Louise Beer is a founder member of artist collective Lumen, who are exhibiting in Scotland for the first time as part of this year’s Hebridean Dark Skies Festival.
The short live broadcast, A Memory of Darkness, comprises a sonic piece created using field recordings of birdsong from Louise’s recent experience at Hinewai Reserve, in her native Aotearoa New Zealand.
As the sun sets over the enormous volcanic landscape of Hinewai Reserve, the sky begins to reveal an infinite display of stars and planets, appearing like heavy lights against a pitch-black sky. As a result of light pollution, many of us across the globe have lost our night-time view of the Milky Way, which can have a philosophical impact on the way we see our ecosystems. When we can no longer look outwards and see our galaxy, we lose a sense of the scale of the emptiness, the expanse of the darkness, and by contrast, the sheer magnificence and fragility of our natural world.
Alone, looking outwards over the Pacific Ocean, as the warm breeze rustled the native trees nearby and the Rurus (Morepork owls) sang out into the night, Louise experienced overwhelming feelings of both wonderment and environmental grief in equal measure. The artist invites participants to collectively listen to this new sound piece and recall our own memory of the darkness, considering its significance.
The field recordings in this piece were made during Louise’s recent residency at The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora and the piece was developed during her UK Associateship at the Delfina Foundation.
Audience members are asked to wear an eye mask or scarf over their eyes, and to use headphones for the event.
Ticket holders will be sent a weblink for A Memory of Darkness in advance of the broadcast.
The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival will run from Friday 5 February to Thursday 18 February, and is led by An Lanntair in partnership with Calanais Visitor Centre, Stornoway Astronomical Society, Gallan Head Community Trust, and Lews Castle College UHI.
The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival is part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Outer Hebrides LEADER 2014-2020 programme. We also want to say a huge thank you to Caledonian MacBrayne for supporting this year’s festival.