The concept…

FIRE and WATER, interact with each other, along a common border. While remaining separate they create pulsating biomorphic forms…

Floating above the IJ, an electronically controlled interface between fire and water expands and contracts. Gravity pulls the water down. Fire trapped below this moving sheet of water is dragged along by it. The own heat of the flames eventually forces them upwards again.

The visitor experience

In the air, above the canal, pulsating forms grow and diminish. Engulfing or complementing each other, every ‘flower’ follows it’s own stages of growth…

What are these alien shapes? Liquid fire? Plasma?

We are reminded of the very first period after the ‘Big Bang’ – even before light could escape the force of gravity.

This plateau of fire and water, floats above the IJ in front of the ‘Schreierstoren’, the evocative, old entrance to Amsterdam.

FIRE is the original source of artificial light, WATER it’s existential opposite.

Without destroying each other, the two elements interact, synthesising dynamic, ever changing forms.

The technical principle

Small scale feasibility tests have already been succesfully carried out.

The installation is created in the air above a barge, which lies low in the water.
Programmed electronic solenoids and high volume water pumps animate fingers of flame along pulsating water forms. The pressure of the pumps, duration and position of the flames is controlled on a timeline.
The flames are made with the safety gas propane. Short undulating bursts of water shot at a polished surface generate the water film. The action results in a short-lived ‘flower’, (one or two minutes). Estimated diametre of a single flower is 5 mtrs. Scaling up the installation implies changes to all parameters and will involve significant extra forces and power. There will be three ‘flowers’.
The system will be made, with automatic cut-offs to be ‘fail safe’.

There will be a permanent human guard during display hours. Outside display hours the machine will be disarmed.


The system will be made “fail safe”.

The system is outdoors with no closed spaces for the safety gas to accumulate. I will consult closely with the fire brigade during preparation.
There will be a permanent human guard during display hours. Outside these hours the machine will be disarmed.