diamond geezer

 Friday, January 19, 2018

Everything you need to know about Winter Lights
(n.b. not actually everything you need to know, but SEO requires pathological lying these days)

Where is it? Throughout Canary Wharf
When is it? Tuesday 16th - Saturday 27th January, 5-10pm (so no need to rush)
What is it? A collection of spectacular light installations and interactive art
What is it really? A cunning way to increase footfall near some otherwise under-used shops and restaurants
Where's the website? Here

How do you find your way around? There are wayfinding signs, but better to grab a guide and a map from a volunteer. Or download the map before you arrive. The map's good.
How long to see it all? I walked it all in an hour. You ought to allow two.
Who's it aimed at? Everyone, from financial analysts to small children, but especially people who want to fill their Instagram with dazzling images. There are several rock solid selfie opportunities.
Is it busy? Not especially.
Is it any good? Absolutely.

Tell us about the outdoor stuff: It's all over the place, across squares, piazzas, parks and embankments. Some of it is just illuminated strings tied to trees, but other works are more impressive, and only a handful were here this time last year. The sound bubble outside the main entrance to Canary Wharf is the festival's signature piece - don't forget to actually touch it. The matrix of elevating triangles outside the station's east entrance is a proper pixellated ballet. I got my best photo from the levitating halo reflected in the central fountain in Cabot Square. You might have to queue to step inside the acrylic dodecahedron. Children will enjoy building with the LED cubes outside the Crossrail station. The giant inflatable rabbits aren't as exciting as they sound. Nobody's carbon footprint comes out of this particularly well.

Tell us about the indoor stuff: The biggest collection is on Floor Minus Three of Crossrail Place, accessed via the lifts or escalatoring down past the cinema, inside an arcade that'll be full of shops when trains start in December. Most of the exhibits are small but bright, like the mini 1 Canada Square tower, the graphical clocks and the UV spot paintings. The one gathering all the crowds is called Reflecting Holons, pictured, and consists of what looks like huge pulsating bubbles but is actually transparent foil being jiggled up and down by motors. I failed to get excited by the interactive pixellated dress in the room at the far end. The 'light graffiti' wall upstairs in the roof garden attracts large groups. Installations in the existing shopping malls are fewer and far between, including booths you have to queue for and a digital catwalk. If you like enigmatic phrases made from neon tubes, reception under the central tower has a couple. Try not to go shopping after you've finished, it'll only encourage them.

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