Far from the elephants and iguanas, the flamingos and armadillos, all the way at the back of ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo, we find the home of ‘De Nachtloerrrders’. Hidden in the darkest of darkness, down amongst the bushes or high in a tree, we see their strange, unfamiliar eyes shining out at us. Never knowing where the next one will appear or what it will look like.
The twenty pairs of constantly changing eyes in this artwork escaped from the imaginations of hundreds of Amsterdam school children (aged 8-12 years old) who were invited to collaborate with the 72andSunny Creative Collective, the artists responsible for it’s conception. These eyes are here to show us a possible future evolution, one that we humans could soon be faced with if we continue disturbing animal habitats with our ever expanding cities that light up the night skies.
They suggest a potential greater biodiversity lurking in our neighbourhood with much more life found outside the zoo gates than within. Like all nocturnal animals, all we can see are their glowing eyes, leaving the rest to our imaginations. How does this make us feel? Are we scared by these mysteriously shaped eyes lighting up the gloom? And how will they feel towards us? Are they friend or foe? Questions we may ask more often as more creatures adapt to our concrete urban jungle.
‘De Nachtloerrrders’ is part of Amsterdam Light Festival’s school project that in collaboration with Juf op Straat has been organised annually since 2012. During a series of workshops, primary school children work with an artist on a work of light art that will be exhibited during the festival. The ‘De Nachtloerrrders’ workshops showed children not only how animals see, but the whole design process from sketching to coding their own pair of eyes using the programming language ‘Scratch’. This way, the children were awakened to a range of valuable skills for the creative industries at a young age.
SUPPORTED BY: ARTIS | Juf op Straat