Notes from Illumine Residency IsabelRocamora + CamilaValenzuela, August 2003

  • neuro science: Francisco Varela and the perception of active space (movement that makes the space emerge and vice versa)
  • phenomenology: experiencing the moment clean of cultural preconceptions and expectations; simultaneously interest in the way preconceptions shape the experience unique to each person


  • Etymology: Middle English, from Old English lEoht; akin to Old High German lioht light, Latin luc-, lux light, lucEre to shine, Greek leukos white

Date: before 12th century

1 a : something that makes vision possible b : the sensation aroused by stimulation of the visual receptors c : an electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range including infrared, visible, ultraviolet, and X rays and traveling in a vacuum with a speed of about 186,281 miles (300,000 kilometers) per second; specifically : the part of this range that is visible to the human eye

What is light?

  • /lat/ noun 1 electromagnetic radiation that stimulates sight and makes things visible. 2 medium in which this is present, mental or spiritual illumination, bring or come to light reveal or be revealed
  • Newton

There is a problem with the verb 'is' - that limits the state of being as static rather than continuous, flowing, changing, oscillating )

  • how can we express phenomena such as light without the limitations of language (see E-prime language)?
  • why shouldn't something display particle and wave-like behaviour at the same or at different times?
  • a non-exclusive state of existence, a non duality (light can be both wave and particle)
  • when did we start describing light as a substance? Invention of photography? phosphorescent chemical reactions?


  • The low-temperature emission of light (as by a chemical or physiological process); also : light produced by luminescence
  • The emission of light that does not derive energy from the temperature of the emitting body, as in phosphorescence, fluorescence, and bioluminescence. Luminescence is caused by chemical, biochemical, or crystallographic changes, the motions of subatomic particles, or radiation-induced excitation of an atomic system.
  • Any emission of light not ascribable directly to incandescence, and therefore occurring at low temperatures, as in phosphorescence and fluorescence or other luminous radiation resulting from vital processes, chemical action, friction, solution, or the influence of light or of ultraviolet or cathode rays, etc.
  • The faculty or power of voluntarily producing light, as in the firefly and glowworm.

Luminiferous aether

  • A medium of great elasticity and extreme tenuity, supposed to pervade all space, the interior of solid bodies not excepted, and to be the medium of transmission of light and heat; hence often called luminiferous ether.

Until the eighteenth century, light was thought of purely as a wave, like sound. There were several problems associated with this theory, however, one of the foremost being the lack of medium in space. Waves require a medium through which to travel, and without such substance, the wave cannot exist - - this is why sound cannot travel through a vacuum. In space, however, there did not appear to be any medium that would allow light to travel, yet light obviously traveled through space to reach the Earth. In order to explain this, scientists visualized a material that existed everywhere and through which light could propagate. This material came to be called the 'luminiferous ether'. The wave theory was further promoted when, in 1803, a scientist named Thomas Young demonstrated the interference of light in the famous 'double slit experiment'. This experiment could only be explained by the wave-nature of light.


  • To give light to; illuminate
  • To illuminate; to light up; to adorn.
  • To provide or brighten with light.
  • To decorate or hang with lights.
  • To make understandable; clarify: ìCleverly made attacks can… serve to illuminate important differences between candidatesî (New Republic).
  • To enlighten intellectually or spiritually; enable to understand.
  • To endow with fame or splendor; celebrate.
  • To adorn (a page of a book, for example) with ornamental designs, miniatures, or lettering in brilliant colors or precious metals.
  • To expose to or reveal by radiation.
  • To become lighted; glow.
  • To provide intellectual or spiritual enlightenment and understanding: ìOnce you decide to titillate instead of illuminate, you're on a slippery slopeî (Bill Moyers).
  • To be exposed to or revealed by radiation.


  • extreme electromagentic discharge

“The bolt of lightning is a traditional symbol of sudden illumination and the destruction of ignorance; it also represents a punishment of humans by the gods from the skies, most commonly attributed to Zeus, king of the gods. In dreams, the lightning bolt is an image of sudden and terrible events and a symbol of intuition. Although it can carry negative connotation, lightning is also a form of divine message, honoring those chosen. Its shape allows phallic relations, and Jung sees lightning as liberating the soul.”


As the particles within a cloud (called hydrometeors) grow and interact, some become charged possibly through collisions. It is thought that the smaller particles tend to acquire positive charge, while the larger particles acquire more negative charge. These particles tend to separate under the influences of updrafts and gravity until the upper portion of the cloud acquires a net positive charge and the lower portion of the cloud becomes negatively charged. This separation of charge produces enormous electrical potential both within the cloud and between the cloud and ground. This can amount to millions of volts, and eventually the electrical resistance in the air breaks down and a flash begins. Lightning, then, is an electrical discharge between positive and negative regions of a thunderstorm.

