At the heart of the Lichtparcours 2020—also as a reminiscence of the first Parcours in 2000—was an artistic response to the waterway of the Oker River and its 24 bridges. The characteristic topography of the city center, surrounded by the historical waterways, was also the point of departure for various positions during the fifth Lichtparcours. Fifteen works including both sculpture and film were developed site-specifically by international artist. Vigorous, intensely colored, abstract creations served as counterpoint to the municipal public spaces so suffused with advertisement.
The main focus of the Lichtparcours 2020 was on the waterways of the Oker River with its numerous bridges. Not only national but also international artists were invited to the Lichtparcours 2020, complemented by positions from the region. From June 13 to October 9 the call went out to all lovers of art to explore the Lichtparcours on foot, by bicycle and on the waterways.
The exhibition was enriched by a multifaceted accompanying program consisting of workshops, concerts, readings, sporting activities and guided tours.
On the occasion of the world exhibition EXPO 2000 in Hanover, the Braunschweiger Kulturinstitut, with the current department head Dr. Anja Hesse and in close collaboration with Prof. Gerhard Auer (TU Braunschweig), developed the vision of an exhibition project in public spaces that was intended to achieve an innovative connection between experiencing culture and experiencing the city. Visitors to EXPO and residents of the city itself were offered the possibility of temporarily discovering artistic installations and interventions on the theme of light and water in the image of the architectural features and monuments of Braunschweig. The development of a concept for the first Lichtparcours in Braunschweig gave rise to a plausible encounter with the culture, architecture and history of the city of Braunschweig which presented, instead of already extant works, artworks that had been freshly created in explicit accordance with the specific particularities of the site. The topography in proximity to bridges was given close consideration regarding its suitability to serve as the center of the works to be created, inasmuch as the bridges—as witnesses to the history of the city—were able to play an exemplary role as a representational backdrop for the works being created. With the title “Lichtparcours 2000: Bridges over colored water,” the project was presented from June 3 to October 31, 2000; it reached ca. 500,000 visitors. The thirteen works of Light Art were conceived and realized by various national and international artists with the support of numerous protagonists.
The Parcours 2004 in Braunschweig presented sculptures, installations and artistic interventions by national and international artists who responded with their contributions to the urban and culture-historical situation of Braunschweig. The conceptual approach of the selected projects consisted of a process whereby the genesis of the respective work was derived from the specificity of the site, which became an integral component of the work, so that a sort of indivisibility arose between work and site, between content and form, between thematic statement and spatial context. The quality of the ensuing works of art and hence the significance of the overall project grew out of the individual interplay between artistic initiative and local referentiality. Various sites of urban life—squares, parks, prominent buildings and hidden niches—were integrated into the Parcours and awakened to new life. In this way, not only were insights into current artistic practices offered to both a local and a national audience; in addition, there arose an understanding with regard to the meaning of living, perceptible urban culture. Thus the Braunschweig Parcours 2004 not only viewed itself as a contribution to the discourse of international art but also sought to promote an examination of the media-related conditionality of the environment. With the exhibition from June 26 to 31 October, the Parcours reached as many as 80,000 visitors.
Once again artists participating in the project could make use of the Oker zone and Oker meadows, the richly contrasting and hidden spatial qualities that offer a mixture of private terrace atmosphere and public greenery. No other city can offer this mixture of nature, water and art. The artistic positions of the Lichtparcours 2010 depicted the various states of light: from a concentration on pure light as a self-referential medium confronting the viewer with the optical characteristics of light to the definition of artistic-optical border phenomena; from iconographically determined projects, or living flames with their messages of light, to scenographic positions that come to light within the darkness of the watercourse, have a highly impacting character and creates spaces of sensory experience. The Oker River became a projection surface for contemporary art, but several artists also in a literal sense used the water as a mirror for their works: Individual works reminiscent of still lifes were represented, but there could also be found for the first time serial elements which defined the watercourse in the city, offered the recipient orientation with the help of light and simultaneously pointed towards the heterogeneity of the urban landscape. This Parcours as well was not limited merely to the pure exhibition aspect but was also culture-politically motivated in the sense of an improvement in the quality of the urban space.
With the help of interesting designs by young but already established artists, seven projects were realized. The “Braunschweiger Lichtparcours 2010” was shown between June 19 and September 30, 2010; it reached approximately 300,000 visitors.
In accordance with the motto “15 Artworks, 24 Hours, 4 Months, 1 City,” the Lichtparcours 2016 displayed works of art both in the urban space and, for the first time, at a site beyond the city center, namely the compound of the Braunschweig-Veltenhof harbor. In a fourth edition of the exhibition format, the focus was on new artistic productions. A large number of the works were developed in relation to a specific site after a visit to the city; the artists used various strategies of intervention in public spaces. Considerations about the change in natural lighting conditions constituted important points of reference: For the first time, attention was given to works that could be experienced in interplay with their surroundings 24 hours per day. Visitors were thereby offered the possibility of repeatedly rediscovering the works at different times of the day. Under the title “Lichtparcours Braunschweig 2016,” the 15 works were exhibited from June 11 to Sept. 22, 2016; they reached some 450,000 visitors.