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Igniting imagination through darkness: discovering fear and fantasy through shadows, silence and the invisible.Darkness invites imagination. On the one hand, it creates intimacy. It has been observed by many artforms that we feel the need to close off our vision during intense emotional experiences, during dreaming, listening to music, or caressing our loved ones. Shadows can be seen to do this for us, as they dim vision and entice unconscious peripheral vision and tactile fantasy. On the other hand, darkness entices fear. A person, who is afraid of the dark, writes Finnish architect Palasmaa, has no factual reason to fear darkness as such; he is afraid of his own imagination. Darkness, or the lack of light, is also often accompanied by silence and has the ominous ability to render the visible invisible. To probe the experience of darkness, this paper will refer to the philosophical position of phenomenology. In this regard, darkness is seen as a phenomenon that is experienced through our bodily senses. The phenomenology of darkness will be investigated be making reference to the way we project ourselves onto architectural spaces, also known as ‘mimesis of the body’. Furthermore, it will be investigated how our perceptions, memories and imaginings of past experiences influence such projections. This paper hopes to show how the relation between imagination, our mental faculty that forms images of external concepts not present to the senses, and darkness, can be understood by interpreting spatial narratives of architectural interiors. A selection of evocative interiors will be interpreted in terms of three factors that contribute to the phenomenology of darkness: shadows, silence, and the invisible. By doing so, this paper hopes to indicate how darkness has strong existential expressions that can be incorporated into spatial narratives in architectural interiors.
Strange AffiliationIn considering a poetry of silence, this chapter asks how might poets empathise, or identify with the disenfranchised? How might they employ the technique of personae, or mask voice, to explore that identification, or give voice to the silenced? In Joseph Conrad’s story, ‘The Secret Sharer’ (1910), a sea captain feels a powerful affinity with a fugitive, often referring to him as his ‘double’ or ‘second self’. To what extent can poets also be ‘secret sharers’? How might this practice go beyond the limitations of conventional identity politics? In giving voice to the silenced, how can a poet avoid exploiting or misrepresenting their subject? Through empathy and identification with disenfranchised groups or individuals, can poets cross boundaries of gender, race or socio-economic grouping? An exploration of this perspective on the role and function of poetry expands on key aspects of process, poetics and technique as active challenges to repressive silence, to furnish a means of articulating what might otherwise remain unvoiced. This reveals how practical engagement with a particular writerly dilemma – the imperative to speak as if on behalf of another – reveals something deeper about the nature of poetry.