This week, five cities across Europe will see the lights of an arts project backed by the Absolut Vodka brand switched on.
London, Berlin, Athens, Madrid and Milan will host simultaneous after-dark lighting events, when the five installations created by artists and designers from each country go live. A web-cast connection (www.absolut. com) will link the five openings, which take the Absolut Vodka bottle as their inspiration.
But Michael Horsham of Tomato, who has created a 40m-long lighting installation in a field in west London, says the project is all about the branding image of Absolut Vodka rather than “the arts event” that it is perhaps portrayed as.
“It’s not an art thing, it’s an ad. But I wanted to take this on, to make something on a large scale, though I don’t know what this is going to look like until I see the finished installation. The whole thing about making physical things is to see what they look like at the end,” says Horsham.
The other participants in the project are Skudi Optix from Germany, Dimitris Kozaris from Greece, Ana Laura Alaez from Spain and Italy’s Sartoria.
A spokeswoman for Absolut Vodka, while conceding there is a PR purpose to the exercise, says the project is about continuing Absolut’s links with the arts.
“Absolut has always had associations with the arts, having worked with the likes of Andy Warhol, Helmut Newton and Gucci. This is not a blatant branding exercise, this is an arts event. This is about people’s ideas and concepts and creating concepts around the iconic values of the Absolut Vodka bottle,” she says.