subtle variations on Donostia’s nightscape
Winter Solstice Call (WSC) is a set of temporary and ephemeral outdoors lighting installations, where people are a vital resource. During winter solstice, which is the darkest period of the year, the usual street lighting of San Sebastian’s Bay and its surroundings are transformed by subtle artistic interventions encouraging inhabitant and visitors to reflect on our contemporary city nightscapes and the role artificial lighting plays on them.
WSC project begins as a Master Thesis work for Architectural Lighting Design studies developed at KTH Lighting Laboratory in Stockholm. This project is part of San Sebastian 2016 European Capital of Culture cultural program. WSC is focused on improving people’s and society’s daily life, by improving our urban environment making use of imagination, ingenuity and local resources, involving citizens during the design process and having fun with them. In this sense, Winter Solstice Call aims to inspire and motivate people to create festive lighting scenes that promote local cohesion and generate an active movement that keeps the city alive in this special occasion. This project is also part of the official agenda of IYL2015, the International Year of Light declared by UNESCO.
WSC is essentially a celebration. Our ancestors celebrated winter solstice centuries ago. At the time that artificial lighting did not exist or it was scarce, winter nights remained dark and inhabitants missed sunny days that made it easier to survive. Today we hardly notice the difference because of the widespread use of artificial lighting. Therefore, this proposal differs from common Christmas lighting displays as it maximizes existing urban resources and makes some minimum addition of equipment, enhancing the absence of light.