Consultant Peet Thomsen:

Light Art Biennial Austria 2010 ‘Private Light in Public Spaces.’

I have been asked to consult the Light Art Biennial for the country of Austria. The Biennial is inspired by a similar Biennial, which was held in the Ruhrgebiet. The Austrian’s theme for the first edition of the Biennial will be ‘Private Light in Public Spaces.’ The name is a gentle teasing of the German Light Art Biennial “Open Light in Private Spaces.”

The name of the biennial describes the technical medium being used, but could also be interpreted in another manner. Light art – art without substance, this could be understood as unserious art. It could also be interpreted in another way: art without substance is art about the immaterial. The object can be seen but never touched, but is it unserious? Milan Kundera wrote a book called “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” – and so comes the heavy part of the project. Light is about life – without light there is no life. The light of the sun fuels the planet. Light is a symbol used in churches for life itself. Some catholic churches begin their midnight Easter services in darkness. Then, when the light of the rising sun comes through the stained glass window, the worshippers light candles. The light then goes from one person to the next. This is how life and energy works. The seed of the man impregnates the woman and thus begins a new life. But the energy is there before. – the burning desire of the individuals for each other – this energy is the fuel of life. When we look to the sun as for example Olafur Eliassons: ‘Sun’ at the Tate Modern we find calmness. We are reassured that everything is all right. So is it with light art – we find a space for solace and contemplation or just a pleasing view – whatever we find – we are enriched – such is the nature of light art.

Linz is the perfect venue for a departure into an area filled with light art. When you arrive in Linz by boat you are greeted by several great examples of light art. Lentos Art Museum and Ars Electronica Center each on their own side of the Danube with light incorporated into their facades. Lentos is the older building, and is probably the inspiration for the facade of Ars, the pattern of blue light at night, with its reflection in the Danube, is absolutely beautiful. The Ars Electronica Center with its ever changing display is a real experience. But there are also other lights incorporated in the architecture, which are truly pleasing to the eye. The bridge across the Danube is also worth noticing. Thus the palate wetted and greeted by the city of Linz we can step off the boat and begin to explore the city and the artworks placed into the public spaces by the artists of the festival.

Peet Thomsen


Laura Plana Gracia. BA History of Art, UB University of Barcelona, 2006.
MA Curating New Media Art, MECAD Barcelona 2007. Certificate in Curating, Communication and Criticism, University of Arts London 2009.
MA Media Art Histories, Vienna, Austria 2010. Phd Visual Global Cultures UB. Actually participates at study/work programme at Media Art Histories where is Editor, Archiver and Researcher for Database of Virtual Art.
Has exhibited: Field, Interim Camp, Experimental Generative Animation, Pebbledash Gallery, London 2009. Cartographies of non- site, Espai D’arts, Barcelona 2009. Joe Sola, Arco Cinema, Madrid 2010. Aggtelek, Solo Exhibition, Crisp London Los Angeles, London 2010. Will be talking about Cartographies, Mapping & Database Visualization at ISEA Conference Dortmund Germany 2010. Forthcoming is awarded by MACBA as Researcher in Residence at Centre d’Estudis Barcelona.

Laura Plana Gracia (SE)
Database of Virtual Art Editor
Department Image Science
Danube University Austria
Curatorial Assistant London