A lightning flash is composed of a series of strokes with an average of about four. The length and duration of each lightning stroke vary, but typically average about 30 microseconds. (The average peak power per stroke is about 1012 watts.)


Sound is generated along the length of the lightning channel as the atmosphere is heated by the electrical discharge to the order of 20,000 degrees C (3 times the temperature of the surface of the sun). This compresses the surrounding clear air producing a shock wave, which then decays to an acoustic wave as it propagates away from the lightning channel.

Although the flash and resulting thunder occur at essentially the same time, light travels at 186,000 miles in a second, almost a million times the speed of sound. Sound travels at the relatively snail pace of one-fifth of a mile in the same time. Thus the flash, if not obscured by clouds, is seen before the thunder is heard. By counting the seconds between the flash and the thunder and dividing by 5, an estimate of the distance to the strike (in miles) can be made.

mediaeval concept of light

  • alchemists:

“ Alchemists often used light as a symbol of the spirit, therefore they were especially interested in light that seemed to be trapped in matter. This was also coupled with the idea of a “perpetual fire”.

There were some early ideas about the existence of “ever-burning” lights that were supposed to have been found in tombs or subterranean vaults - an example of this is found in the Rosicrucian Fama fraternitatis, 1614.

Alchemists also found in Nature certain glowing materials in animals or vegetable matter. It proved possible to extract the glow from glow worms tails. In the 17th century there was a great interest in luminous or phosphorescent substances, and this culminated in the discovery of the element phosphorus by Hennig Brandt in 1669. It appears that there were at least three phosphorescent substances given the name “phosphorus” in the 17th century. The first was the 'Bologna phosphorus' (actually a native ore found at Bologna), Balduin's 'Phosphorus hermeticus', and true elementary phosphorus.” From: Luminous substances in alchemy:

  • John Scotus Eriugena

“one God, one Goodness, one Light, diffused in all things so that they may exist fully, shining in all things so that all people may know and love his beauty, dominating all things so that they may flourish in the full perfection, and so that all may be one in Him. Thus the light of all lights comes from the Father.”

“The return to God proceeds in the inverse order through all the steps which marked the downward course, or process of things from God. The elements become light, light becomes life, life becomes sense, sense becomes reason, reason becomes intellect, intellect becomes ideas in Christ, the Word of God, and through Christ returns to the oneness of God from which all the processes of nature began.”

“God is light. Every creature stems from that initial, uncreated, creative light. Every creature receives and transmits the divine illumination according to its capacity, that is, according to its rank in the scale of beings, according to the level at which God's intentions situated it hierarchically. The universe, born of an irradiance, was a downward spilling burst of illuminosity, and the light emanating from the primal Being established every created being in it immutable place. But it united all beings, linking them with love, irrigating the entire world, establishing order and coherence within it. And because every object reflected light to a greater or lesser degree, the initial radiance brought forth from the depths of the shadow, by means of a continuous chain of reflections, a contrary movement, a movement of reflection back toward the source of its effulgence. In this way the luminous act of creation brought about of itself a gradual ascension leading backward, step by step, to the invisible and ineffable Being from which all proceeds. Everything returned to that Being by means of visible things which at the ascending levels of the hierarchy, reflected its light more and more brightly. Thus, through a scale of analogies and concordances the created led to the non-created. By elucidating them, one furthered one's knowledge of God. God was absolute light, existing more or less veiled within each creature, depending on how refractory that creature was to his illumination; but every creature in its own way unveiled it, for before anyone willing to observe it lovingly, each creature released the share of light it contained within it. This concept held the key to the new art - an art of light, clarity, and dazzling radiance. This was the art of France, and Suger's abbey church was its prototype.”(G. Duby, The Age of Cathedrals, 100)

  • light as origin (entities which hold a source of light)
  • reflection
  • diffusion
  • anti-light – casting shadows
  • direct manipulation of the eye, or even the visual cortex (experiments doen with (magnetically) stimulating a patch of skin on the back of the neck, in case of tissue damage on the visual cortex. The patient could see the image, not in great detail, but with some sense of depth. An interesting experience would be if the camera would not show what the eyes see in the front, but doing an experiment for implanting a 'third eye', that can see why the 'hairs on your neck stand up' - by allowing the person to see in front as well as in the back.
  • light as the cause or an effect (what effect it has on the environment, humans, animals..) - opens up the area of human response to light: emotive, chemical, associative * Luminance, measure of the light reflected from a surface. It depends on the amount of light falling on the surface or incident light and the reflecting properties of that surface.

