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.



This year's Light Festival Karlsruhe is dedicated to music as a source of expression of joy in life. A motto that derives from the thematic focus on biophilia and thus the love of life at the ZKM | Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe.  

Music is one of the central, man-made sources of expression for the joy of life. In the Kalahari deserts as in the cotton fields, music has made unbearable living conditions more bearable. From waltz to rock'n'roll, music is also an expression of an excess of joy in life. Music becomes religion. That's why there is so much wonderful church music, from the psalmody chants that are often sung continuously in shifts for weeks on end in the monasteries of the Cistercian monks, to Johann Sebastian Bach. In a way, music is religion for the ears.



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.

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on the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELEN Karlsruhe 2021

Dr Frank Mentrup

Executive Mayor of the City of Karlsruhe

“The SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Light Festival Karlsruhe brought people together in the heart of Karlsruhe and at the same time helped Karlsruhe to shine as UNESCO’s City of Media Arts for the whole world to see. The digital media art on our baroque palace façade and in the city centre was an impressive experience not only for the more than 4,000 delegates of the Assembly of the Council of the Ecumenical Church from all over the world, but also for the citizens of the city who could once again enjoy a sense of community here. The SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Light Festival simply makes people happy.”


Director of ZKM Karlsruhe and curator of the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE

“The post-pandemic success of the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Light Festival was overwhelming. The thanks of the artists, technicians and organisers therefore go to the audience for their undivided interest.”

Oliver Lüsch

Chair of the Executive Board, BBBank Karlsruhe

“I am very pleased that the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Light Festival has become a permanent institution over the years and that we have contributed to the promotion of highly talented artists and their projections with our BBBank Award since last year. This year, too, I was very impressed by the creative output and diversity of the works – especially our four international prize-winning projections. Seeing the results live at Karlsruhe Castle was an experience.”

martin wacker

Managing Director of Karlsruhe Marketing und Event GmbH

"In addition to outstanding media art, the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Light Festival is also a perfect tool for city marketing and an additional magnet for Karlsruhe’s city centre. We envision much more networking potential here.”



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 2022


Impressions of SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Karlsruhe 2021


Impressions of Light Festival Karlsruhe 2021


Impressions of Schlosslichtspiele KARLSRUHE 2019



Impressions of Schlosslichtspiele KARLSRUHE

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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.