Turning into the Night
05.18.2018, 7:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

image FOP 002018, from a LinkNYC station at Madison Avenue and 53rd Street

Greetings from the hinge of a month-long experiment — Turning into the Night. We are excited to be embarking into this project as of next Monday May 21st, 002018.

The project is motivated by our sense that now is the time to explore what happens when we attempt to hold the thought of, pay close attention to, and track Earth-magnitude change on local, daily-life scales. In ways related to our East is a Circle project, we wonder what creative, spiritual, cultural, and material consequences might result from living this awareness.

We have been inspired by the night walks of Clark Strand. He writes of his own experiments of living without artificial lights in his 2015 book, Waking up to the Dark:

“Waking up in the dark is a way of reaching around the Anthropocene to catch a glimpse of what might have existed before it — a time when it was still possible to recognize a human being as part of the landscape of the world, before it become what it is now: a dazzling figure against the ground of nature with such an overwhelming sense of its own destiny that the ground it sprang from is virtually invisible to it now. It is as if it had no backdrop, no context, and no home. As if it were a thing unto itself, glorious, self-determined, and alone.” 

For the next month, we will make every effort to live without artificial light from dusk until dawn. During daylight hours, we will reduce our time on screens (of all kinds). As evening approaches, we will live the transition into night and darkness. As much as possible, as night ends, we will be awake and paying attention to our planetary transition into day. The project will end on summer solstice, June 21st.

Even though we can’t control the degradation of our “photic habitat” by the excessive artificial light that floods streets and buildings in highly industrialized, densely populated areas, we plan to greatly reduce the presence of artificial light in our lives by simply leaving interior lights off, staying off phones/TVs/computers, and not riding in cars after dark. Though we might miss a few evening movies and dinner gatherings with friends, we hope to gain a singular chance to “[reach] around the Anthropocene to catch a glimpse of what might have existed before it,” and practice a way of inhabiting our lives and our planet that makes it possible to sense and appreciate the earth’s daily turns into and out of darkness.

During the month, we will relay signals from the project to this blog. At the end of the project, we’ll publish “field notes” from the experience. Eventually, we plan to make specific aesthetic responses to Turning into the Night.

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