Newton argued that white light is really a mixture of many different types of rays, that the different types of rays are refracted at slightly different angles, and that each different type of ray is responsible for producing a given spectral color.

1672. light consists in the motion of small particles, or corpuscles, rather than in the transmission of waves or pulses his corpuscular theory, which reigned until the wave theory was revived in the early 19th century.

'A Letter of Mr. Isaac Newton … containing his New Theory about Light and Colors': Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, published 1671/72

Whiteness is the usual colour of Light; for, Light is a confused aggregate of Rays indued with all sorts of Colors, as they are promiscuously darted from the various parts of luminous bodies

Instrument- Metaphor-Paradigm

“In a very dark Chamber, at a round hole, about one third Part of an Inch, broad, made in the shut of a window, I placed a glass prism, whereby the Beam of the Sun's Light, which came in at that Hole, might be refracted upwards toward the opposite wall of the chamber, and there form a coloured image of the Sun.” Newton's Opticks

Site from which vision can be conceived or represented.

The camera, or room, is the site within which an orderly projection of the world, of extended substance, is made available for inspection by the mind.

Between these two locations (a point and a plane) is an indeterminate extensive space in which an observer is ambiguously situated.

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the camera obscure was without question the most widely used model for explaining human vision, and for representing the relation of a perceiver and the position of a knowing subject to an external world

The structural and optical principles of the camera obscura coalesced into a dominant paradigm through which was described the status and possibilities of an observer.

For over two hundred years it subsisted as a philosophical metaphor, a model in the science of physical optics, and was also a technical apparatus used in a large range of cultural activities, an instrument of popular entertainment, of scientific inquiry, and of artistic practice.

Camera obscura defines the position of an interiorised observer to an exterior world, not just to a two dimensional representation, as is the case with perspective. The camera obscura single out as its most impressive feature its representation of movement.

What is crucial about the camera obscura is its relation of the observer to the undemarcated, undifferentiated expanse of the world outside, without sacrificing the vitality of its being

But the movement and temporality so evident in the camera obscura were always prior to the act of representation; movement and time could be seen and experienced, but never represented.

It necessarily defines an observer as isolated, enclosed, or autonomous within its dark confines. It impels a kind of askesis, or withdrawal from the world, in order to regulate and purify one's relation to the manifold contents of the now “exterior” world.

Newton's Opticks (1704) and Locke's Essay on Human Understanding (1690). What they jointly demonstrate is how the camera obscura was a model simultaneously for the observation of empirical phenomena and for reflective introspection and self-observation.

On one hand the observer is disjunct from the pure operation of the device and is there as a disembodied witness to a mechanical and transcendental re-presentation of the objectivity of the world. On the other hand, however, his or her presence in the camera implies a spatial and temporal simultaneity of human subjectivity and objective apparatus.

Thus the spectator is a more free-floating inhabitant of the darkness, a marginal supplementary presence independent of the machinery of representations

The camera obscura a priori prevents the observer from seeing his or her position as part of the representation. The body then is a problem the camera could never solve except by marginalizing it into a phantom in order to establish a space of reason.

“External and internal sensations are the only passages that I can find of knowledge to the understanding. These alone, as far as I can discover, are the windows by which light is let into this dark room. For, methinks, the understanding is not much unlike a closet wholly shut from light, with only some little opening left . . . to let in external visible resemblances, or some idea of things without; would the pictures coming into such a dark room but stay there and lie so orderly as to be found upon occasion it would very much resemble the understanding of a man. ”[ Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) Locke writes that sensations are conveyed “from without to their audience in the brain, the mind's presence room, as I may so call it.

“the conception of the human mind as an inner space in which both pains and clear and distinct ideas passed in review before an Inner Eye…. The novelty was the notion of a single inner space in which bodily and perceptual sensations …were objects of quasi-observation.” Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Fragments from The Camera Obscura and Its Subject by Jonathan Crary Source

Related links

Contemporary camera obscura building:

  • different degrees of blindness - different perception of the electromagnetic radiation that is light
  • plants see light as a nutritional direction (photosynthesis)
  • warm, central
  • colour
  • energy: big difference between artificial and natural light. artificial light is dead
  • light awakens
  • changes in light are fascinating (dawn and twilight are favorite parts of the day for many people)
  • strong light is a ruthless critic, it does not conceal imperfection
  • for mimesis to function, strong light and clearly defined borders are needed
  • bodies can be diffused by extreme (lack of) light
  • translucence and transparency, allow distortion of the perception of light
  • light has gradients
  • lack of light is necessary for light to be born
  • diffusion of light comprises light and darkness in one (integration of opposites)
  • “light is blinding me”
  • Borges repitiÛ en numerosas oportunidades que el mundo del ciego no es oscuro como la gente lo imagina, sino una ìneblina luminosaî
  • The world of the blind is not dark as the people usually imagine, rather is a “luminouse mist” Borges.

