Dark Skies Residency

Robbie Coleman and Jo Hodges were appointed Artists in Residence for the Galloway Forest Dark Skies Park and The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere in 2012. 

A series of experimental works were presented between 28th September and 7th October  2012 alongside other Dark Sky events being run as part of the Wigtown Book Festival. See archive page. They presented additional new work at the Biosphere Day at the Catstrand, New Galloway on 15th Nov 2012.  

They collaborated with music producer Frenchbloke on a 24 hour radio broadcast of previously unheard sound, broadcast during August 2012 and developed the concept to present The Dark Outside FM 2013  as part of the Environmental Arts Festival Scotland. In 2014 The Dark Outside FM became a core feature of a larger event, Sanctuary which explored unseen and in-between spaces. Sanctuary 2014 Images In 2015 the event expanded to include artists commisisons and an extended range of events, talks and explorations of landscape, place and technology. See www.sanctuarylab.org

The Dark Skies Park Residency was originally developed by Wide Open with funding secured from Creative Scotland.

The Dark

Humans are not by nature nocturnal – throughout our history the dark has contained threats, real and imagined and as the planet turns and the year creeps forward, night gains in power as daylight shortens and becomes weaker.  Time to work, plant and hunt is curtailed, temperature drops, and shelter becomes more important.

These issues remain, even though we have created a bright new world, where night is kept at bay with 24-hour electric light.  Our deepest instincts are still touched and our subconscious bookended by a fear of the dark and a feeling of ease and security in the light or at the hearth fire. Many of the stories we still tell ourselves use the darkness as a symbol of unknown threat or place of danger, and the daylight as a place of safety, hope and deliverance.  Our deepest sense of ourselves, our sense of hope and future, seem bordered by Night and its meanings. 

Despite the dangers of the dark, night time itself is necessary for our rest, regeneration and dreaming and we have always found ways to connect with the night sky. It is our one glimpse of the rest of the Universe. Stars were the means by which we orientated and navigated and historically many cultures based their mythologies upon the night sky and the night . 

Contemporary society sees millions of people living in cities with a manufactured environment, 24 hour lighting and a correspondingly manufactured sense of time. In this context, most of the connection to the night, our natural heritage and the cosmos is lost. With the introduction of maps and then GPS, we look down, not up to find our way, and in doing so we ask ; have we lost the sense of ourselves within the universe?