Not many people know about the lamp-posts on Ghent’s Sint-Veerleplein. They have been programmed to flicker briefly every time a child is born in a Ghent maternity ward.
The Italian artist Alberto Garutti created this installation during the art event ‘Over the Edges’ in 2000. He called it Ai Nati Oggi (to those born today). It was permanently installed on Sint-Veerleplein, near the Gravensteen castle, in 2011.
Every time a child is born in one of the city’s four maternity hospitals, the mother is invited to push a button on the wall. It sends a signal that causes the street lights to flash.
A plaque embedded in the paving stones explains the work. ‘The streetlights in this place are connected to the maternity ward of the hospital. Every time the light slowly pulsates, it means a child has been born. The work is dedicated to that child, and to the children born today in this city’.
Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.