(for more information see Luminous Organism )

An organ emits light as luminescence bioluminescence is a chemical reaction, when electrons fall back down (after a jumping spree) light is released

Bioluminescence is the transformation of chemical energy into electromagnetic energy

Rudolf Steiner once described electricity as light in a sub-material state, and as light that destructs itself within matter, or again as disintegrating light

On the one hand, electromagnetic forces interact with the geomagnetic field that envelops the planet as a protective sheath, on the other one they interact with the interior of the earth that constantly emits particles with either a positive or a negative electrical charge, ions, and other related forces. There is an assumption of a rotating core of liquid iron in the interior of the earth that envelops the planet in a magnetic dipole field, similar to that of a bar magnet. The magnetosphere varies from month to month, depending on the moon cycles; it does not rotate but stands firm in space. Accordingly, every point on earth is exposed to a constantly changing magnetic field with unchanging magnetic declinations towards the two magnetic poles, while its daily variations control the biological rhythm. There is electrodynamic interaction between the surface of the earth and the ionosphere by way of micropulsations in the 10 Hz area. From:

Tesla: Lighting up the sky

Hold a fluorescent tube near a Tesla coil and it will light up in your hand. This is true of any tube or bulb with vacuum or rarefied gas. A more efficient way is to ground one end of the tube and put a length of wire as a sort of antenna on the other. Better yet, put a coil of wire that resonates with the secondary in series with the tube and ground and you have the optimal wireless power arrangement.

Tesla conducted many experiments with different arrangements like this, using on some occasions the widely available Edison filament incandescent, which lighted up more brilliantly than usual because of the effects of high frequencies on the bulbs rarefied interior. Inside his New York lab Tesla strung a wire connected to a tesla coil around the perimeter of the room. Wherever he needed light he hung a gas tube in the vicinity of this high frequency conductor.

Tesla had a bold fantasy whereby he would use the principle of rarefied gas luminescence to light up the sky at night. High frequency electric energy would be transmitted, perhaps by an ionizing beam of ultraviolet radiation, into the upper atmosphere, where gases are at relatively low pressure, so that this layer would behave like a luminous tube. Sky lighting, he said, would reduce the need for street lighting, and facilitate the movement of ocean going vessels. The aurora borealis is an electrical phenomenon that works on this principle, the effects of cosmic eruptions such as those from the sun being the source of electric stimulation.” from:

Andrew Tomas: Electricity in the Remote Past

“the incandescent light we are told is the brainchild of Thomas Edison may very well be an invention of Nikola Tesla, who clearly did invent the fluorescent light, sold to Edison as a work for hire. Understanding even modern occurrences requires an understanding of the social framework- in this case, that patent and copyright laws allow the purchaser of the rights to falsely misrepresent themselves as the creator of these “works for hire”. In other words, this inferior technology was sold to the greedy Edison to finance Tesla's experiments in superior technologies, purchased by Edison in part for the bragging rights, and probably much to Telsa's shock and horror, Edison actually was willing to make the absurd gesture of aggressively persuing the marketing of a technology that had been already made largely obsolete by its true inventor.”

“Traders who penetrated this small hamlet lost amid high mountains said they 'were terrified to see many moon suspended in the air and shining with great brightness all night long'. These artificial moons were huge stone balls mounted on pillars. After sunset they began to glow with a strange neonlike light, illuminating all the streets.”

“Lucian (A.D. 120-180), the Greek satirist, gave a detailed account of his travels. In Heirapolis, Syria, he saw a shining jewel in the forehead of the goddess Hera which brilliantly illuminated the whole temple at night. In the same locale the temple of Hadad or Jupiter in Baalbek was provided with another type of lighting- glowing stones.”

“Tales of similar shining stones come to us form the other side of the Pacific- South America. Barco Centenera, a memoirist of the conquistadors, wrote about their discovery of the city of Gran Moxo near the source of the Paraguay River in the Matto Grosso. In a work date 1601 he paints the picture of this island city and says: 'On the summit of a 7 [and] 3/4 meter pillar was a great moon which illuminated all the lake, dispelling darkness'.

Fifty years ago Colonel P. H. Fawcett was told by the natives of the Matto Grosso that mysterious cold lights had been seen by them in the lost cities of the jungles. Writing to the British author, Lewis Spence, he said: 'These people have a source of illumination which is strange to us- in fact, they are a remnant of a civilization which has gone and which has retained old knowledge'. Fawcett was in search of the ruins of that vanish civilization, and he made claim to having seen a lost city in the jungle. We can believe in Colonel Fawcett's sincerity because he sacrificed hi life in that expedition.”

