos”, which was shown at STRP Biennale 2017 in Eindhoven first, is one of the results. In conversation, they say: “This year, for us, is all about color.”
As with anything Children of the Light do, adding color was by no means a trivial decision. Their works often gain impact by well thought-of reduction, so there had to be convincing reasons to follow the path of visual maximization. In regards to “Warping Halos”, they explain the decision and the work’s fundamental idea like this: “Warping Halos takes inspiration from the moment when the sunlight shines through ice crystals that are suspended in the atmosphere, which then, consequently, creates a halo around the sun itself, a circular prism rainbow. If you, as a spectator, are under a 22-degree angle to the sun and said ice crystals, you are able to witness this phenomenon.” A complex scientific reference point that Children of the Light translate into a simple thing of mesmerizing beauty, accompanied by a soundtrack composed by Huerco S. The work is going to be De School’s pulsating heart in October, a soothing site of strong gravity.
The conversation then dives deeper into reflections on color and the artists tease a new work that will be on show for the first time during this year’s Amsterdam Dance Event: “To be completely immersed in color can have a healing effect. It can also be used to modulate time and mirror different moments of the day. We tried to approach this in a playful way that left room for new discoveries.” A clue that bears alluring potential for the period of 62 consecutive hours in which not only the artificial, but also the environment’s natural light changes steadily and therefore influences the reception of the art.
Children of the Light’s work is often a collaborative effort. Sometimes, in a conventional sense, because they work with musicians like Nicolas Jaar or Howling on stage designs and light shows, or with architects from Amsterdam to illuminate a public space to lead you the way when it is dark. But the collaborations go further by involving non-human agents that form a dialogue with the artworks: “Our works attract the spaces they need, which elevates them to something new that is formed from the same preset. Showing a piece in a church gives it obviously a more majestic feel then showing it in a garage. It is always interesting for us to see how our pieces form a correspondence with the surroundings, no matter if it is a white cube, a purpose-built space or a used environment like a club.” For De School, this means that “Warping Halos” will be influenced by warped minds and bodies, in a space that possesses strong but still flexible (social) aesthetics: day and night, bright and dark, empty and crowded, sometimes quiet, sometimes loud. The work has to interact with anything but a typical white-cube audience, in anything but a typical white-cube environment and “gets a life on its own.” For the full schedule that includes the space and time of all works by Children of the Light, and also the art interventions by Sandberg Instituut, click here. Children of the Light are on Facebook and Instagram.