Laser beam

– Martin Ersted

1 – 24 February
Site: Tivoli – Nikolaj Kunsthal

As a tribute to the beautiful in the energy of light and as a reference to the Danish Niels Bohr’s atomic model and the principle of light transmission, the green laser – one of the most distilled forms of light – connects the heart of Tivoli with the spire at Nikolaj Kunsthal. It stretches one kilometer and reaches 65 meters in the air between the two extremes on the route during the Copenhagen Light Festival.

Every day at sunset the beam turns on as an extension of winter’s sparse sunbeams and works very concrete as a indicator of what time the sun has gone below the horizon. A time that differs with an entire hour from February 1 – 24. The laser beam marks the central axis of the festival.

The artist Martin Ersted from the collaboration Båll & Brand is behind the work in collaboration with Tivoli and Nikolaj Art hall.

Martin Ersted says: “The beam gives a completely different perspective on Copenhagen. As I walk through the small, narrow and crooked alleys of the city, I am convinced that my sense of direction is correct, but now it’s suddenly come to the test. Without knowing, I have been turned a little bit. Above me as the crow flies hangs the ultimate compass needle and unveils the truth. It surprises me and my way around the city time after time. I get the urge to explore.

At a distance, all the small sideways get a glance over the shoulder to perhaps give me a glimpse of the laser. I have got a whole new understanding of direction, new and old short cuts and the city’s composition. The beam occupies a new space in the dark skies, which I have rarely been aware of before.
During the setup of the beam, it became clear how close we are to a material version of light. The energy is so dense that we get the feeling of being able to see the light with the naked eye. A blackbird came flying over the city’s roofs, and when it saw the green wire stretched out in the open air, it began to land. The wings relaxed, but its toe stretched through the light and a bit surprised it flew on. It emphasizes the temporary work and the temporality in light in general. That something so markedly and visible can appear and then always disappear with a single touch of a contact.”

Tips and recommendations

Visit Tivoli, take a ride in the Golden Tower and choose your seats carefully, as you have a chance of having a thrilling very close look at the green laser beam.



  • Martin Ersted from the collaboration Båll & Brand


  • Tivoli
  • Nikolaj Kunsthal
  • Laser Power


  • Photo by Mathias Peter Christian v/ VNR Production