• Longing for the light: darkness, dislocation and spaces of exile

      Hall, Mark; University of Derby (Universitätsverlag Winter (Mar 2012), 2012-09)
      There have been many studies of light and this paper acknowledges all of the scholarship that goes before, however, this is not a study of light but a study of how light defines perceived identity and how our relationship to it in turn defines our own sense of self. I shall be examining work from different areas of the arts, literature, photography and film to develop my argument, showing how writers and artists have located both the subject and the reader/viewer to exploit this dynamic. Light, as Foucault reminds us, became the most visible symbol of those that, during the Enlightenment, sought to banish darkened spaces and create a visible society. This led eventually to Bentham’s design for the Panopticon which became a model of “‘power through transparency’, [and] subjection through ‘illumination’” which, as Foucault points out, could serve as a template for other areas of society where visibility was a necessary adjunct to other forms of more physical control (the police or the army). Light itself, defines space, sets its visible limits, reveals, creates and, as I shall show, establishes identities. Where one positions oneself, in relation to the light, depends on a number of factors and determines the limits of inclusion into what we may term civilized society. This paper sets out to look at instances where both spatial and individual identity is established through the position in which the subject is placed in relation to the light and its source.