Theses Master's

Preservation in the Dark: Current Trends and Future Prospects for Son et Lumiere in China

Zhang, Zhiyue

This thesis aims to explore the questions of what the successful cases of preservation-oriented son et lumiere are like and how the future application of son et lumiere can be further improved to benefit the heritage sites in China. These questions are primarily unfolded by three case studies in China: Son et lumiere at Tulou (Eryilou), Fujian; Son et lumiere at City Wall in Laomendong Historic District, Nanjing; Son et lumiere at the Ruins of St. Paul’s, Macao (2018 Macao Light Festival). The relative successes and weaknesses of each these son et lumiere cases in China are identified, evaluated, compared and analyzed according to the on-site research and the criteria established based on the study of the history of son et lumiere, case studies, and some general investigation of other on-going son et lumiere cases by far in China.

With the development of nocturnal tourism, the abundant resources of historical sites, and the support from the governments in China, son et lumiere is and will still be a trend in China. Improving the quality of son et lumiere and devoting to the creation of a successful, preservation-oriented son et lumiere is the goal and also the requirement in the future application of son et lumiere in China. An effective son et lumiere beneficial to the preservation of heritage sites is supposed to, on the premise of not touching the historical fabrics, through creating an immersive experience of heritage sites to attract the audience’s attention and successfully convey the historical and cultural information of the site to a broader audience, thereby establishing an interactive communication and relationship between people and heritage so that evoking the spectators’ enthusiasms to the historical sites. To achieve this goal and success, based on the current situation of son et lumiere in China, the content of the show is the priority that needs to be taken into more serious consideration for the better representation of the sites’ characteristics, values and attractions to the audiences and thereby benefiting the preservation of the sites.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Raynolds, William
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 24, 2019