Seeing the stars is a switch at your fingertips! This is the motto that drives Studio Roosegaarde’s latest company, SEEING STARS. What seems to be something quite natural, enjoying a starry night – unsurprisingly the title of one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings, to whom the Roosegaarde Studio had already paid tribute with their work Van Gogh Path – is actually quite difficult in cities today.
Indeed, more than 80% of the world population is affected by light pollution. Which means that, while less than 100 years ago, anyone could look up and see a spectacular starry sky, today millions of children around the world will never be able to experience the Milky Way there. where they live. The ever increasing and widespread use of artificial light at night, not only compromises our view of the universe, but negatively affects our environment, our security, our energy use and our health. But there is a solution to this problem: just turn off the light!
An idea as simple as it is brilliant, that the Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde proposes in an action, as he explains, to “bringing the stars back to create a sense of connection with each other, something we are missing in this COVID-19 pandemic“. SEEING STARS is a collaboration between the locals, government and businesses of Franeker, Unesco Netherlands and Studio Roosegaarde to turn off all non-essential household lights, billboards and street lights. city-wide light pollution, residents once again have access to something that has always been there, but cannot be seen anymore: a sky full of wonder which, thanks to SEEING STARS, can be rediscovered.
After all, it’s enough Easy regain possession of the universe. All it takes is a simple gesture that brings people together and provides a deep sense of collective solidarity in times of isolation, exasperated by the ongoing pandemic. By turning off all non-essential lights in Franeker, locals once again have access to something that has always been there, but could no longer be seen: a sky full of wonder. As Daan Roosegaarde explains, “Everyone is now in their little bubble, disconnected from each other. I realized that every night there was actually an amazing light show hidden high up in our sky. SEEING THE STARS brings the stars back to your own street. The stars are at a switch.“
Indeed, SEEING STARS creates a sense of connection, not only between us as we stop to rediscover the beauty of a true starry night, but also with our planet. SEEING STARS is a collaboration between residents, government and businesses of Franeker, Unesco Netherlands and Studio Roosegaarde. No need to be afraid of the dark: public safety is guaranteed in close collaboration with the local government. SEEING STARS begins in the town of Franeker and aims to travel to other destinations such as Leiden, Sydney, Venice, Stockholm and Reykjavik.
Unesco, Nacht van het Wad, Earth Hour, Nacht van de Nacht and the International Dark-Sky Association have all already advocated times of darkness to help improve human and animal welfare. SEE THE STARS is part of this movement, a radical gesture that emphasizes stargazing in our cities. An approach that contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, while reflecting the rich astronomical history of the city of Franeker. When are we going to follow suit and turn off the lights in our cities too to see the stars?
SEEING STARS is the third project of the DreamScapes series organized by Studio Roosegaarde and MediaMonks, to showcase the beauty of a better world by combining art and science.
Project: Studio Roosegaarde in collaboration with Unesco Netherlands, Visit Friesland, Visit Wadden, Media.Monks and the city of Franeker.
Location: Franeker, The Netherlands
Images: Albert Dros and Merel Tuk. Media.Monks film starring Jan Kooyman and Studio Roosegaarde.