Mike Rijnierse (b. Haarlem, 1974) is an artist, inventor, curator and educator working in the fields of light, sound and architectural experience. Intrigued by human/non-human sensory structures, he composes with and for the environment, creating spatial dialogues. Rijnierse has exhibited his works throughout Europe, Korea, Taiwan, Morocco, United Arab Emirates and Brazil; from contexts such as media art festivals and technology museums to public space interventions.

As a docent at the Design Art Technology of ArtEZ University of the Arts – Arnhem, since 2009, Rijnierse has devised the course Design of Instruments, where students research and create instruments that transcend technological domains, exploring new and imaginary media.


Over two decades, Rijnierse has developed a meticulous study on the interaction between light and the retina. He gave concrete form to his discoveries through the series of light installations CYMRGB. These works can be described as optical music or opto-acoustics, by animating colored surfaces in time with composed light projections. His work Lumokinese has been widely exhibited since 2008 and most notably been presented along masterpieces by László Moholy-Nagy, Dan Flavin, Adam Barker-Mill, Gianni Colombo and others, at Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (NL) in 2016.

More recently, in collaboration with Ludmila Rodrigues, he has developed the work Sunset, a light monument for urban spaces, which has been shown in Delft (2021), in The Hague (2022), and in Paris (2023). The work explores our relationship with the phenomenon of the sunset – its captivating radiance and the subsequent image production.

Another of his light sculptures, Cube operates on the principle of multiple reflections inside the kaleidoscope. It displays several mirrors at perpendicular angles, forming a cube that is lit from inside. In contrast to the classical kaleidoscope, where light enters the object, Cube embodies light from within and projects its multiplication outwards into the space. Cube is choreographed by an autonomic algorithm that directs the synergy between light and sound, developed in collaboration with artist Rob Bothof.

Drawing knowledge from optics and studying early devices such as the Lanterna magica, kaleidoscopes and zootropes – precursors of film, animation and digital media – Mike Rijnierse is not guided by nostalgia, his interest is in questioning the current production of image and examining visual perception. Current devices and instruments at our reach today no longer show their process and therefore they work as ‘black boxes’. By opening up and sharing the process of light / color production, source and shadow, the artist illustrates how illusion and vision are intertwined.


As a selected artist of SHAPE 2017, Mike Rijnierse premiered the sound sculpture Relief at festival Novas Frequências in Rio de Janeiro (BR). Relief, developed in collaboration with Rob Bothof, is an installation that utilizes ultrasound to explore the notion of echolocation. The work examines the process of hearing, decomposing reflections of the space which inform orientation, emphasizing the relationship between source and receiver. Relief is therefore an echosculpture.

Rijnierse’s sonic sculptures Klok (2015), Relief (2016), Soundman (2017), Piano / Forte (2018), Adaptation #1 (2019), Sino (2021) and Ostraka (2023) explore the acoustic domain. In fact, the phenomenon of echo and reflection is a recurring theme in the work of Mike Rijnierse. As architect Juhani Pallasmaa wrote in ‘The Eyes of the Skin’: “Sight isolates, whereas sound incorporates; vision is directional, sound is omni-directional. The sense of sight implies exteriority, whereas sound creates an experience of interiority. I regard an object, but sound approaches me; the eye reaches, but the ear receives. Buildings do not react to our gaze, but they do return our sound back to our ears.”

Another facet of Rijnierse’s work are interventions in public space. The artist developed THX: INT’L (landing strip) for TodaysArt festival 2007. During TodaysArt’s 2008 edition, he developed Station to Station, in collaboration with Staalplaat Soundsystem and Erik Hobijn. In this project the entire railway station of The Hague Central – including its building, trains, trams and passersby – were used for a large scale sound performance, with the timetable of the trains and trams serving as the basis of the composition. The train tracks were interpreted as sliders of a sound mixer, while the train station operated its normal schedule.

For TodaysArt 2015 Mike Rijnierse presented two works: Klok , a 100kg church bell that was thrown down, every hour from the bungee jump tower of the Pier of Scheveningen. The 60 meters free fall of the bell added a Doppler effect to its tolling sound. The second work, 5,4,3,2,1…Lift-Off, performed in the opening of the festival, simulated the launching of a space rocket, where Rijnierse deployed a monumental amount of light, sound, smoke and pyrotechnics, in coordination with a pool of experts to yield the visceral sensation of a rocket launch. In essence, the two works, Klok and 5,4,3,2,1…Lift-Off, complement one another as vertical gestures, while the Doppler effect was represented in both a fall and a colossal lift-off.

Besides individual projects, Mike Rijnierse has collaborated with musicians, producers and theater collectives, such as Rosa Ensemble and GöteborgsOperan.

Interview by Régine Debatty (we-make-money-not-art)

Interview by Lucia Udvardyova, SHAPE

ArchiNed on Locating ArtScience

Metropolis M on Science of Sound

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