A vanishingly small percentage of our evolutionary time as human beings has been spent in artificial light. For a large percentage of the world’s population, the experience of night is quickly becoming a boutique and privileged one. When we are robbed of night—from seeing the night sky that fueled the world’s mythologies to experiencing our own creaturely human adaptation to the dark— what are we missing? Photographer MJ Sharp was on a 2021/2022 Fulbright Scholar Award to collaborate with Professor Kevin Gaston at the Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn to try to answer that question and continues to explore ways to evoke the experience of prehistoric night.
Carn Gluze Barrow, Cornwall, UK 2022 MJ Sharp
Cornwall is remarkable both for its concentration of prehistoric sites and for its dark skies. Archeological evidence from some prehistoric megaliths suggests that people were visiting these sites in liminal light or at night. Can an artistic simulation of the experience of being at these sites at night help us better understand what we’re missing when we live our lives awash in light pollution?