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The Photonic Age

The turn of the millennium, the transition into the 21st Century, marks the entry of humanity into an »Age of Light.«

Light from the sun has always played a significant role in human imagination and behavior. Throughout the millennia it has helped spur the most complex fantasies. From the ancient heliocentric religions, to the sun worshipers of today, our own central star has played a dominate role in human culture. Light has played a fascinating role in religion and mythology, philosophy, politics, literature, film, architecture, the fine arts, and visionary pursuits of all kinds.

In recent years, light has gained an even greater level of scientific and technological importance and, therefore, an even greater level of cultural significance than ever before:

A great number of future-oriented technologies, many of which coming from photonic developments in the fields of communication, energy, and materials processing, work through innovative applications of light. Data transmission over optical fibers, energy generation employing solar cells, and the use of laser light in industrial production, as well as for medical purposes will shape our future significantly.

The exhibition project LICHTZEIT runs from the birth of the elements in the cores of stars, to the beginnings of human culture, the taming of fire, through the work of human creativity, ending in an exploration of light technologies. The topics of the exhibition range from the ancient sun gods, to the latest high-tech photonics. They move from Prometheus stealing fire, to the Hubble telescope‘s observation of light that originated 13.82 billion years ago. They cover how philosophers, painters and filmmakers interpret light, and even address the question of whether Einstein was right with his statement that there is nothing faster than light.

This outline describes the engrossing potential of the thematic field and the mise-en-scène of the exhibition project LICHTZEIT. It is aimed at potential partners who are interested in the co-development and realization of this exhibition. The exhibition and its related activities offer a fantastic opportunity for partners from research, industry and the media to present their work and products. The transcultural approach of placing current, high technology alongside international works of art from different periods, and the latest research results alongside current trends in the entertainment industry, opens a complex semantic space to be conquered by the visitors. The exhibition will be a rewarding experience for visitors of all backgrounds and education levels.

Up until now, there has never been such an encompassing exhibition on the subject of light.

The UNESCO declared 2015 to be »the year of Light«. So, it‘s time to talk about light.

Light is future

Light is the fundamental basis of all life. We derive energy from light. We process materials with light. We communicate with light. We do surgeries with light. We measure the world with light. We observe light that is 13.7 billion years old. We store data with light. We virtually live in worlds of light.

Our largest source of energy is the sun. Every year it sends us an amount of energy equal to a multiple of all the energy used by man. Everything living, everything surrounding us, is essentially a conversion of solar energy.

The recent acceleration in the accumulation of knowledge is astounding. Humanity is now at a historic point where it can use energy sensibly, as well as learn and apply what this use of light has to teach us. We are now facing the urgent challenge to put our theoretical know-
ledge into play – to put rhetoric into action.

Each and every atom that every human being and the world surrounding us is built up on,  was once part of a star. The heavier elements of the universe could only arise from fusion processes that exist inside stars. We too,
comprise of those elements.

We are all children of stars.

Light informs our entire being. Light is life. Without light there is no future.