Emptied city – front404

Emptied City

In the center of the busy Van Sijpesteijntunnel, twenty-two CCTV cameras hang in a row above the water. According to the ebb and flow of the people moving to and from the city center, the CCTV cameras light up and project the words of a poem on the wall of the tunnel.


The poem, created for this installation by British poet Sophia Walker, reflects on people’s fears and motivations searching for some place to call home.

The surveillance cameras that project the poem on the wall used to belong to the city of Utrecht and have been transformed in this work from being invisible watchers, to parts of an artwork illuminating a dark corner of the city. 

The words of the poem are only revealed by the movement of people through the tunnel, and they change their meaning based on the direction that you read them in, just as your sense of a city changes depending on if you are leaving there in the hope of finding something new, or if you are returning after many years; physically it is the same place, but you see it in an entirely different light.

“We see Urban Transformation as a constant struggle by different forces trying to define who the city is for.”

Artists: Front404


FRONT404 is a duo of artists from the city of Utrecht. We make interactive installations, using easily accessible and direct interaction as a means to reach people in innovative, meaningful and playful ways. We try to connect with people in unexpected and unusual ways, in the conviction that memorable and fun experiences are the best way to get them to look at the world in a new light. Much of FRONT404’s work is dedicated to our quest to make the world a more playful place.