* Blavatsky: “Sulphur Alum… sublime them into flowers… of which add crystalline Venetian borax (powdered)… upon these affuse high rectified spirit of wine and digest it, then abstract it and pour on fresh; repeat this so often till the sulphur melts like wax without any smoke, upon a hot plate of brass; this is for the pabulum, but the wick is to be prepared after this manner; gather the threads or thrums of the Lapis asbestos, to the thickness of your middle and the length of your little finger, then put them into a Venetian glass, and covering them over with the aforesaid depurated sulphur or aliment, set the glass in sand for the space of twenty-four hours, so hot that the sulfur may bubble all the while, The wick being thus besmeared and annointed, is to be put into a glass like a scallop-shell, in such manner that some part of it may lie above the mass of prepared sulphur; then setting this glass upon hot sand, you must melt the sulphur, so that it may lay hold of the wick, and when it is lighted, it will burn with a perpetual flame and you may set this lamp in any place where you please'

The other is as follows:

'R. Salis tosti…affuse over it strong wine vinegar, and abstract it to the consistency of oil; then put on ffesh vinegar and macerate and distill as before. Repeat this four times successively, then put into this vinegar vitr. Antimonii subtilis laevigat… set it on ashes in a close vessel for the space of six hours, to extract its tincture, decant the liquor, and put on fresh, and then extract it again; this repeat so often tilll you have got out all the redness. Coagulate your extractions to the consistency of oil, and then rectify them in Balneo Mariae (bain Marie). Then take the antimony, from which the tincture was extracted, and reduce it to a very fine meal, and so put it into a glass bolthead; pour upon it the rectified oil, which abstract and dry. This extract again with spirit of wine, so often, till all the essence be got out of it, which put into a Venice matrass, well luted with paper five-fold, and then distill it so that the spirit being drawn off, there may remain at the bottom an inconsumable oil, to be used with a wick after the same manner with the sulphur we have described before'

'These are the eternal lights of Tritenheimus', says Libavius, his commentator, 'which, indeed, though they do not agree with the pertinacy of naptha, yet these things can illustrate one another. Naphta is not so durable as not to be burned, for it exhales and deflagrates, but if it be fixed by adding the juice of the Lapis asbestinos it can afford perpetual fuel', says this learned person.

We may add that we have ourselves seen such a lamp so prepared, and we are told that since it was first lighted on May 2, 1871, it has not gone out. As we know the person who is making the experiments incapable to deceive any one being himself an ardent experiment in hermetic secrets, we have no reason to doubt his assertion.”

Palmer Hall: "Secret Teachings of All Ages"

“It is now believed that the wicks of these perpetual lamps were made of braided or woven asbestos, called by the alchemists salamander's wool, and that the fuel was one of the products of alchemical research.”


Light Moving in Time By W.C. Wees

Working in Light: Kenneth Anger

  • Lucifer is the angel of light, a sunbeam. For Anger: also the patron saint of movies, the light behind the lens. 'Lucifer is the light god, not the devil, that's a christian slander“.
  • mastering the manipulation of light's movement in time
  • Anger was aware of light's peculiarly powerful influence on perception and used it for what he called magickal effects…. moments of heightened perception
  • deep yearning to unite with the light, to swallow it, wear it, ride on it, or enter and become one with it.
  • movies: Fireworks and Rabbit's moon: light's potency and magnetic attraction
  • source of light in film represented by a magic lantern: ” The light is the object of desire, the source of all energy (the sun), its reflected principle (the moon) and its earthly manifestation (the magic lantern, the projector)
  • Light-spark or light-emanation is used by a number of Gnostic schools as a symbolic expression for the 'germ' of the spiritual man — mystical equation of the 'spermatic principle' and light-emanation
  • In water of consciousness are ignited at night by the libertarian matches of sleep, and burst forth in showers of shimmering incandescence. The imaginary displayc provide a temporary relief
  • Aleister Crowley: 'The magician becomes filled with god, fed upon god, intoxicated with god. Little by little his body will become purified by the internal lustration of god'
  • “First and most important is the experience of light. Everything seen by those who visit the mind's antipodes is brilliantly illuminated and seems to shine from within”
  • self-luminous objects: pearls, gemstones, gold, silver, crystal and glass - glowing with colour
  • Hindu stones: gay beds of blue lotus, golden petalled
  • Book of Ezekiel: “ Every precious stone was covering, the sardius, topaz and the diamond, the beryl, onyx and jasper, the sapphire, the emerald and the carbuncle, and gold. Thou has walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. ”
  • “ precious stones are precious because they bear faint resemblance to the glowing marvels seen in the inner eye of the visionary”
  • “Whatever in nature of in a work of art , resembles one of those intensely significant, inwardly glowing objects encountered at the mind's antipodes, is capable of inducing, if only partial and attenuated form, the visionary experience.”
  • “Polished metal and precious stones are so intrinsically transporting, that even a Victorian, Art Nuveau jewel is the thing of power. And when to this natural magic of glinting metal and self-luminous stone is added to other magic of noble forms and colours artfully bledned, we find ourselves in the presence of a genuine talisman”
  • Aldous Huxley: preternatural light: special luminosity of objects seen during a visionary experience: )
  • Anger: It is not enough to possess and contemplate the talismans of light. The must be consumed if their vision inducing power is to be realised.' His films should have comparable Eucharistic effects on the audience: “I wanted to create a feeling of being carried into a world of wonder. And the use of colour and phantasy is progressive: it expands, it becomes completely subjective - like when people take communion.
  • To don the dress is to enjoy a 'transporting' experience
  • the water-light metaphor (blue): shots with dissolves that carry one image into the next like water flowing over shiny stones
  • splendor: one of the standard Homeric epithets appropriate to water…” Fountains, pools, streams and falls glitter in the deep blue shadows of the garden and every stone (…) gleams as the splendid water glazes them with liquefied light
  • slow motion transforms thin sprays of water into streaks and beads of light that glitter like gems strung across the deep blue darkness It is a tripple transformation: from light-to water-to gems. From:

