Protests at night: Light, art and design for democracy, social justice and climate movement

Rising protests in recent years to address ecological, social and political issues have motivated artists and activists to reflect their strategy of interventions. In this connection light has become an attractive element to create striking images and videos to enhance press and social media communication. Different new forms have emerged. Previously using a sea of candles to show solidarity and to express unity has been replaced with bright LED flashlights from mobile phones. Projection with graphics and text enable artists and activists to underline their core messages or even to temporarily take possession of iconic landmarks. In fact, the luminous form of protest has allowed creative minds to circumvent governmental restrictions like forbidding gatherings of large groups. The smart use of light to enhance protests was already visible in the Occupy Wall Street protest and has been evident in recent demonstrations regarding climate change, Black Lives Matter or the LGBT movement. Artists like Krzystof Wodiczko, Robin Bell, Jenny Holzer, Dustin Klein, The Illuminator collective, Joanie Lemercier and Delight Lab have created projects in the recent years to address the rising social, ecological and political issues in the USA, South America and Europe.

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– Interventions at night: Light, art and design for social change. Municipal museum in Lüdenscheid / Germany, 10.02.2023
– When facades call for social change. KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm / Sweden, 22.09.2022
– Protests at night. KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm / Sweden, 22.09.2021
– Urban lighting between identity and transformation. Élat Lighting Initiative in Saskatoon / Canada, 12.2.2021
– Protests at night – From candlelight vigils to guerilla projections. KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm / Sweden, 15.10.2020

– Krzysztof Wodiczko: monuments, projections and protest. An interview with Thomas Schielke. Sculpture Journal, 2022
When Architecture Shows Solidarity with China Combating Coronavirus. ArchDaily, 2020
Media scapes in China: The empire of figures transforms into connected media facades. Media Architecture Biennale, 2021.
The Language of Lighting: Applying Semiotics in the Evaluation of Lighting Design. Leukos, 2019.
Streetscapes at Night: Lighting between Safety, Identity and Transformation. 3rd City Street Conference, 2018.

Master thesis mentoring
Light for democracy: Lighting as a tool for Brazilian political protests. KTH Stockholm: Helena Peres Caixeta Silva, 2022

Global protests at night

Selected events, artists and activists

Interesting social media channels of artists and activists: