Astrospatial Architecture and Smart Light Cities: A new urban ethos based on electromagnetic fluxes

Case studies and presentations


Friday 24 February




Davina Jackson

Visiting Research Fellow, Goldsmiths (Computing)

University of London


Davina Jackson has globally investigated and is promoting the creative potentials of emerging technologies exploiting the electromagnetic spectrum. She is a founder and strategy director for the world’s first ‘Smart Light’ festivals in Sydney (Vivid Light/Smart Light Sydney, 2009) and Singapore (iLight Marina Bay 2010, 2012), edited the world’s first comprehensive illustrated survey of the urban light movement: SuperLux: Smart Light Art, Design and Architecture for Cities (Thames and Hudson, 2015). She co-curated the City of Sydney Customs House exhibition SuperLux: Smart Light Cities (2015), including seven videos that have been reshown to audiences in London and Munich. For further information, visit

Light remains the origin and sustenance of all forms of life on Earth—but human living is being transformed by ingenious applications of astrospatial technologies that were devised to fly to other planets. This century’s networked architectures of semiconductors, satellites, scanners and sensors manipulate diverse electromagnetic frequencies to convert light into unprecedented formats and contents of data that are destined to inform most human behaviours in future. Telematics and informatics are taking our civilisation far beyond the milieu of modernism enabled by Edison’s 1879 demonstration of electric incandescence and the transmillennial ‘digital age’ underpinned by portable computers and mobile telephony. In today’s ‘electroluminescent era’—humanity’s third major period of lighting technology, catalysed by semiconductor-enabled RGB LED systems—we next expect a ubiquitous ‘internet of light’, pulsing data through buildings, cities, devices and apparel via the semiconductors which activate LEDs and solar cells (Haas, 2011). Tomorrow’s ultra-fast, high-capacity and energy-efficient li-fi networks seem destined to transcend wi-fi and radio telephony as the massively parallel electronic infrastructure needed to underpin ‘the new space economy’ (OECD, 2007).

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