“Running 75 minutes, this landmark 1974 film by Stan Brakhage was his first long, fully abstract work. Photographing tiny areas of a crystal ashtray, Brakhage discovers metaphors for landscapes in the patterns of reflection and diffraction: rivers, volcanoes, and mountains are suggested by images so delicate they're worthy of J.M.W. Turner. The film is simultaneously a vision of the world's creation and an inner landscape of spatial and light effects organized almost as if light were music. The color of the print being screened is badly faded, introducing cloying candy-cane pinks where there were none, but like the faded version, the original was largely reddish brown, and much of its sense of space and rhythm survives. On the same program: Brakhage's four-minute Comingled Containers, a quietly poetic film of a stream that intercuts footage of its surface with more abstract imagery that suggests a view below. ” By Fred Camper

  • Blind Imagination (c.f Hildegard Von Bingen in Mystical Ecstasy : re: migranes)

Light in performance

  • Isabel/Camila: working with the concept of expansion, where the audience may experience internal expansion by sharing the space of performance
  • Human (co-present) communication is very much influences by the facial expression. What happens if the performers are seen from the back, their faces only slightly seen on monitors/ projection screens.


Breath can be compared with tides. It is at the same time a constant and an expansive force. Light can be a possibility to visualise the spaces within/without/in between breaths. Light can become the amplified expansion and contraction of movement. Light, in this case has a lifetime of a breath. Can its lifetime be stretched/degraded by changing the duration of the breath?

Breath Measuring

  • Stretch sensors - a measurement taken from the expansion and contraction of the thorax in the action of breathing
  • Microphone (piezo) - what data would that provide?
  • Airpressure sensor - made out of piezzo (the material microphones are made from) - would hypothetically measure an accurate gradient of exhale as well as inhale

Live primitive tests performed with a plastic tube (for blowing) on a thin piece of paper seem to suggest the possibility of this method giving us enough subtelty of measurement

The ebb and flow of tides is deeply resonant to humans. It seems like an echo of our breathing.

This is a nice conceptual link to the measuring of breath with an air pressure sensor.

Gravitational forces and space-time curvature.

Some consider space-time curvature to be the case where all the components of the Reimann tensor vanish. If this were your definition of curvature then I wouldn't refer to the gravitational field as curvature, I would then refer to gravitation as space-time geometry instead. I say this because there are space-times in which all the components of the Reimann tensor are zero and yet there is an acceleration or gravitational field present (such is the case for a uniform gravitational field). There are two different kinds of tidal forces, shearing and stressing. For example the oceans nearest to the moon are more attracted to the moon then the oceans far from it. This causes stressing (it pulls them apart). On the other hand the oceans on one side of the earth perpendicular to the direction of the moon are just as far from the moon as oceans on the other side, also perpendicular to the direction to the moon. Even though the acceleration due to gravity is just as great at both oceans the direction is slightly different. They each have a small component of acceleration toward each other. This causes shearing.

Newton's great insight of 1666 was to imagine that the Earth's gravity extended to the Moon, counterbalancing its centrifugal force. From his law of centrifugal force and Kepler's third law of planetary motion (see KEPLER, JOHANNES), Newton deduced that the centrifugal (and hence centripetal) force of the Moon or of any planet must decrease as the inverse square of its distance from the center of its motion. For example, if the distance is doubled, the force becomes one-fourth as much; if distance is trebled, the force becomes one-ninth as much.

