“In the Spotlight: Searchlights, Art, Surveillance and Spectacle” presented by Arozqueta


Session Title:

  • Light Art

Presentation Title:

  • In the Spotlight: Searchlights, Art, Surveillance and Spectacle




  • Searchlights have been used historically for artistic, military, commemoration and promotion purposes. This essay begins with an outline of the historical uses of searchlights in international fairs and its deployment in political and commemorative events on the first half of the twentieth century. The second part tracks and analyzes the use of searchlights by contemporary artists who have explored the use of this medium to create spatial, personal and community results. Some artists draw lines in the sky exploring sculptural possibilities; not a few continue the traditional uses of searchlights for national celebrations; while others manage to reveal in their installations the paradoxical nature of reflectors that oscillate between being a tool of vigilance and spectacle.