MJ Sharp / Duke University
Fulbright Scholar 2021/2022 at the University of Exeter, UK
Our Disappearing Darkness and Recreating True Night

Standing Stones of Callanish, Isle of Lewis, Scotland
Winter 2010
Ninety-nine percent of the population of the United States and Europe experience light-polluted skies to the point that well over half of them can no longer see the Milky Way.✧ Modern “darkness” is actually only dim. I’ve made large-format, long-exposure photographs for over a decade. University of Exeter Professor Kevin Gaston, who is developing “nighttime ecology” as its own scientific discipline, and I will be collaborating on immersive art installations that are scientifically rigorous simulations of night—from the ancient sites of Cornwall that are moon and star related to the uncanny experience of pure darkness that heightens all other senses. Dr. Felicity Gee, of English and Film, will bring theoretical frameworks of phenomenology generally and nocturnal landscapes specifically. Dr.Todd Boyette, Director of the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Jay Heinz, Director of Creative and Experiential Design at Morehead Planetarium, will be crucial collaborators in the U.S. throughout the project.


Falchi et al, The New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness