For the 2015 edition of Urban Lights Ruhr, the city of Hagen served as a testing ground where contemporary artworks aimed to stimulate discussions about the implications of light in our urban environments. The key objective was to address public space and initiate dialogue between the public, artists, city planners, and politicians about strategies, issues, and the possibilities of artistic interventions.
The Curatorial team—Sans façon with Katja Aßmann of Urbane Künste Ruhr— invited seven international artists to explore this context through a new work dealing with light. The artists were invited to create works that reflect the specific context of a post-industrial town in the Ruhr Region and participating through these new works in raising questions and discussions about the situation of these cities at that time.
In addition to co-curating Urban Lights Ruhr 2015, Sans façon were asked to make a proposal to also create work for this edition.
The artist’s projects for Urban Lights Ruhr presented complementary approaches looking at the urban and social conditions of Hagen (Anna Rispoli), the typical urban spaces created by 1950’s and 1960’s functionalist planning (A Kassen, Simon Faithfull), playing with our perceptions and relation to everyday light infrastructure (Janice Kerbel, Taturo Atzu). All the projects responded to issues of public space and city planning not in an analytical manner but by bringing a poetic sensitivity to these places, creating moments of unexpected spectacle in the everyday.
The choice of the artists and their proposals created a range of impact with discreet interventions that you needed to experience on a number of nights, visually striking ones and playful ones. All the works generated new ways of experiencing a familiar city, and will live in the collective memory of these places once Urban Lights Ruhr is gone.
To coincide with UNESCO International Year of Light, Hagen also hosted alongside Berlin, Helsinki, Liverpool, Madrid the Media Festival Connecting Cities. In discussion with curator Susa Pop, a series of artists work from Connecting Cities was brought to Hagen for Urban Light Ruhr. The works were based around media facades, urban screens and projection sites to circulate artistic and social content. The Connecting Cities artists invited to Hagen were Andrea Polli, Blake Shaw, Ghana Think Tank, Mark Shepard, Ricardo O’nascimento.
A further collaboration with the University of Dortmund MA in Scenographie and Communication rounded out the full Urban Lights Ruhr 2015 program with excess of 15 art works being realized.