Episode 44 - The Invisible Infrastructure

John Bullock, guest co-host on this episode, asks the question, “How do we shift the argument so that we can start to talk about the reality of what we experience rather than the propaganda of what people tell us is a problem.” And from there, Michael, John and Nona discuss the history of street lighting, the unproven link between light and safety and the spiritual notion of light equaling safety. Perhaps, as Nona says, we need to reveal the “invisible infrastructures.”

Nona Schulte-Römer is currently working and teaching as senior researcher at Humboldt University in Berlin in a social scientific project on the public understanding of 5G and light exposure in urban contexts. She has a background in humanities, sociology and journalism. In her previous research she has focused on public lighting, light pollution, sustainable chemistry and aquatic micropollutants. Her focus is thereby how these phenomena become issues of public concern or remain ‘invisible’ infrastructures.

Mentions in the podcast:
Wolfgang Schivelbusch, “Disenchanted Night: The Industrialization of Light in the Nineteenth Century”, University of California Press
Our citizen science project website:


Our citizen science app can be found and tested or used here: https://lichter.nachtlicht-buehne.de/

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Humboldt Uni on Twitter