City and Light

Panel with Prof. Mischa Kuball, Prof. Dr. Harald Welzer und Thomas Kusitzky

The inexorable march of artificial lighting dates back to 1879 – the year Thomas Alva Edison applied for a patent for the light bulb and thus laid the cornerstone for the development of modern lighting. In 2018, we can look back on almost 140 years of continuous innovation in lighting technology: from laments and neon lamps, to the latest generation of LED luminaires and OLED displays. The rapid development of artficial light technology, however, has gone hand in hand with a huge acceleration in its use. Streets, facades, front gardens, steps, emergency exits, billboards: everything is illuminated! What began as the liberation of man from natural light, has now resulted in new problems. Exorbitant energy consumption and uncontrolled light emission, especially in crowded city centers, are a burden on the environment. Time for the Luminale to ask: What are the consequences of »light pollution« for mankind and the environment? How much energy do our cities need for lighting alone, and what are the new energy-saving concepts, if any?
With a word of welcome from Oliver Schwebel, Wirtschaftsförderung Frankfurt, Competence Center Creative Industries.

Discussion in german language.



Conceptual artist Mischa Kuball has been working in the public and institutional space since 1977. Since 2007, he has been professor of public art at the KHM Cologne and was awarded the German Light Art Award in 2016.

»public preposition - refers to a group of works, interventions, projects and performances, created over a period of several decades. What they all have in common is that they address the public, and thereby implicitly question what, in which place, and under which conditions, is to be understood as “public” and how this is constituted.«

Prof. Dr. Harald Welzer is a sociologist and social psychologist, co-founder and director of "Futur Zwei. Foundation for Future Sustainability ", Professor of Transformation Design at the University of Flensburg, guest professor for Social Psychology in St. Gallen.

»In growth economies, everything is growing, which unfortunately leads to technological savings in energy being overcompensated by increased consumption. For example, the introduction of improved lighting technology does not lead to an absolute saving, but rather to everything getting brighter. And – with the aid of continuous bicycle lighting and car daytime running lights – to a radically-growing ugliness of the world.«

Thomas Kusitzky is a researcher and consultant in the field of Auditive Urban Planning. His work focuses on the socio-cultural parameters of sound planning and design.

»We perceive our urban environment with all our senses at the same time and what we see, hear, smell and feel is mutually dependent. I dedicate myself to listening and the question of how this relates to light. For example, what influence does artificial lighting have on our nocturnal auditory experience and what are the consequences for planning?«



The theme evening City and Light will be moderated by freelance journalist Katrin Seibold. She works as a moderator and editor amongst others for 3Sat Kulturzeit.


Panel Discussion

City and Light

22. März 2018, 20:00 – 22:00 Uhr


Instituto Cervantes, Staufenstraße 1, 60323 Frankfurt am Main

Das Projekt wird unterstützt von

Polytechnische Gesellschaft

Wirtschaftsförderung Frankfurt