Isabella Chydenius: Murder on the dancefloor

Custom-made LED lightbulb network, old shoes, and shoestrings, 2022

The installation titled Murder on the dancefloor (2022) is informed by Chydenius visual and academic research on the dichotomies of the dancefloor in urban nightclub culture; the excitement and momentary feeling of freedom that the space, crowd and the music may offer, while hoping that that freedom won’t be interrupted and disrespected. The title references Sophie Ellis Bextor’s song which speaks of rivalry on the dancefloor.

The installation consists of a network of custom-made LED lightbulbs placed on the floor with (found) shoes hovering above in small clusters. The lightbulbs form a sort of crowd and are a conceptual representation of dancefloor crowds in nightclubs.

The lightbulbs shine with a neon pink light, which through Chydenius research has come to function as a metaphor for the momentary feeling of freedom, often found in “safe space” nightclubs that aim to create space for self-expression in terms of femininity and queerness away from harassment and disruption. Here the shoes depict the possibility and joy of the dancefloor, but also of threat.

Typically, shoes are a neutral element of dancefloors where dancing feet dress up and step around each other to the rhythms of music. The shoes protect each clubber from broken glass on the floor, and
sometimes harmlessly step on one another, only to be excused and continue dancing. However, in this installation the shoes also visualise the harm that the metaphors of “stepping on someone’s toes” or
“walking all over someone” may mean in a manner of injuring someone’s space for expression and freedom through dance. Ultimately, the shoes portray the looming threat of the bubble of safety
breaking in an environment that promotes joy as an act of resistance.

Conclusively, the installation represents an examination of the discussed time-space of nightclubs from both a physical and theoretical aspect, viewing the spaces as both limited and liminal.

The network of LED lightbulbs is made in collaboration with Lichtauf Light Productions during an artists residency at Villa Waldberta, a residency program by the Munich Art and Culture Department. The
installation was exhibited at the Galerie GEDOK in Munich on the 3rd to 24th of March 2022.

Which kind of light sources and what other materials and equipment are used?
Custom-made LED lightbulb network, old shoes, and shoestrings.

Please provide the dimensions of the work. Approximate size will do. Please mention if the work can be adjusted. (width-height-depth):
Approx. 300 x 250 x 120 cm

Requirements for the space: darkness, temperature, colouring (light / dark / specific colour / other) etc.:
A room that can be made dark.

Support and other structures:
The work needs support structures, hanging points, or similar

Please state which structures, hardware or other equipment is needed from the client:
2 plug points. Ceiling that holds 5 hooks, each with shoe weight of 2-3kg.

Seen before at:
Galerie GEDOK, Munich, 3.–24.3.2022


BLAF Best of Light Art in Finland
is hosted by
Finnish Light Art Society FLASH

Producer: Annukka Ketola
+358 40 735 3972

Mia Kivinen /
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