Before lighthouses populated the seaboard, the rugged coast laid hidden in the night: pitch black, screaming and invisible. Only stingy stars dropped meager clues. That’s how the coastline dwelt, unaltered for centuries. To sail in the dark, one would have had to sail like a storm petrel: on feeling and instinct.
Back out on the more or less empty, more or less brightly lit sidewalk, the moviegoer walks in silence, uncertainly heading for some café or other. A little dazed, wrapped up in himself, he’s sleepy – that’s what he’s thinking – but alert, just brought back to present tense.
Occasionally a bonfire could be lit on a hilltop – even guarded through the night, and give a feeble direction of shore to kinsmen on the roaring sea. Only eremites and monks were likely to build a fire on their own, out of faith and commitment.
Later on, the tipping lantern with wood and coal would halfheartedly give a glow until the wind or rain blew it out.
Drifting sideways through the streets, his body has become something soft, limp, and he is feeling a little disjointed, even irresponsible. In other words, obviously, he’s coming out of hypnosis. And hypnosis means only one thing to him: the most venerable of powers: healing.
And he thinks of music.
Ashore, wreckers stand humming and waiting with axe in hand. They are poor, hungry and defying the night. A treacherous fire is lit as a trap, as they listen and stare through the waves for a vessel to reap, for drifting goods to hide, in times when it was still possible to take naked fire for a guiding light.
Exit from within that opaque cube, one light: the film, the screen? Yes, of course. But also (especially?) visible and unperceived, that dancing cone which pierces the dark like a laser beam.
Come the 1800s, that magnificent, illuminated century, lighthouses were erected and lit in great numbers. Within 100 years, pharology and its practitioners claimed and gained respect and awe. They were the cathedral engineers of the modern age. Gas lit lanterns – intensively magnified through Fresnel lenses – with red, white and green sectors. Punching holes in the night.
The case of a specific cultural quest: How does he go in? Without knowing it. As a response to idleness. As if, even before he went in, the classic conditions of hypnosis were expressed: vacancy, want of occupation, lethargy. But even before he becomes a spectator – he dreams off.
The coasts are enlightened and the dark made traversable. A long glowing necklace stretches out between water and land. The lighthouse guides. The lantern projects into the night.
The darkness of the theater is preceded by the “twilight daydream”, which leads him from street to street, from poster to poster, finally burying him in a dim, anonymous, indifferent seat, in the space where that festival of affects known as film will be presented.
Title suggestion, in algebra, thus: (cinema = lighthouse + telephone)
About the exhibition:
TELEPHONE consists of a 9-meter lighthouse taking its basic geometric form and proportions from the lighthouse Høgsteinen Fyr (built 1857), located on the northwestern coast of Norway.
During the 128 opening hours of TELEPHONE the lighthouse will project a continuous and unnavigable film program onto the concrete wall, with the visitor as witness in the lantern room.
1857 is supported by Arts Council Norway