What is interesting for me is how the progress of light technology allows humans to ‘colonise’ the night. Sometimes, this illumination serves to double the hours for work and pleasure. But this affects both animals and man for better and for worse. Urban lighting is undergoing a revolution alongside landscape development and trends. In particular, Singapore is a good case study of urban lighting. For example, the city has installed street lamps every 5 meters along the roads, making it extremely well-lit at night. There are almost no dark areas at all. This creates a sense of security and Singaporeans have no problem roaming the city at any time of the night.
On top of that, the vibrant colours of the city at night is really interesting for me. This is not common in Madrid and in London, for example, only neon colours are used to keep up with trends. But in other cities like Singapore, Seoul, Beijing or Hong Kong, there is an eclectic mix of neon, fluorescents incandescent lamps and L.E.D. in an array of colours.
The most obvious advantage lies in the greater sense of security evoked by a well-lit environment. The lights ease movements during the night, making it safe and reassuring. For example, you can have a late dinner or supper and walk home in the middle of the night with no problems. There is no doubt that the lights are essential in improving safety and crime prevention.
However, my research also points to the fact that light pollution can lead to serious and irreversible impacts on humans, plants and animals. From retinal damage and skin cancer to sleep disruptions and increased carbon emissions, excessive use of lights can trigger a myriad of harmful effects. Yet, as I spend time observing the city, I also grow more aware of how its inhabitants are oblivious to the way they are put at risk when exposed to the lights.
Apart from the images taken in Singapore or Hong-Kong, I would like to continue this long term project in the cities where we can find more light pollution such as: Seoul, Hong Kong, Las Vegas or Los Angeles. I would like to create a visual mapping that can be a very useful tool for public decision-makers who want to act decisively on this problematic phenomenon, as well as for citizens who wish to raise their level of awareness.
Midnight Sun. Singapore. PhotoEspaña. Futures. Audiovisual instalation at CentroCentro in Madrid, 2022.