As we have progressively lit the world we live in – light acknowledged for its revelatory power – we have been slowly, critically, erasing our knowledge of darkness and its unique power to guide us. Streetlights and light from parking lots, shopping centers, and stadiums are turning night into day, shifting the internal clocks of animals worldwide and throwing migrating birds off course.
COM/PASSUS is a 12:28 minute audio essay that invites listeners to "wander" in darkness through the investigations of scientists and writers, considering how we find our way in the world. The hybrid essay is culled from many sources, and amplified and enlarged by original writing woven within excerpted texts by writers as Diane Ackerman, and Barry Lopez, recent reports on the global loss of night in the news, scientific explorations into the impact of light pollution on nocturnal bird migration by Kyle Horton at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and efforts by others to understand the mechanisms by which birds navigate vast networks to travel their migratory journeys.
A compass helps give form to the unknown. We commonly use it as a tool for wayfinding, but the etymological roots of the word reveal another meaning, one that expresses walking together: with + step. This audio "walk" regards the brilliant misdirection of too much light and investigates our need for darkness, the infinite potential of the unknown, and alternate means to finding our way.
Created for S.T.E.P. Saunter, Trek, Escort, Parade, exhibition at the Queens Museum, NY