Light art on the Karlsruhe Palace

The Schlosslichtspiele were founded by Peter Weibel, the artistic-scientific director of the Centre for Art and Media (ZKM), as part of the Globale Digitale to celebrate the 300th birthday of the city of Karlsruhe in 2015. In that year the city hosted a festival summer entitled KA300. 

The city of Karlsruhe – known for its radiating layout – is also known as the fan-shaped city. According to Weibel, the palace, which forms the centre of this floor plan, was the obvious choice as the central starting point for reflections on urban architecture. The video mappings refer to the façade of the palace, which houses the Badisches Landesmuseum, and the history of the city.

Particular attention is paid to the interaction between visitors and the light shows that the Lichtspiele embody – by means of games or movements, visitors become part of the choreography conceived by the artists. 

On the strength of the positive feedback to the Schlosslichtspiele 2015, Karlsruhe City Council decided to continue the format under the artistic direction of ZKM Karlsruhe in cooperation with KME Karlsruhe Marketing and Event GmbH.



“The blues originated in and thus came from the fields where slaves performed arduous labour: Music helped them endure this life of exploitation. Songs therefore serve to compensate for the deepest suffering and yet at the same time are an expression of the highest joy – music is able to make an unbearable life tolerable. Music is the joy of life. It is religion for the ears, because it confronts truth and beauty with the joyless present, like an aesthetic promise of salvation that is also fulfilled in a real epiphany. It can thus become the gateway to mind-expanding ecstasy in an intoxication without chemicals, all by its enjoyment.”



In Karlsruhe, media art in its various forms is part of life: work and leisure structures, as well as public and institutional spaces offer citizens and guests the opportunity to submerse themselves into various inventive options for action, in the role of visitors and participants and beyond, to contribute to city life as collaborators.

As a booming IT location, Karlsruhe has an excellent and broad-based university and research landscape. This network and a historical cultural infrastructure of exceptional diversity for a city of its size combine with a flourishing cultural and creative economy.

Culture and creativity are important economic factors that generate sales, employment and income, shape future factors such as digitisation, and secure innovation. They open up future prospects for innovative and creative people who are trained at local universities. Culture and creativity bring people together and promote social cohesion. They shape structural change and have a positive impact on urban development. They make the city more attractive, improve its image, and attract national attention – in other words, they make the city a better place to live.

Joining the UNESCO Creative Cities Network gives Karlsruhe and the city's interest groups the opportunity to make new contacts, provide new impetus, and establish new connections to organisations and artists in UNESCO Creative Cities on all continents. Inclusion in the network will give the city renewed momentum and promote the dynamic development of creative innovations. Creativity is seen as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.

The internal networking and integration of the different scenes facilitates the formation of an urban identity and make a more differentiated external profile possible. Membership strengthens international networking, cooperation and exchange at the international level between cultural institutions, artists, and specialists in digital culture and creative industries.

The city of Karlsruhe and its creative actors aim to get involved in the UNESCO Creative Cities network in a variety of ways and would like to take their innovations and expertise from the mutual relationship between media art and the areas of cultural and creative industries, IT, science and research, as well as democracy and fundamental rights to the member cities and contribute to the global context.


on the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELEN Karlsruhe 2021

Dr Frank Mentrup

Executive Mayor of the City of Karlsruhe

"After a year in virtual space, the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE will be returning to the façade of our unique Schloss Karlsruhe. With the slogan: 'Taking life into our hands', the light shows will demonstrate that we are again seizing the opportunities provided in analogue (as opposed to digital) life. We can once again experience fascinating media arts at the Schloss. If we accept these special conditions, we can all be part in the six dazzling weeks of the UNESCO City of Media Arts.”


