I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light.

Lord Byron: Darkness

Your story begins on a desolate beach in the Maghreb, the waves rolling in from the Atlantic ocean. You have been wandering around for a number of days without an apparent goal. You have ended up on this remote beach, simply because it is the end of the road of the peninsula where the land meets the sea. You don’t have a destination. Sinister forces of unseen gravity pulling you towards the remains of an ancient fortress, its foundation made almost three millennia ago by Carthaginians. You stand in front of the imposant ruin. You cannot decide what to do next. Convoluted thoughts of decay descend into a recondite place of solitude. Is there any way out of this impasse?
In a different setting; moonlight. A remote uninhabited island in the archipelago, merely a reef of twisted rock. Your thoughts lapsing into the dark void. You are looking for meaning in all the wrong places. Your mind gripped by the apophenia of trying to make sense of all the chaotic shapes and forms in front of you. Perhaps a clear presage of what is already there, but alas, you are blinded by the constant digressions of your own thoughts. Who is that man standing over there? Is it you or someone else?
You are avoiding the light. You are seeking out the shadows. This aptitude of yours leaves you bereft of any opportunity to avoid the inevitable obfuscation of your thoughts. As a result, you are surrounded by the darkness that you have created in your own mind. You are gripped by meaningless pareidolia as you try to interpret the nebulous visual stimulus you struggle to see. Inside the hollow tree there is an entire universe made of the deepest darkness and solitude.
Fragmented dreams are interfering with your perception as you leave the unseen path and embrace the surrounding void. Imaginary entities guide your progression as you descend aimlessly into the deepest realms of your untethered abilities. Where will this journey take you, where will it end? Miasms of unspeakable horror clasping relentlessly at your rampaging invocations. You are calling out in vain, the darkness has no answers.

When we dream, the soul lives, works, and exercises all its faculties,
neither more nor less than when awake; but more largely and obscurely,
yet not so much, neither, that the difference should be as great
as betwixt night and the meridian brightness of the sun,
but as betwixt night and shade; there she sleeps, here she slumbers;
but, whether more or less, 'tis still dark, and Cimmerian darkness.
We wake sleeping, and sleep waking.

Michel de Montaigne: Essays

What you are percieving is a subterfuge, a deliberate evasion. There’s a gate keeping you from the light. The gate: an invisible border that you are unable to transgress. The disillusioned state of your consciousness exacerbates the impossibility of your ambition, your reach. You are forever doomed to the lugubrious experience of your stagnant thoughts.
Futile attempts of reconciliation leave you stranded on the shore of a black lake in an inpenetrable deep forest. You lose yourself to the memory of an abandoned uncertainty. You no longer see the darkness. All is but fleeting shapes and shapeless shadows. What started out as hope slowly becomes debased into a cacophony of defeat, leaving only a glimpse of chaos at the dawn of what might be a new understanding.
You are surrounded by signs of decay. As you fall deeper into oblivion, you grasp at the elusive remnants of light. You are under the surface now. Is that a hint of blue sky? Reality: intangible, everything around you fades. Your last thoughts are impalpable. You slide down into an everlasting abyss. As shimmering remnants of light become distorted through the murky waters, you are left with a silent hymn to the darkness around you.

At once as far as angel’s ken he views
The dismal situation waste and wild,
A dungeon horrible, on all sides round
As one great furnace flamed, yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed:
Such place eternal justice had prepared
For those rebellious, here their prison ordained
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far removed from God and light of heaven
As from the center thrice to th’utmost pole.

John Milton: Paradise Lost


This artistic presentation is part of FOG218 Photographic Project
at Gothenburg University/HDK Valand during the summer of 2021.
The project is presented both as a webpage and as a printed book.

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