Lux Helsinki took place in a deep freeze

Lux Helsinki once again brought light to the winter darkness from 3 to 7 January 2024.

Helsinki experienced its coldest start to the year in the 2000s, and the annual light festival was also held in extremely cold conditions on all five days. Lux Helsinki has traditionally dominated Instagram with images of its brilliant light installations, and this year these were accompanied by lots of tips on how to dress warmly and stories about surviving the cold.

“The first day of Lux was the third warmest of the year, after which the temperatures plummeted. Walking around in the cold can be demanding, but still lots of people came out. Despite the crowds, there was plenty of space for everyone on the streets, and traffic arrangements were adhered to without a problem,” reports Stuba Nikula, Managing Director of Helsinki Events.

“The theme of the art in this year’s Lux Helsinki focused on the characteristics of science and art, the unifying factor of which can be found in the search for the new and encountering unexpected answers. When opening the door of art and science, you can never be sure what lies behind it. Climate science reminded us of its existence this year in the way in which weather conditions can bring a significant element to the experience,” adds Juha Rouhikoski, Artistic Director of Lux Helsinki.

Fortunately, sharing experiences of surviving the cold was not the only outcome of Lux Helsinki, as the festival once again offered unforgettable art experiences to the public. The popularity of light art in Finland has continued to grow in recent years, and over 53% of those who responded to the visitor survey confirmed that they attended the event because light art as an art form was appealing. Rouhikoski too ponders the power of light:

“While viewing the culminating work of Ekku Peltomäki’s career at the graves of the heroes in Hietaniemi Cemetery, I couldn’t help but think about the extreme conditions that our war heroes and veterans had to experience. In addition to Finnish history, I thought about all the cruel human conflicts that are happening right now. One of the most important properties of light is its ability to create hope.”

Lux Helsinki 2024 in facts and figures:
49 installations
1 installation delivered to Sweden (End Over End)
14 guides
-19C degrees (feels like -30C)
4 layers of pants (Lux visitor)
19 items of clothing worn in layers (Lux visitor)
4000 individually controllable LED lights (Talking Heads)
1570 metres of LED strips (EQ & City Gazing Helsinki)
440 light pixels representing the number of Saimaa ringed seals remaining in the world (Saimaa Theme)
38 projectors
0 pieces of technical equipment broken by the freezing conditions
2200 reusable fastening clips (City Gazing Helsinki)
370 metres of cable ducts
64 printed signs for installations
100 AI-generated digital portraits (SPECTRUM)
75 hand-painted 3D-printed dinosaurs (Hirmuliskodisko/Dinosaur Disco)
67 different angles installed with a tolerance of just 0.02 degrees (EQ)
25 plants (Valo, jota emme näe/All the Light We Cannot See)
60 since Maija Isola designed the Unikko pattern for Marimekko

The main partners of Lux Helsinki are UPM-Kymmene Cultural Foundation, UPM, Helsinki Zoo, Marimekko together with Ateneum and Toyota, and its cooperation partners are Clear Channel, the Italian Cultural Institute, Musiikkitalo and Multibeam Finland Oy.

Lux Helsinki is a fully accessible and free event for the whole family. The festival is organised and produced by the Helsinki Events Foundation. The artistic director of Lux Helsinki is Juha Rouhikoski, whose team of curators also includes Matti Jykylä, Jere Suontausta, Mia Kivinen and Jyrki Sinisalo.