dark skies



My day today was spent at the Onassis Cultural Centre here in Athens.  The Urban Lightscapes symposium organised by the Light Art Collective – BEFORELIGHT the first in three events taking place across Europe.  If you are in Barcelona or Maastricht in the coming months then please go and attend this event was really worth attending with fresh perspectives and inspiration abound.  Here is their outline for the project:

The Project

During the last decade urban lighting concepts have been employed in order to accommodate the needs for commodity and security in urban areas. Exterior lighting has so far been considered only as a technical factor regardless of the social environment and not in connection with the citizens that are directly affected by the way it is used. It has also been noticed that numerous deprived urban areas in Europe tend to be characterised by outdoor low-light conditions, which often make people feel insecure, alienated and frustrated.

In this context, the main object of this project, initiated by the light art group BEFORELIGHT, is to investigate and practically experiment on the relationship between urban lighting and the civil society while trying to encourage dialogue, active participation and creativity.

By bringing together local communities, academic and professional contributors and light artists from around Europe the project’s goal and its concrete outcome is to create participatory light installations in specific neighborhoods of Maastricht, the Netherlands. Such an attempt will also be the result of a multidisciplinary and experiment – oriented process that will previously take place in Greece and Spain through the preparation of a Symposium and a Workshop.  The project’s aim is to encourage local communities to get engaged in actions that bring changes in public spaces and urban environments through the collaboration of artists, designers, scientists and social partners.

Overall, the purpose of the “Urban Lightscapes” project is to become a successful example of interdisciplinary, transnational and cultural cooperation while reflecting on public lighting. The artistic lighting installation aspires to bring changes not only in the chosen areas but also in other European communities that may use this project as a case study for future reference. Last but not least it wishes to be a good example of methodology for other future light installations. The challenge is to change the way citizens perceive open spaces and urban lighting by encouraging them to actively participate in such collaborative projects.

I will post some links tomorrow on some of the artists and speakers.  A lot to take in and digest but really thought provoking concepts and public engagement projects.  For now take a look at the trailer:


If you would like to get involved at the next event in Barcelona here are the details:

Urban Lightscapes Workshop: “Creating participatory light prototypes”.

Dates:  22/10-24/10/2013
Time: 10h00min – 20h00min

IAAC FabLab Barcelona

Beforelight and IAAC Fab Lab Barcelona organize the “Creating participatory light prototypes” Workshop within the European-funded project Urban Lightscapes.

Urban Lightscapes is a European Project focused on the multifaceted study of urban lighting, through an interdisciplinary platform that involves artists, designers and citizens, with utter goal to promote open dialogue and residents’ active participation. Involving three activities: a symposium, a workshop and light installations, Urban Lightscapes aims to change the way citizens perceive open spaces and urban lighting, aspiring to be a successful example of an interdisciplinary and social collaboration with positive influence in public lighting.

The aim of the workshop is to design and fabricate a Participatory light Prototype/lighting Process, promoting users’ participation in creating different light interventions in their neighborhoods.

Every citizen should be able to have a saying in his neighborhoods lighting conditions. The workshop proposes to promote this participation using two Participatory Methods:


1. Customized Design and Personal Fabrication (phase 01)

The user gets involved in the development of a concept for the neighborhood.

Through the design phase users can customize the form, materiality, surface and color of the lighting devices as well as the lighting type and the location of the lighting sources.

Through the fabrication process participants will have the possibility to participate in the materialization of the customized designs. Using CNC fabrication equipment they will have the ability to personally and locally fabricate their designs in a short fraction of cost, in comparison with other methods.


2. Interactive Design (phase 02)

Users will have the ability to program their customized lighting prototypes and choose the inputs that will influence their performance.

Sensors of light and presence are embedded in the prototypes. Through physical computing users will decide when the lighting prototypes will light up and in what color, as a way of visualizing information from the urban environment and as a tool for efficient lighting function.

During the workshop, the use of different light sources-devices as Led stripes, lamps with ordinary lamp holders will be explained , along with different light conditions that they can produce, such as Linear lighting, spot lighting, lighting surface, self illumination etc. The participants will have the chance to use the Participatory Methods in order to apply their concepts for making a “participatory light prototype”.


The Workshop will be hosted at IAAC FabLab Barcelona on Friday 22 November 2013-up to Sunday 24 November from 10:00 to 21:00 and conducted in English.

Attendance will be limited to 25 people, with a symbolic fee of 45 Euros, and could concern designers (urban, industrial, light, textile, etc), architects, engineers etc.

To book a place in the workshop please state your interest until Friday 15 November, in the following