Director of ZKM Karlsruhe and curator of the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE

"The new 2021 works pick up where 2020 left off. The questions of change are answered by a new relationship between the future and the past, in both the micro and macro realms. The SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE presented a double maelstrom, a maelstrom of sound driving the maelstrom of images. The SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE shows therefore become a visual song of togetherness and unity. In 2021 we will not allow the physical distancing forced on us by the Covid-19 pandemic to become social distancing. We have to take life into our hands together again, and seek new ways of living".

Oliver Lüsch

Chair of the Executive Board, BBBank Karlsruhe

"Creativity is a valuable stimulus for the sustainability and development of society. That's why we are very happy to support SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE with the Newcomer Award. We hope all the visitors enjoy the magical evening shows."

martin wacker

Managing Director of Karlsruhe Marketing und Event GmbH

"With the Light Festival, not only our famous Schloss, but also the city will shine more brightly. The decentralised venues are therefore an essential factor in limiting infections, while also ensuring that visitors can enjoy everything the restauranteurs, service providers and retailers have to offer. Not forgetting a big thank you to the partners and sponsors who are contributing to the Light Festival with, among others, some fabulous illuminations of their buildings.”



The SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Karlsruhe is a festival of light that showcases projection mapping. Projection Mapping is a form of media art whereby individual video projections are designed to projected onto a specific feature or building. International artists create 3D video mapping projects for the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE to be projected on to the façade of the Schloss Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe Palace) every evening and for a period of several weeks. The event as a whole will create one of the largest audiovisual digital artworks in Europe.
The first SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Karlsruhe Light Festival took place in 2015 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the city, and thrilled spectators. It has been held every summer since then. Around 1.7 million visitors have already visited the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE at Schloss Karlsruhe, and the images of the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE are beamed around the world.

The 2022 SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Karlsruhe festival will be held from 18th August to 18th September.

Information about the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE is available online on the website, on Facebook (@schlosslichtspielekarlsruhe) and on Instagram (@schlosslichtspielekarlsruhe).

Karlsruhe Marketing und Event GmbH is the organiser of the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE and responsible for its execution. This festival is curated by the artistic-scientific director of ZKM | Centre for Art and Media, Prof. Peter Weibel. ZKM was founded in 1989 as a "digital construction company" with the mission to carry the classical arts forward into the digital age. Worldwide, it is a unique cultural institution that combines research and production, exhibitions and performances, collections and archives, mediation and events. The SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE is financed by the city of Karlsruhe, by partners and sponsors, as well as by revenues from the catering on the palace square.


Impressions of Schlosslichtspiele KARLSRUHE 2021


Impressions of Light Festival Karlsruhe 2021


Impressions of Schlosslichtspiele KARLSRUHE 2019



Impressions of Schlosslichtspiele KARLSRUHE

the Organizers

Karlsruhe Marketing und Event GmbH and ZKM


Your central contact when it comes to big events in Karlsruhe.

Events are a first-class communication tool. Emotionalization and the so-called “sense of unity” play a huge role in this and are used to create lasting bonds, business platforms, and a positive perception of the location.

ZKM | Center for Art and Media KARLSRUHE

The ZKM | Center for Art and Media is a cultural institution that is unique worldwide, because it is a place that expands the original purposes of a museum. It is a place of all media and genres, of room-based arts, such as paintings, photography, and sculptures, as well as of time-based arts such as film, video, media art, music, dance, theater, and performance. The ZKM was founded in 1989 as a museum with the mission to perpetuate classic arts with the digital age. That is why it is sometimes also called the “electronic or digital Bauhaus” – an expression that is ascribed to Heinrich Klotz. Furthermore, the ZKM is also home to institutes and laboratories, in which people do scientific research, develop, and produce. Besides making sure that the original main idea of a museum, namely that works of art do not disappear, the ZKM has also taken over the task of creating the conditions for the creation of works of art – by guest artists and also by its employees. That is why it is called center and not museum.


questions or suggestions?

If you have any questions or suggestions for the “SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE”, you can get in touch with our “SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE” TEAM from the Karlsruhe Marketing und Event GmbH by Mail.
We will try to get back to you as soon as possible.