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Venturing into the Dark: Gloomy Multiplicities

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

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Abstract

In this substantive opening chapter, the underpinning argument of the book is presented, focusing upon how throughout history, especially post-enlightenment, perspectives on light and dark have been held in binary opposition across different cultural understandings, particularly in Western ideology. This longstanding view continues to influence contemporary views on darkness, despite the global onslaught of over-illumination and the malign social, health, environmental and aesthetic affects this continues to perpetrate. However, as we will argue, darkness is invariably situated and relational, and existing limited perspectives negate and ignore the far more subtle and important relationships that span histories, cultural practices, sensory experiences and creative engagements. In providing an overview of the history behind these existing attitudes toward darkness, this chapter will subsequently consider how and why we need to reconsider these reductive accounts by investigating how new perspectives or previously overlooked insights from different cultures and contexts have been recently explored and might be further advanced by scholars. In thereby reframing the concepts and meanings associated with darkness, we will establish a more holistic yet variegated account of our relationships with the dark. The chapter will then account for the interrelationships between the different sections of the book to consolidate an understanding of this emerging multi- and inter-disciplinary field across the arts, humanities and social sciences. In doing so, the introductory chapter will connect and contextualise the original and insightful work that can speak across disciplinary silos whilst retaining a focus on the creative, cultural, and social dimensions to darkness.