2 responses to “Lighting Up Cities

  1. I am afraid, that most lighting installations on such festivals cannot be powered through solar panels so easily. On the one hand you would need really a lot of panels (also since a lot of light festivals happen in the winter months where you have only limited sun light during the day); also Solar Panel production itself is not a clean business and uses a lot of energy itself. Maybe indeed the best solution is to get a green commitment, by choosing an energy provider with renewable sources. Well, this also comes from the grid and nobody knows what really powers the LEDs at the end 🙂

    Personally I am a bit dismayed by all the RGB lightings popping up all over. It’s a light pollution that barely has any sense and light festivals with their LED lights are often dwarfed by permanent installations, billboards, advertising screens and so on. Most of them also use already LED technology – What if they would be powered by solar panels? Would we love them more? Would it be democratic and publicly acceptable? Instead of the global phenomenon of greenwashing I would rather argue that it is time to reflect, if we really need this massive light pollution and if we don’t create more environmental damage just to feed our egos and PR of cities and tourist attractions. If we truly want to be more green and environmentally friendly then we should reduce the “lighting up for just fun” and treat also light emissions – whether solar powered or LED supported or not – as often unnecessary pollution. That would be an interesting beginning 😉

  2. Hi Gaston, thanks for your comment! It’s even more interesting as it comes from someone whose business involves making light art installations for festivals. As for the efficiency and sustainability of solar panels, it can be argued that a lot depends on the solar technology adopted, but it’s certainly true that a less excessive and more cleverly designed lighting would be preferable. Reducing the lighting load would make solar-powered, off-grid light installations more feasible.
    We may say that a lot of the LED-based light art installations we’ve seen at festivals so far are quite “tacky”, and it’s the designers’ responsibility to propose a more intelligent use of lighting technologies that can result into spatial interventions that are both sustainable and engaging for the community. Festival organisers should prevent light artworks from being installed where there are other forms of lighting already, but unfortunately they almost never do that and this is a major problem. There are other issues related to temporary installations at light festivals, such as the low durability of many artworks which are soon turned into mixed waste containing plastics, electronics and composite fibre optics cables, that can be problematic to dispose of.
    You’ve certainly raised a good point and given your experience I’d like to read more of your thoughts on this subject, including your ideas for improved forms of public art and media architecture, therefore I invite you to write an article to be published here on Technergeia.
    Thank you very much for your feedback! I look forward to hearing from you again soon.

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