For the 2016 edition of GLOW, lighting artist Har Hollands attached an installation to the chimney stack on the TU/e campus consisting of ten thousand LED lights that show nine programs representing scientific and technical processes. Driving on the Dorgololaan or Kennedylaan, one could see – long after GLOW was over – the red, green and blue lights projecting fantastic patterns. Because it was made clear immediately: “This art work will become a permanent presence on the TU/e campus.”
Until more and more parts started to break down. “We were about to decide whether or not we wanted to invest yet another substantial sum in intensive maintenance work on the installation, and we eventually decided against it,” says Bernard Colenbrander, chair of TU/e’s art commission and of the quality team. “Half the lights are broken, and the software is a complicated matter as well. We believe that it’s better not to make any further repairs. We also don’t have the budget to carry out the restauration adequately, even if it were worth it. Today, five years later, there are other techniques. You could call it growing insight.”
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With due observance of the chimney stack’s unique charm, the quality team decided at the time to guide and accommodate the project. “It’s not an official monument, but we do believe that this chimney stack is one of the benchmarks in the campus’s high-rise pattern. And its usability has now been proven by this light project,” Colenbrander says. “But everything comes to an end. The investment lasted five years. It’s perfectly alright to think in terms of temporariness with these kinds of installations.”
Colenbrander adds that AnTUenna is not an artwork, and that copyright therefore doesn’t come into play. “It was never intended as an artwork, but as a technical installation attached to the chimney stack that remains suitable for multiple use. Though the decent thing to do for Real Estate is to inform Har Hollands.” Jan van Goethem’s artwork in Gemini is a different matter, Colenbrander says. “It was designed specifically for that location. We will handle it with great care during the building’s renovation.”
Now, Ingrid Heynderickx has requested that AnTUenna remains attached to the chimney stack until November, so that it can be a part of GLOW 2021. Heynderickx is dean of the department of IE&IS, as well as scientific director of the Intelligent Lighting Institute and chair of the lustrum committee this year. “I understand the art commission’s advice to take down the installation from the chimney stack. I agree that the technology has become outdated and that it will be costly to make it function properly again. But as with each lustrum, the idea is that GLOW will also go across the TU/e campus this year. As chair of the lustrum committee and director of the Intelligent Lighting Institute, I’m responsible for the GLOW program. That is why I requested that we use the chimney stack in its present form for GLOW 2021. The question will be whether we will be able to use images in such a way that no one will notice defects in the control system. That needs to be investigated further.”
The art commission sees absolutely no problem with that. “Part of the system is usable,” Colenbrander says. The decision when to fully dismantle the installation will be made by Real Estate. The service is currently considering a destination for the 5000 LED lights that still work.