Given the law of gravitation and the laws of motion, Newton could explain a wide range of hitherto disparate phenomena such as the eccentric orbits of comets, the causes of the tides (see TIDE) and their major variations, the precession of the Earth's axis, and the perturbation of the motion of the Moon by the gravity of the Sun.

Breath and Spine

Information storage. Spine is not a simple conductive highway, it is a possible storage of historic information (hidden genetic information, 'historic information from previous lives'. Can the degrees of information stored in the spine be released in a particular physical state? Does the information in the spine 'rot' in the moments of stress?

Fluidity of the spine. The spine seems to be ment to move in much more 'curvy' ways than humans use it (think of different animal species - ferrets in particular!)

The primitive element. The memory of us being other than humans. Is that information stored in the 'tail'?

The correlation between breath and spine - does the spine extend with inhaling? The connection between the thorasic vertebrae and the lungs - the spine in front of the body –> can we visualise this process as the spine opening up and allowing the light inside – or exposing the luminescent spinal fluid?

Spine is a visually beautiful part of the body, that we are not often aware of and can't easily visualise. Costumes can accentuate the spine by camouflaging the rest of the body, making it smooth everywhere except around the spinal cord, that reveals its modularity, spikines, as well as changing curvature, exposing the intricate erlationship between muscle and bone.

Five vertebral regions

7 Cervical (neck)

12 Thoracic (vertebrae with ribs)

5 Lumbar (lower back)

5 Sacral (all fused into one unit, articulate with pelvis)

2-3 coccygeal vertebrae (all fused into one unit)

A pair of spinal nerves (left & right) emerges from between successive vertebrae

Articular facets of thoracic vertebrae allow flexion, extension and rotational movements of the trunk

Collectively, the vertebrae from all five regions compose the vertebral column An intervertebral disc is found between each of the vertebral bodies (except for C1 & C2 and the fused sacrals) Differences in the shapes of the body and disc contribute to the normal vertebral curvature.

Spinal curves: cervical, thoracic, lumbar and pelvic.

The cervical and lumbar curves are not present in an infant. The cervical curves forms around the age of 3 months when an infant begins to hold its head up and the lumbar curve develops when a child begins to walk.

(does that mean that the thoracic curve is the only curve we are born with? ñ interesting, since it's linked to an organ: the lungs)

pics to look at Toracic vertebrae (lateral and anterior views) and spinal cord

Site references (description of spinal breakdown) (interesting and informative) site with 3d renditions of the column ñ a little explanation on the spinal cord, simple, short (A lesson in the vertebral column) (Fabioís illustrated and photographic spinal cord and attachments)

Inflating and Deflating

How to make spaces breathe? - inflatable spaces, costumes, structures By deflating or inflating structures in time, they can appear to grow or decay: the costumes on bodies can appear to have their own life, their own duration

Moment of suspension (in between inhaling and exhaling)

  • change in direction
  • flat line in a vibrant oscillation
  • how to make matter (textile, material) levitate together with an anti-gravity body

Linking breath to light: making the invisible, the 'taken for granted' breath a visible, tangible process.

Moment of illumination, enlightenment, ectasy

  • Ecstasy - extasis - stasis (stillness?)

The moment of esctasis ñ is a moment of stillness where the body is taken ñ overcome by a vision or a truth or a feeling greater than its usual state in consciousness. It is a physical moment, which usually provides a transcendence, it is a portal

El extasis de Santa Teresa - moment of luminous experience

ecstasy - 1382, “in a frenzy or stupor, fearful, excited,” from O.Fr. extasie, from L.L. extasis, from Gk. ekstasis “trance, distraction,” from existanai “displace,” also “drive out of one's mind” (existanai phrenon), from ek “out” + histanai “to place, cause to stand.” Used by 17c. mystical writers for “a state of rapture that stupefied the body while the soul contemplated divine things,” which probably helped the meaning shift to “exalted state of good feeling” (1620). Ecstatic “rapturously happy” is from 1664.

A state of emotion so intense that one is carried beyond rational thought and self-control.The trance, frenzy, or rapture associated with mystic or prophetic exaltation, terror, from Greek ekstasis ek (out of) stasis (stillness)

Stasis: A condition of balance among various forces; motionlessness Pathology. Stoppage of the normal flow of a body substance Greek: standstill

an anticipation of the beatific vision - the ultimate and eternal experience of being in the presence of God. Typically, there is a sudden, heightened inner consciousness of stillness and peace, and identification with God and all things.

A “quietness of the soul” or “dark night of the soul.”- St. John on the cross, Sta Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena.

