As of 2015 the light bulb as we know it, also called the Edison bulb, will no longer be produced in North America. While this marks an advance in environmental responsibility, it also marks the death of a technology that changed the world.
The light bulb ushered in a new era with an impact was so great that it came to symbolize a bright idea. As this technology fades into the past, The Light is an epitaph that invites contemplation of change, hope, passage and death.
“Rage, rage against the dying of the light” is a line from a poem by Dylan Thomas titled “Do not go gentle into that good night”. The poem was written by Thomas in 1952 to examine the death of his father. A year later he himself would be dead, at the age of 39, from his own hard living tendencies.
The Light is currently on display at Jubilee Plaza in Fort McMurray Alberta until all 360 tungsten bulbs die near the end of 2015. The lights will twinkle out at staggered rates, some holding on longer and some snuffed out early. The work invites contemplation of the inevitability of the viewer’s mortality. To resist change is as futile as the fight against death. On the contrary, lights represent hope and ideas, allowing viewers to bring layered meaning into their contemplation of the work. Because the piece is time based, it is likely be different each time it is experienced.
McMurray Musings features a very thoughtful blog post about igNIGHT and my work The Light.