Welcome to the Anthropocene, or the ‘Age of Man’. Since the 17th century, humanity has been leaving its mark on Earth’s atmosphere like no other species before us. There have always been forces influencing Earth and her climate on a major scale – like erupting volcanoes and crashing meteorites – but never before did living organisms make such an impact. The effects of our deforestation, pollution and emission of greenhouse gasses are evident: the ice caps are melting, oceans and rivers are choked with plastics, biodiversity is decreasing and harvests are failing. Mother Earth is dying and cries out to her destructive children in anger and disappointment. This has got to stop.
She is the keeper of a wealth of (practical) possibilities: for instance, how extraordinary is it that natural materials like potato peels, corn waste, algae and fungi can be used as sustainable, bio-based resources? Nature also inspires us with her energy and beauty. She might just be the greatest light artist we know: just think of the splendour of the sun and the stars, and of the magical glow of luminescent plants and animals living in her forests a nd oceans.
The power of imagination is vital in our search for a new relationship with nature and Earth. As a ‘language of the future’, art can reveal possibilities and experimental ideas that were simply unfathomable before. For its ninth edition, the Amsterdam Light Festival is calling for artworks spotlighting one of the two sides of this story: the issues, danger and disappointment at what our own actions have caused, or indeed the marvel, potential and solutions nature has to offer us. For this, we strongly encourage the use of natural, sustainable materials and techniques.