At the Knokke-Heist Light Festival, visitors can walk along one of the light artworks onto the beach, towards the sea. Along a forty metre walkway, they move towards the woods standing in the middle of the beach, a deserted digital oasis.

Tom and Lien Dekyvere are the creators of this “Rhizome”, this artist duo from West Flanders and who after a few years of exhibiting worldwide are proud again to be able to show their work to their native audience. Tom explains what “Rhizome” is exactly.

The world

Tom: We wanted to create a special atmosphere for the Knokke-Heist Light Festival with the theme of The Little Prince, in which a kind of alien activity suddenly lands on the beach. I hope that people will have a feeling of moving into a new world when they walk away from the dike towards the water. Like the Little Prince does when he sets off to explore.
“Rhizome” visualises a large structure in which Jean Pierre Deschepper (festival curator) immediately saw a constellation of stars. I could even dare go further and see it as a type of path through life, a way to keep things together but also disconnect them at the same time. We often hear about homogeneity in our society, but I think it is equally important to be able to cut things away. Not literally of course because we work with ropes. Rhizome is, in fact, a disconnected world on the beach.

Balanced ropes and structures

Tom: The work is made up of fluorescent yellow-green wires, kilometres of rope we tie together into a large whole and then illuminate externally with LED lights. We, the creators, determine where each rope grows, and from which point we depart with a branch to another point. All those small groups, the clusters of structures, are connected in a large whole. That is the whole that the Little Prince could be said to discover, and the sea and the beach serve as the canvas.

We are always searching for a balance between being visually attractive, even entertaining and a fun content that lies behind it.
– Tom Dekyvere –

Tom: If you search for rhizome in Google, then you find the root structures of flowers and plants. Lien and I find those structures, those natural geometric patterns fascinating. We can see a parallel there with the digital world, with artificial intelligence. We work at the interface between nature and technology. All of us, every individual, is searching for entities and how we can allow these to communicate with each other in the best way. For instance, the balance between work and home life. That is really what this work is about. One of the features of our work is that we try to play on different angles. We are always searching for the balance between being visually attractive, even entertaining, and a fun content that lies behind it.

Everywhere and nowhere

Despite their interest for digital aspects, Lien and Tom do not use social media to show off their creations.

Tom: We focus on our work and that takes us everywhere and nowhere. Since we have worked in the public space, lots of people have become our social media. They take photos and upload them on all the platforms. Our work has been spread far and wide as a result. In this way, it is not about an ego-cult in which the most minor blip is posted. We do our best to trigger our audience with something enjoyable. And it will advertise for us as a type of appreciation.

You can make a lot of noise, but the gentle stories, that contain many layers, that truly occupy us.
– Tom Dekyvere –

Tom: You can make a lot of noise but it is the gentle stories that have lots of layers that truly occupy us. Like The Little Prince. Because the Knokke Light Festival is working around a genuine story, a book, it is unique compared to the other festivals that simply have a theme. I think this is a fantastic approach. It raises everything to another level. How should I put it? It makes everything more magical, gentler. That fits with the time of year and with the public whose attention they want to catch.

Has your attention also been caught?
Come and enjoy the whole show on offer at Knokke-Heist during the end of year season.