Your Interview Tine Bech
Introduce yourself (name, company, position, country) and tell us how you got into lighting design (including education/qualifications).
I am Dr Tine Bech, Creative Director of the Tine Bech Studio. I am Danish but live in London and work internationally.
I love designing for social engagement. Interactive art and light installations reflect how technology is part of our world and play is the call to action! It is the invitation to participate. Despite living in an age that seems to offer unlimited forms of media communication, we still fundamentally crave human connection – to find expression in community and in dialogue.
Play is part of our social fabric and lies at the core of many social bonds. It’s community-building effects are well documented. It rewards us with joy and promotes empathy. Now, more than ever, we need to promote compassion between people.
Light is naturally extension of this. It can be made interactive through coding. It is full of colour and possibilities. And it travels well. For example, the light installation ‘Pink Enchantment’ (see image) is a large-scale interactive installation that has been shown in Iceland, UK, USA and Denmark. We (myself and a technologist) pack three oversized sports bags and ‘off we went’, creating pink clouds on bridges up to 100 meters long.
Tell us about your work – is there a specific type of project you like to work on or an area you specialise in and why?
I am a multidisciplinary artist with a PhD in Play Theory and Interactive Art, a Masters in Sculpture, and a BA in Painting. That might sound like a lot of qualifications – but at the core is curiosity. And a love of designing something beautiful and meaningful that creates positive social participation.
I work with people and places to create public-realm projects, playful interactive installations, light art, sculpture, and games. At the heart of all our projects is a desire to engage people into positive participation. I believe that culture creates communities; art is for everyone and belongs everywhere.
I am lucky that I have had the opportunities to grow as an artist, from fine art sculpture to interactive design, light, and now placemaking – working and collaborating with interesting clients, cultural institutions, the public sector, commercial retail places and private sector workspaces.
What project are you most proud of and why?
The project ‘Shine Your Colours’ that’s mentioned in my nomination takes an exciting new direction, where light is reflected through coloured glass as opposed to shining light into the world.
‘Shine your Colours’ (see image) is a multi-faceted artwork that reacts to the sun and invites visitors to see themselves and the world through different colours. The installation consists of transparent coloured glass panels. The brilliance and tactility of the materials are combined to create a social space for wellbeing, where people can meet and reflect. I think that more than ever, our shared public spaces have become important gathering places. That is why ‘Shine your Colours’ celebrates people and place through light.
What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome in your career?
Creating ‘We Believe’ (see image) – an interactive light installation that spanned two cities (Aarhus in Denmark and London)– was a big challenge both technically and emotionally.
It was developed for the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017 and we connected Aarhus City Hall Tower and the Embassy of Denmark in London via a game control room placed on a rooftop. From the control room members of the public were able to illuminate the architecture of two iconic Arne Jacobsen buildings, transforming them into a playable, interactive communication system that interacted live.
It was the most technically challenging project we had ever made, and I am blessed that my technical team are so talented and kind, and that the Danish curator was a supportive woman with a ‘no stopping us’ attitude. We were working with several external technical teams and multiple stakeholders in two countries (three politically sensitive sites, sponsors, volunteers, municipal councils, the police, and fire departments) to champion, fundraise and deliver a project that celebrated place and cultural exchange.
Emotionally, it was important to me because Aarhus and London are my hometowns and I really wanted to connect them via light and people (and not mess up!).
On a more mundane level, being dyslexic is a constant challenge. But that’s another story…
How does light inspire you?
I think light and colour are universal connectors – colour is curiosity and light are a fundamental human want.
They enable us to create mesmerising immersive experiences that bring wonder and joy. Light is beautiful. There is no other ‘material’ that allows us to create an installation where the audience can dive into a cloud of colour and swim in a Rothko-like painting. ‘Illuminated Swim’ (see image) is an immersive light and colour installation in a swimming pool, where participants can swim and play in a fog of colour and mist.
What is your message for other Women In Lighting?
Never give up! Women’s voices – your voice – are important and unique. We need more diversity in leadership roles. So, fight for what you love. Never let it go, keep working. And where possible, make a space where you can nurture that fragile, creative side of yourself.
“At the heart of all our projects is a desire to engage people into positive participation. I believe that culture creates communities; art is for everyone and belongs everywhere.”