A Necessary Darkness

‘NEMO’ Science Museum, Oosterdok 2, Amsterdam
30 November 2017 - 21 January 2018 Dusk - 11pm daily

Commissioned by the Amsterdam Light Festival (in partnership with the Dutch Museum of Science). A Necessary Darkness  was a large scale, VR, video mapped projection on to the Renzo Piano designed ‘NEMO’ building

Contemporary satellite imagery of the world at night reveals a spreading blaze of illumination – the by-product of a 24-hour economy centred on production and consumption – which threatens to banish darkness altogether. What will it mean for future generations to grow up under skies where the stars are continuously obliterated by an orange glow and what of the effects on the body of continuous night time work? Traditionally beacons of safety and civilisation – rather than a beam of welcoming light – this ‘house of light made dark’ generates a sweep of uncanny blackness. Informed by ideas of the Anthropocene, a term used by scientists to refer to the increasing impact of human existence upon the planet’s eco systems, A Necessary Darkness suggests that, in an age of illumination, darkness may be more valuable than we know.

The Amsterdam Light Festival is an annual, international, event which draws audiences of over  850,000 people. In 2017-18 the theme of festival was Existentialism. A call for ideas drew 900 submissions from designers, architects and artists in 45 different countries, from which 35 artworks were selected.

Content creation Sam Wilkins, Documentation Marcus Koppen.