Submission
Bronislava Orlická & Dominik Styk

Things meld in the dark


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Bronislava Orlická & Dominik Styk: Things meld in the dark 

When you close your eyes or step into absolute darkness, it still takes some time for the last traces of light in the retina to disappear. Then there is nothing. Flat, brooding darkness without color or shape. But after a few moments, the impenetrable black subtly stirs to life. At first as indistinct noise: a barely perceptible clutter of flickering dots that don’t come from the outside, but flash out from within the depths. Their fleeting shimmer fills a space without contours. Or does it create its own? Haphazard spots of light smearing into stains, bursting into lines and whirls. And from the amassing dark, things start to emerge – rounded corners, protracted objects, gangly limbs, a mouth… 

In the REM phase of sleep, during which you experience the deepest dreaming, your eyes reportedly move as if observing surrounding space – mental images carved from the dark, a plasticity freed of all the rules. Growing through stretched-out pillow threads, dissolving into a stickily sweet grasp – an inside with no outside. The liquid presence of toes stuck in gelatine. Slippery pictures congealed in a palpitating fog. The enfleshed proximity of a world behind the closed eyelids… They say this eye movement is most likely enabled by a temporary deactivation of part of thalamus which, in a wakeful state, prevents us from confusing imaginary perceptions with real ones. But many still look up into the night sky and see that famed face on the surface of the moon. Words inscribed in the cracks of burnt wood. Line drawings of creeping vines stretched across building walls, maps etched into frozen glass. Clear lines in a churning hodgepodge of fleeing phosphenes. Like the smile of tea leaves in a cup. Like scary eyes staring from the plate of spaghetti spat out by a neural network algorithm. Like too-long hands reaching out from the pliant, weighty mass of dreams… 

– Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon that causes people to see patterns in unspecific or indistinct visual stimuli, forming them into meaningful images with the help of fantasy. 

– „A phosphene is the phenomenon of seeing light without light entering the eye.“ 

– „Prisoner’s cinema is the phenomenon of a ‘light show’ of various colors that appear out of the darkness.“