On 20th September, Bookstore participant Paloma Polo will present her work.
Video, 13’, loop
The piece consists of a number of dialogues between two characters: Lumen (the source of light) and his interrogator, Quaerens (the seeker of knowledge). The central conceit is that of Lumen‘s travel through space and the universe. Things are seen because they reflect the light shed on them, and that light is in turn projected away as a straight light traveling in time, being lost in the immensity of the universe.
From this viewpoint the spirit traveler looks back at the earth and sees past events projected, as though on a beam of light into space. Depending on the velocity of the traveler, the earth’s history can be observed at different speeds and for different periods of time. Lumen describes his observation of earth, and his experience of watching events unfold before him. Both characters argue around their questioning and control over those visions. The conversation between them takes place in the broadcasting set of the Dutch national news channel (studios
of the NOS TV).
The script for the film is based on a book (LUMEN) published in 1872 and written by the French astronomer Camille Flammarion, founder of the French Astronomical Society. He became a relevant figure in the growth of amateur and popular astronomy in the period.
Flammarion identified a profound conceptual link between the images produced by the beam of the projector and the spectacles of the heavens, anticipating, in this way, the consequent developments of photographic and film techniques. Science in the XIX century drove its attention away from geometrical optical laws and the mechanical transition of light and centered its attention on the physical dimensions of human sight.
The term “Lumen”, in medieval times, was understood as a divine radiation, then, as natural illumination, was replaced by the term “Lux”, the light perceived by the specific viewer.
In fact, the development of the theory of luminous waves by Fresnel during the XIX century undermined the rectilinear notion of the “lumen”. This notion also refers to a thinking based
on absolute terms, linear construction and the sole angle of vision (as ironically expressed in the text).