Light in Darkness: Dark Room Trio

January 21 – April 30, 2011

For winter, we turned off the lights to present works using light as a primary medium. A literalization of the title of our earlier show Light, Seeking Light, this one took its title from the same Shakespearean speech (in Love’s Labours Lost). Our installation took inspiration from the Dark Fair, convened by the artist group Milwaukee International at the Swiss Institute, New York, in 2008. We wanted to realize their idea—to ban the use of lighting—without cheating, so we had to place works not just to their best advantage, but so works that did not themselves produce light could be seen in the glow of those that did. Incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes, lit and unlit, real and replicated, made one another visible in the darkened galleries of Western Bridge.

Light in Darkness also gave us the opportunity to invite Crispin Spaeth to re-imagine her 2006 dance work Dark Room. Three dancers were presented in a space lit only in the infrared spectrum. The dancers performed sightlessly while a small audience viewed the performance through night-vision scopes. Using this military technology, the audience was privileged with a view of the proceedings kept from the dancers, who were guided by hearing, touch, and memory.

The viewer scanned the performance space through the narrow field of vision of the scopes, finding the dancers as they move through the space, choosing which performer to focus on. The scope technology suggests various aggressive or illicit uses, themes that played out through the performance.

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