Darkness - the multidisciplinary conference

Country: Norway

City: Longyearbyen

Abstr. due: 30.06.2018

Dates: 13.01.19 — 17.01.19

Area Of Sciences: Geography; Arts; Cultural science;

Organizing comittee e-mail: anne.karhio@nuigalway.ie

Organizers: Island Dynamics

 

Darkness is a recurring motif: as chaos and void in mythological narratives; as an aesthetic choice or driver of adaptation in architecture and design; as a marker of hidden activity on the dark web; as a source of dread, beauty, or awe in literature and film; as an ambiguously attractive quality in dark tourism; as an ideal threatened by light pollution; as a symbol of otherness in colonial encounters.

Darkness and the impossibility of visual orientation often connote danger, uncertainty, malice, even moral ruin. Indeed, darkness plays so central a role in our understanding of terror that it is deemed worthy of note when a horror film succeeds in terrifying us in the daylight (The Wicker Man (1973), Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)). Both in the past and today, Western colonialism has addressed its own anxieties by projecting them onto the non-European “dark places of the earth,” as Conrad puts it in Heart of Darkness (1899).

Darkness can also be appealing. Tourists are drawn both to the illicit thrill of visiting sites of tragedy and violence and to the humbling majesty of the polar night. In a densely populated world, natural darkness is an increasingly rare experience, leading to the establishment of International Dark Sky Sanctuaries where the stars of the night sky remain visible.

Conference Web-Site: http://www.islanddynamics.org/darknessconference.html