The Light of the World

by David Pinzer

“If you took out all of the empty space in our atoms, the entire human species (all 8 billion of us) would fit into the volume of a single sugar cube.”

ORBIS LUMEN shows a map of the Earth built from multiple layers of white industrial sugar cubes and illuminated by the complete sequence of all nuclear explosions from 1945 to the present day. ORBIS LUMEN stages the most extreme power released by mankind, which irrevocably changed the atmosphere and ignited the epoch of the atomsphere with its application and supposed mastery of atomic power. Using the cubes as three-dimensional pixels, ORBIS LUMEN emphasizes the intimate relationship between information, energy, resources and their resulting impact on society and nature.

Orbis Lumen - 3 min / version 2022

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Tech Rider 4

Luminale Frankfurt

In times of peace, sugar is being used as a food source and a potentially abundant regenerative source of energy (ethanol for machines). Energy may even become the primary product of sugar cane processing, rather than sugar itself. Nevertheless, in times of war, sugar is the first item to be rationed as a building block for making conventional explosives.

Ars Electronica, Linz/AT

Buckminster Fuller’s 1943 anthropocentric map anticipated a new planetary environment, showing that a Russian nuclear missile arriving over the North Pole could potentially reach the United States. A delicate detail that remains hidden on the widely used Mercator map.

“The most beautiful and horrifying Dymaxion map yet.”
David McConville, The Buckminster Fuller Institute

ORBIS LUMEN illustrates how the supposed “mastery” of nuclear power is really the reiteration of a profound error and the subsequent compounding of that error. We keep on making mistakes. Some of these errors are useful, some are terrifyingly destructive, and many are both. Welcome to the error, welcome to the atomsphere!



Cynetart, Hellerau, Germany

Luminale Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Noise Signal Silence, Schauspiel Köln, Germany

Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria

The Black Box, Muffatwerk, München, Germany

Pochen, Chemnitz, Germany with a special visit from Angela Dorothea Merkel, then chancellor of Germany

Oval Office, Schauspielhaus Bochum, Germany


created by
Michael Saup, Andrea Winter & Andreas Erhart

co-produced by
Trans-Media-Akademie Hellerau e.V.

selected by
Ulf Langheinrich

Shuichi Fukazawa
David McConville, The Buckminster Fuller Institute, USA

supported by
International Uranium Film Festival
Umweltbundesamt Dessau, Germany

special thanks
Endre Ketzel, Thomas Dumke & the team at cynetart Dresden

with the help of
die wellenmaschine, Li Alin, Nicole Pesant Méalin, Rosa-Lee Sendlinger, Nadine Bors, the openframeworks community, Knut Bressgott, Laura & Emily Winter, Karolina Funk

filmed by
Acci Baba, Michael Saup & Pit Schulz

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