lunes, 11 de julio de 2011

Night walking: darkness and sensory perception in a night-time landscape installation

http://cgj.sagepub.com/content/18/3/315.short

Human sensory orders are recalibrated when faced with the reduced illumination levels of the night; it is harder to judge depth and distance, details are obscured, colours muted, and one is obliged to compensate for this loss of visual acuity by drawing on the other senses. Darkness also forces one to question how one’s body is in relation to that which surrounds, challenging one’s human sense of bodily presence and boundary. Focusing on The Storr: Unfolding Landscape, a temporary night-time installation by the environmental arts charity NVA (Nacionale Vite Activa) on the Isle of Skye in 2005, this article draws together contemporary art theory on installation art and recent post-phenomenological work in geography to explore the ways in which individuals experience the nocturnal landscape. In so doing, the article highlights the close connections between these two bodies of work and how they might be usefully employed to advance traditional geographical understandings of landscape in art. At the same time, however, it raises both an empirical concern and a methodological question. First, regarding the uncritical way in which visibility is incorporated into many post-phenomenological accounts of landscape. Second, regarding the validity of focusing on isolated narratives in instances such as this when so much of what the individuals experienced was caused by, or shared with, others.

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