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ISK 5.8 Million to Brighten Peace Tower

Yoko Ono’s art installation on Reykjavík’s Viðey island has never shone brighter, Vísir reports. The column of light, known as the Imagine Peace Tower, received an upgrade this year in the form of new mirrors which make the work brighter and more beautiful than before, according to Sigurður Trausti Traustason of the Reykjavík Art Museum, which oversees the work.

The Imagine Peace Tower is an outdoor work of art conceived by Yoko Ono in memory of John Lennon. The white stone monument emits a tower of light, which extends upward at least 4,000 metres (13,100 feet) on a clear night.

The tower is illuminated in a special ceremony which takes place every year on October 9th, Lennon’s birthday. Nearly 1,800 people attended the ceremony last month, a record for the event. According to Sigurður, lighting the tower involves a bit more than just flipping a switch.

“Each year a group goes out to Viðey to align the tower. There are nine spotlights which form the tower and they need to be straight,” Sigurður explains. One staff member lights the first spotlight while four others evaluate whether or not it is pointing straight up.

“It’s easier said than done as the work stands on open ground and there’s nothing to compare against. It’s similar to a larger work in New York, where the twin towers once stood, and there they’ve got all these straight skyscrapers to measure against,” Sigurður states. He adds that the team often calls a friend on the mainland to judge whether the light is perfectly vertical.

“It happened once that we thought we had finished the job, but when we had gained some distance we saw that the beam was quite crooked. By then it was just too late so we had go out to the island the following day to fix the work.”

The new mirrors cost of ISK 5.8 million ($46,000/€42,000). That’s a fair price to pay, considering the Tower’s overall cost since its inauguration in 2007 has been just over ISK 40 million ($321,000/€290,000).

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