Now the festive period is over and the Christmas lights and baubles have been packed away for another year, we are faced with some cold dark winter nights for the next few weeks. To brighten up this winter gloom, Canary Wharf are presenting a free Winter Lights Festival that will feature sculptures, structures and installations by some of the most innovative artists and designers around the world using a wide range of different forms of light technology.
The artists have developed light installations that will provide interactive, performance or visual spectacles that will appeal to a wide range of people both young and old.
Some of the pieces will use digital technology signals in the air to create displays, Julius Popp’s bit.fall will use live news feeds to create a digital typography waterfall and Bitone’s Totem will interact with mobile phone signals in the air around it. Other installations such as Jen Lewin’s The Pool encourages viewers to physically touch and engage with it and create visual and audio reactions.
Here is a full list of the installations and where to see them.
On the Wings of Freedom, Aether & Hemera, Jubilee Park
On the Wings of Freedom is a radiant cloud of butterflies, viewers can interact with the installation by using their mobile phones activating the lighting effects in real-time.
Totem, Bitone Collective, Cabot Square
Totem responds to the presence of mobile phone signals in the air around it, active or passive. The stronger and more numerous the signals the brighter and more vivid the sculpture appears.
Chorus, Ray Lee, Columbus Courtyard
Chorus is a monumental performance-based installation of kinetic sound sculptures designed by Ray Lee for presentation in both urban and rural outdoor spaces.
Aura, Philips Lighting Design, Crossrail Place
Aura (2014) is an interactive experience that allows people to connect with light and sound in new ways.
Light Sphere I, Tom Wilkinson, Adams Plaza
Light Sphere I uses persistence of vision to create the illusion of light, magically sculpting a sphere in mid-air.
my light is your light…, alaa minawi, Jubilee Park
In today’s troubled world, my light is your light… was created as an act of solidarity with Syrian refugees. The silhouettes of a family of six hopelessly fleeing a conflict zone have been created in lines of neon light.
Fantastic Planet, Amanda Parer, Westferry Circus
An 18ft high illuminated inflatable figure lands at Canary Wharf especially for this year’s Winter Lights. This installation is inspired by the cult science fiction film Fantastic Planet  that is set in the distant future in a world populated by gargantuan humanoids.
bit.fall, Julius Popp, Chancellor Passage
Live newsfeeds are the source for a waterfall of words cascading into Middle Dock. Using sophisticated technology a series of valves let illuminated droplets of water fall to form letters and words that appear in mid-air.
Globoscope, Collectif Coin, Jubilee Park
Tailored to suit each new location, Globoscope is an immersive installation composed of luminous spheres. Through a programme of digital sequences, using sound and light, the whole space becomes animated with each interconnected sphere representing a point or pixel in this digitised landscape.
Liquid Space 6.1, Daan Roosegaarde, Adams Plaza
Liquid Space 6.1 detects people approaching and rotates in their direction. Stand beneath its bulbous ’head’ and your bravery is rewarded by coloured light and sound emitted from the installation’s three sides which shift in shape and size.
Moon, Daniel Iregui, Crossrail Place
Moon is an interactive sculpture inspired by the enigmatic nature of lunar light. Through a window a moon is visible floating in the air. By touching the space outside the window the viewer can control the installation’s light creating mysterious visual effects.
A Parallel Image, Gebhard Sengmüller, Crossrail Place
A Parallel Image acts like an electronic camera obscura that explores an alternative means of electronically transmitting moving images by sending every single pixel through a separate line.
Flawless, Gonzalo Bascuñan & Perrine Vichet, Jubilee Park
Echoing the natural process of photosynthesis, this poetic installation encourages the viewer to contemplate how essential light is for human well-being as well as creating a place of fantasy and imagination.
The Pool, Jen Lewin Studio, Montgomery Square
Giant concentric rings of touch-sensitive circular pads create an interactive environment like a huge playground. Whirlpools of light, colour and movement are created as you run, jump, step or hop onto the pads.
We Could Meet, Martin Richman, Adams Plaza
Martin is interested in how art can improve the quality of life in cities, humanising and helping to give locations a sense of place.
Infinity Pools, Stephen Newby, Middle Dock
Five illuminated circular pools float on the surface of Middle Dock. Take a closer look and each pool appears to be an endless vortex of light plunging down into the depths of the water.
Lumen Prize Exhibition, Lumen, Crossrail Place
The Lumen Prize Exhibition, now in its fourth year, celebrates art created digitally around the world. Its goal is to celebrate the power and potential of this exciting genre through an annual competition and a global tour of works selected by a distinguished panel of judges.
The shortlisted works and winners which form the Lumen Prize Exhibition’s 2015/16 global tour reach Canary Wharf as part of its Winter Lights festival after visiting Canada, Shanghai and New York City.
The Luminous City, Nathaniel Rackowe, Lobby, One Canada Square
This exhibition complements the Winter Lights installations. Using industrial materials such as fluorescent tubing, breeze blocks and bitumen, Nathaniel creates large-scale installations examining the interplay of light and structure in the built environment.
Best seen after 4pm, all the installations and light effects will come alive throughout the evening until 9pm, the Winter Festival runs between 11th and 22nd January 2016.
If the Winter Festival whets your appetite for the bright lights, you can head into Central London between the 14th and 17th of January, where you will find more light displays in the Lumiere London festival.
For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website here