[ISEA2019] Paper: Claudia Arozqueta — In the Spotlight: Searchlights, Art, Surveillance and Spectacle


Keywords: Searchlights, Artificial Light, Surveillance, Installation Art, Memorial Art, War, Spectacle, Media Art History.

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.

  • Claudia Arozqueta is an arts historian, curator and writer currently based in Sydney. She is a PhD candidate in art history and theory at the University of New South Wales, Australia. Her areas of interest are the history of media, art theory and criticism, public space and experimental history. Her research has been published in various international magazines and journals, including Leonardo, Artnodes, Art 21, Artforum, and the Journal of Science and Technologies of the Arts.

Full text (PDF) p.  24-28