The state of ecstasy seems timeless, although the usual experience lasts less than half of an hour. Some recorded instances supposedly lasted several days; the longest recorded instance lasted thirty-five years experienced by a Tyrolean woman, Marie von Moerl (1812-1868).

Ecstasy when taking on the form of rapture is frequently accompanied by a “carrying-away” sensation (related in its concrete form to levitation of the body).

The writings of St. John on the cross describe the soul's journey toward God, and detail the three stages of mystical union: purgation, illumination, and union. Detachment and suffering are presented as requirements for the purification and illumination of the soul.

Sta Teresa de Avila said ecstasy was like a “detachable death” and her soul became awake to God as never before when the faculties and senses are dead.


An irresistible spirit and vibrant intellect overcoming social, physical, cultural, gender barriers to achieve timeless transcendence.

Migraine: visual hallucinations may occur, such as the ones described as “scotomata” which often follow perceptions of phosphenes in the visual field. Scintillating scotomata are also associated with areas of total blindness in the visual field.

Hildegard believed in an invisible relationship between science and spirituality and this spirituality was recognized in art, music and poetry. Singing the words to a beautiful melody revealed the true meanings directtly to the soul through bodily vibrations.

Lessons and struggles of the soul. Her music appeared the same as Gregorian Chant with it's single melody line ñ yet was extremely different. Her compositions were extremely physical. This relationhship can be united with ther thoughts and experiments as a physical scientist. The performers of her music have been known to pass out during a performance of her music. She composed from a comfortable range to the outer limits of the voice. She was known to write a quiet, lyrical passage, followed by shocking loud outbursts and shouts. Hildegard exploited uses of parallelism, subtle effects of emphasis within text and music, melismatic melodies, syllabic phrases and recitation styles. Her melodies have been justified as vastly expansive.

Most of Hildegard's music was written for the Divine Office, a liturgical prayer which consisted of eight canonical hours. Four kinds of musical forms used in Liturgy:

Antiphon: this is her largest gourp of works. One-liner pieces made of freely composed text with melody sung before and after a psalm

Responsories: second largest. These are freely composed texts with music sung after a scripture lesson. Often alternate chants between solo and group responsees.Sequences: this music is sung during mass between the alleluia and gospel. Poemos full of imagery.

Unlike the romanesque curves of most plainchant melodies, her melodies are more angular. Often we hear rapid ascents in the melodies with a slow, falling decline. The heights of her songs are like spires of Gothic cathedrals shooting upwards into the sky.

  • during improvisation, un-normalised state of consciousness, physical exertion…
  • What state of mind reflects this moment - and how can it be induced in a room full of people watching a performance?
  • the correlation between light and levity
  • light as matter, matter as a wave, breath as matter
  • viscous light: swimming in a pool of bioluminescent organisms (dinoflagelati)

It would be interesting to explore the dialogue of external and internal light sources.

Lack of light = chaos, a primaeval soup

How do we absorb the light generated by the moment of illumination?

The difference between illumination theory (Christianity) and enlightenment (Buddhism):

  • illumination: the origin of light is outside the human being
  • enlightenment: the origin of light is inside the human being
  • natural light: symbiotic, a blend of elements causing a particular reaction

The mystic spiral: journey of the Soul (by Jill Purce)

The spiral: this symbol which is perpetually turning in on itself expanding and contracting, has an interchangeable centre and circumference, neither beginning nor end: a spherical vortex.

In nature: a stable form of flow created by the movement of air and water. (scientists call it the vortex ring)

The same vortical laws govern nature ñ the movements of water

Water is the pure, potential and unformed matrix from which all life takes its being. Consequently, the characteristics of its vortical flow , its ephemeral but changeless configurations, remain in all things as a testimony of their origin. It is from the involution of the unformed waters that the egg crystallizes by the turning in on itself of energy, of matter, or of consciousness: and al these are one and the same.

This order, reverberating down into the microscopic and subatomic levels, both structures and reflects our consciousness. Physicists say that matter actually consists in its own movement and organiszation. (jill purce)

  • wiggly glow-worms
  • electroluminescent tatoos
  • stelarc's third, speaking ear
  • Light Pollution, is pollution caused by the increasing use of urban, and now rural, outdoor lighting which has deemed many countries practically unsuitable for observations using astronomical telescopes. Good lights are not too bright, and do not blot out the sky; they save energy and give us back something like the dark skies that people enjoyed long ago.
  • Pickles - ref Characterisation of organic illumination systems: Experiments on pickles:

Related topics: GoTo0 Notes, Mysticism Buzzwords, Alchemical Notes, Light World Story, GoTo0 Story, Twilight Trance Story, …

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