Wayang / Into the Shadow

Nio Architects

Near the Wibautstraat in Amsterdam Oost is a 40-meter long pedestrian and bicycle tunnel under the railroad tracks. Built into the walls of the tunnel are 12,000 LED lights, which together provide a glimpse into a different world: ‘the big five’, or the elephant, the rhino, the lion, the buffalo and the leopard briefly walk next to you. The contours of the animal figures are formed by a negative; by the lights being off.

The moving display refers to the Transvaal neighborhood. There are many neighborhoods in the Netherlands named after the Transvaal, an independent state in South Africa in the second half of the 19th century ruled by the Boeren, Dutch-speaking descendants of white settlers from the Cape Colony. Many of the street names still refer to this colonial past. In some places, streets and squares were renamed after anti-apartheid fighters, such as Pretorius Square was renamed Steve Biko Square, after anti-apartheid fighter Steve Biko.

Image: Buitenkunst Amsterdam