Don’t Walk Installation for Amsterdam Light Festival

Don't Walk Traffic Light Installation Amsterdam Light Festival 2018

This is my application for the Amsterdam Light Festival 2018. This year I was not selected to go through the second round. The theme for 2018 is ‘The Medium is the Message. Below you can read the description of my light installation called ‘Don’t Walk’.

Do you dare to walk through or will you wait and obey?

In the middle of the walkway two classic pedestrian traffic lights are erected. The crosswalk is visualized by red lights on the floor.  There is no traffic that needs to be regulated. The traffic lights just block the normal walking route. The traffic lights respond to the people crossing through the red lines. The further people walk through the red crossing lines the more demanding the traffic lights get. When visitors patiently wait the pedestrian red light will state: DONT WALK, when they cross the second line the light will state: HOLD, crossing the third line: WAIT, crossing the forth line OBEY, crossing the fifth line OBEY will start flashing franticly. If no lines are crossed after 30 seconds the lights will turn green and the WALK statement is being displayed.

The traffic light as a medium has a profound social impact for more then a century.

Traffic lights are artificial boundaries. They control the flow of human travel. Traffic lights and their color green and red are universal recognized symbols of stopping and going. Consciously ignoring these lights is frowned upon by others and gives the trespasser some extra heightened emotion of guilt or stress by avoiding other traffic that has right of way.This installation will let the visitor reflect upon this medium. Why do we as humans obey or not? Visitors can still feel some sense of guilt when the traffic light franticly tries to stop them with words. Maybe other people will stop each other to walk through red so the lights will eventually turn green.

There are at least four types of visitorexperiences.

  • The doubt of crossing or not when the lights are Red.
  • Figuring out what every line does when they are crossed.
  • Trying to jump across the lines without touching them.
  • Project human intentions to these Traffic Lights
Overview of installation 1
A visitor is blocking the fifth red line, the traffic light tries to let the visitor OBEY.


Overview of installation 2
When nobody crosses for thirty second the lights will turn green


The different states of the Pedestrian traffic lights
The different states of the Pedestrian traffic lights
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