Dienstag, 13. Dezember 2016

New Year’s Eve in Cologne Time Drifts Cologne by Philipp Geist 2016

New Year’s Eve in Cologne
Time Drifts Cologne by Philipp Geist

What happens on New Year’s Eve? After last year’s tragic incidents, this is the key question, which the responsible persons in large cities, such as Cologne or Frankfurt, have to deal with. Will there be more than maintaining security at all costs and avoiding a lawless vacuum during the turn of the year?

The people of Cologne had a clever idea. Instead of letting themselves being surprised by the events, they are going to invite the citizens to an unusual cultural attraction: Helmut Bien and Angelika Kroll-Marth, known as curators of the Luminale in Frankfurt, developed the concept for Time Drifts Cologne together with the Berlin lighting artist Philipp Geist.

Time Drifts Cologne

The central urban space called Domplatte becomes a light-dream space. Lighting artist Philipp Geist projects words, concepts, signs, colors, and shapes on the square in front of the Cathedral and on Roncalli Square as well as on the facades around the Cathedral. The projections are related to the topics of time and space and to the wishes, expectations and hopes of the people of Cologne for the new year and the future.

Time Drifts Cologne is the name of this light sculpture by Philipp Geist for the long night between the years 2016 and 2017. The citizens move in the stream of the signs, drift over large-area light images and react to fascinating light spaces. Visitors can experience the flow of time at first hand.

The citizens of Cologne have never seen their inner city center like this. Alone or in groups, whether young or old, they stroll as Time Drifters through the beam path of the projections on their way through their personal New Year’s Eve. They come together in conversation with friends and strangers – either in disbelief or meditating, experimenting or even in high spirits. Picturesque, abstract, geometric video mapping installations appear on the facades. Geist develops a dialog with the place, with different concepts, with architecture and his artistic work, creating computer-generated, abstract image worlds that refer to organic microscopic structures. The depth and three-dimensionality of the artwork symbolizes the ever-widening space of time and represents the complex networks through its complexity and density. Geometrical, spatial shapes, such as squares, cubes, perforated surfaces, lines, and beams, are superimposed in a continuous process and build up an overall image only to dissolve it in the next moment. The result is a complex architecture of images, which is constantly streaming, as well as image compositions, partly minimalist-purist, partly vibrantly colorful, dreamlike and schematically fragile. Concepts become visible and immediately transform themselves into the abstraction of an image. The projections in artificially generated fog allow the visitors to reach for imaginary luminous signs that reflect themselves in the atmosphere above the squares. Words and concepts become briefly visible. Visitors can submit terms and concepts in advance:

A call for words
New Year’s Eve in Cologne
Time Drifts Cologne by Philipp Geist 
The light-wish-dream space at the Cologne Cathedral

Time Drifts Cologne, the lighting art project for New Year’s Eve in Cologne, is based essentially on the concepts and wishes of the citizens of Cologne and its visitors for themselves, the city and the world. These wishes and concepts on the topics of Cologne, time and space can now be sent by e-mail via the addresses below. The wish should be limited to one concept or word.

Philipp Geist, the artist of the Time Drifts Cologne light installation, makes a selection from the submissions and composes his light collages of the words and concepts, which are projected on New Year’s Eve at the Cathedral.

Send your keyword for 2017 up to December, 28 to:



Time Drifts Cologne is an "urban intervention", which interprets the "genius loci" of the Cathedral’s environment. The "immersive" installation captivates the viewers and opens up new horizons of experience. Ambient sounds stimulate a sensual-spherical experience of space.

The seemingly fixed ground around the Cologne Cathedral begins to drift gently. A lively and moving experience opens up. In the meantime, the Cologne Cathedral rests as solid as a rock, flooded by the stream of images and visitors to its feet. The fact that it is the city itself which, with its desires and hopes, its courage, its expectations and goals, influences the course of events will be physically experienceable for everyone.

Philipp Geist's Time Drifts is a wandering light art concept. After stops in Vancouver, Berlin, Montreal and other places, Cologne's New Year’s Eve is the biggest challenge and the new highlight of a performance tour around the world. So now it’s the turn of Cologne.

In order to make the reference of location and time perfect, the people of Cologne are asked in advance about their wishes for the new year through the media. The submitted words are included in the artistic design of Time Drifts Cologne.

The projection starts at nightfall, already in the afternoon. Barriers with entrance and bag controls ensure the visitors’ safety in the spacious area. It is, of course, strictly forbidden to bring fireworks.

Professional history: Philipp Geist

Philipp Geist (1976) works as an artist with media video / light installation, photography and painting.

Recently, Geist performed a video mapping on the occasion of the Hindu Diwali Light Festival in Pune (India). For the first light festival of Africa in the West African Dakar, he produced the Lightmark at the Dak'art art exhibition. Philipp Geist is the ambassador of the German creative scene participating as a guest of the Goethe Institute and the Foreign Office in different events. For three days, Geist performed a comprehensive video mapping installation with the title Gate of Words about the topics of peace and freedom from October 3 - 5, 2015, on the Azadi Tower (Freedom Tower) in Tehran, Iran. In 2014 he developed a coherent video installation on the world famous Cristo Redentor statue during the German-Brazilian Year in Rio de Janeiro and projected large-scale on the Santa Marta favela. On September 30 - October 01, 2014, he performed a lighting installation at the German Embassy in Prague on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall.

Project agency: Westermann Kommunikation

Helmut M. Bien (1957) is a freelance curator and managing partner of Westermann Kommunikation (WK). He is a cultural scientist and journalist and curated exhibitions for the Berliner Festspiele at the Hamburger Bahnhof. After that he began to work independently and organized cultural exhibitions for several clients, e.g., the Museum Kunstpalast (Duesseldorf) and the Koelnmesse (Cologne). From 2002 to 2016, Bien was the curator of Light Culture at the Luminale Biennial in Frankfurt/Main.

Angelika Kroll-Marth (1963) is an art historian and photographer. She is an authorized representative of WK and responsible for research as well as editing and design.
Westermann Kommunikation is the project agency that, among others, developed the Luminale for Frankfurt and has gained experience in dealing with light as a medium in the public space with around 1,200 large and small light events over the last 14 years.