Darkness has a lot of connotations, it’s usually the shadow, it’s usually the unconscious , this ‘un-ness’… When you go into a dark space it is the opposite, for me, it feels like a very pregnant void it’s not a void that’s bleak and absolute and empty. Because I’m in it, there’s all the relationships and all of the thoughts, so as a person you bring all of the richness of your own experience into it. My name is Sam Winston, I’m a visual artist and we put together an exhibition called Darkness
Visible at the Southbank Centre. I’d spent some time in the dark mainly
because I’m a visual artist and I was really interested in what kind of
landscapes were available to someone when you’re not given a view from the
outside. So I spent a week drawing in darkness. This proved to be a very
interesting experience. I then began to invite other creatives, predominantly
poets to spend time in darkness and explore
both the theme and the experience of darkness. What we’ve set up at the Southbank Centre is a space in which you can listen to the poet’s text and at the
same time have your own experience of darkness. There should be a poem to bless
the hands that cut, and salted a bag of limes, the hands that brought that bag aboard this boat, across a body of water we can touch, that cannot see. Beyond the novelty of being in the dark, the darkness is actually about the shift in
how you see the world. Myself and I think a lot of other people, navigate the world through the lens of sight, so shifting into this different space it felt quite radical, especially as an artist. I think the most interesting thing is the shifts between these different, I would say, realities. Are my eyes open, or closed. Everything small and intense like one mouthful and then one swallow.
Steps very fast and then gone. A door clicks shut. When you enter the dark room, I think you kind of have to quite quickly reframe the landscape you’re in, and you immediately move into touch, and then you immediately move into sound, and then you’re met with the poet’s voices. I would hope that people would see that actually darkness and this reduction of
stimulus, is actually incredibly creative. As in, it’s it’s an act of creation in itself.