Monday, 1 October 2012

Jyväskylä: Guerrilla Lighting 2012

Place: Naissaari, Vaajakoski, Central Finland. The Guerrillas of Light have already distributed the white light bags to create a wide corridor to the main entrance of Wanha Paja, the old workshop which today houses a design store specialized in candles and home décor. Soon we hear the sound that signals the rest of the lights to be switched on and the building is bathing in carefully planned lighting. Wow! The almost full moon above is joining in the light show.
The still lights are not all we get. Three people strike a pose in front of the building and they are "painted" with light - but properly only to those serious photographers with good tripods and skills good enough to catch it all on a memory card. At least the official photographer for the City of Light, Juhana Konttinen has made sure he gets it right.
At another signal, the handheld lights pointed towards the Wanha Paja building are off again. The light guerillas pick up the white bags of light and the yard returns to the dark yard that it was before being specially illuminated for us. Our guide lifts up her light stick and leads us to a nearby bridge, to wait for the next target of Guerrilla Lighting to be lit in front of our eyes.
On a normal night, the hydropower plant of Vaajakoski is not much more than a set of illuminated windows, and a dark silhouette against the night sky. However, the Guerillas intend to show us something different. Ready, set, go!
At the signal, the red-brick hydropower plant becomes alive by the power of light. What a difference these hand-held lights can make to a scenery. The lighting designer Annukka Larsen must have planned this carefully. Red and green work so well in the darkness. Soon the lights are off again and we are to walk to our next destination. What is it and where?
We turn back and advance slowly for about 500 meters, enjoying the dark evening full of lights - if only here and there, and for a short moment only. Our target is on the other side of Vaajakoski canal lock but there is a footbridge that goes across it. The water is perfectly still inside the lock; around it, the Vaajavirta stream is running noisily.
The large crowd of spectators is moving past the canal lock, heading to the opposite shore where we are promised the best possible view of the last Guerrilla Lighting target for tonight.
We walk past the old hydropower plant dating back to 1920. The building, Wanha Woimala (Old Plant) is no longer in its original use but instead it houses art exhibitions or it can be rented for private parties. The building looks pretty nice already without the Guerrillas, but I suppose the large windows are not always lit in the evenings. 
We all take our positions; the Guerrillas with their lights, the cameramen and -women with their tripods and the spectators with anticipation. And for the last time this evening, the sound signals for the lights to appear, pointing towards the stream and the Wanha Woimala building. Darkness on the edge of town has turned to light that is dancing in the dark.
The Guerilla Lighting of 2012 at Jyväskylä, the City of Light, has once again made a wonderful difference to a September evening. Simply magical!

Guerrilla Lighting , Valon kaupunki 25.9.2012

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