Januar 2000. Wir treten mit Regierungsstellen in Dubai in Verhandlungen über eine außergewöhnliche Produktion in der Wüste des Emirates. Gert ist in seinem Element, entwirft eine „Light City": Helikopter, mit Scheinwerfern bestückt; kilometerlange Straßen aus rotem Pyro; eine mehrere Hektar große Fahne der Arabischen Emirate aus Licht; 200 Jeeps mit Searchlights – ein arabisches Märchen, aber ein sehr modernes, wie Dubai auch. Wir übernachten im Burj Al Arab. Ohne Schlips kommen wir abends nicht ins Hotelrestaurant mit dem riesigen Aquarium. Ich habe Gert noch immer nicht gefragt, ob er je Schlips getragen hat.

Dubai ist im Grunde eine bebaute Straße in der Wüste. Ein Faszinosum. Die Welthauptstadt des Geldes. Es ist ein Las Vegas, das nicht nach Las Vegas riecht. Es ist ein Mythos ohne Tradition, Geschichte und Kultur. Es ist das Spiegelbild der westlichen Welt, reduziert auf einen einzigen Trieb: den der Selbsterhaltung. Ein spannender Thriller aus der 1002. Nacht.

© Asteris Koutoulas


The conquest of unlit space
About Gert Hof

The art of the director Gert Hof lies in the conquest of unlit space. It demands a new aesthetic philosophy to meet the challenges and dimensions of his huge multimedial outdoor events.

To take this daring step into the dark recesses of the universe, it took the work and experience of twenty years, most of all the persistence with which Gert Hof pursues his vision, a certain promethean spirit. Berlin’s millennium celebrations marked the moment when Hof finally faced his most difficult and least predictable challenger: a sky locked in by darkness.

This night saw the largest assembly of lighting equipment ever deployed during a single event. The power of 250 industrial lights, each with a reach of many kilometres, breached walls of fog and blackness – a massive breakthrough for the arts as well as for technology.

Gert Hof’s events are all-encompassing works of art, blending a huge variety of genres - carefully chosen music, fire arts, pyrotechnics, theatre, lighting, balloons and neon as well as lasers - into an extraordinary, choreographed architecture. Furthermore the indigenous traditions, history, nature and music of each and every location takes on a vital role in his productions.

But what makes these multimedial events truly unique is the combination of artistic genres with the latest high-end lighting equipment. Under Gert Hof’s direction these components achieve an overwhelming unity, each staging is defined by a surprising new look, a new vision, a different musical score. The imposing lighting technology as well as the exceptional architecture and masterful choreography turn Hof’s shows into the most unusual outdoor events of today.

Gert Hof is the only artist to have staged four huge millennial events (Berlin, the Acropolis in Athens, Budapest’s parliament as well as Beijing’s Millennium Monument), making him “one of the most sought-after lighting and pyro-architects in the world” (ARD-Tagesthemen). After the simultaneous successes of Berlin and Athens, the Hungarian government asked Gert Hof to develop a multimedial mega show (in the city of Budapest) to celebrate the country’s 1000th anniversary. This resulted in a monumental lighting, pyrotechnic and balloon installation on the banks of the Danube, between the Margaret and Chain Bridges, framing the visual centrepiece, the Parliament Building.

Shortly after the event in Hungary, the Chinese government commissioned Hof with the unprecedented honour of staging Asia’s millennial celebrations at the China Millennium Monument on the 31st of December 2000. Never before in the history of China had a foreigner been entrusted with the overall artistic control of an act of state. The Chinese audience admired the skilful incorporation of traditional and local stylistic elements into the German artist’s design concept and honoured this with frenetic applause. The mega-event in Beijing was broadcast by 180 TV stations worldwide: an estimated 1.2 billion Chinese viewers were glued to their screens, while a further 500 million watched excerpts and highlights of the event on CNN, BBC, ARD etc.

THE WORLD’S GREATEST LIGHT MONUMENTS – in moments like these the universe breathes terrestrial light.

© Ina Koutoulas (assisted by Asteris Koutoulas)




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