Cultural Reforesting

Darkness in Urban Spaces

<p>Winter Sun (installation detail) by Kim Coleman, with LYN Atelier Architects and James Bowthorpe. Photo by: Julia Fleming </p>

Winter Sun (installation detail) by Kim Coleman, with LYN Atelier Architects and James Bowthorpe. Photo by: Julia Fleming 

Darkness in Urban Spaces is an {on-going} research project by artists Kim Coleman and Harun Morrison. Their project explores human relationships and more-than-human relationships with ‘dark corridors’. Darkness in Urban Spaces is part of our Cultural Reforesting programme.    


About Darkness in Urban Spaces  

Choosing whether to light our parks and open spaces can be contentious. Many of Richmond’s green spaces are ‘dark corridors’ — left intentionally dark to avoid unnecessary artificial lighting that can disturb protected species like bats. However, for many people who use parks and green space to walk dogs, commute to and from work and for leisure, darkness can compromise their ability to use and enjoy the spaces. Councils also strive to ensure community safety. It’s currently not a requirement to protect ‘dark corridors’ in planning terms and much of the UK experiences excess light pollution, particularly in London.  


About Kim and Harun’s research  

The artists are running their Full Moon Club, a series of community walks at night where they lead creative exercises engaging with questions such as: What is visible in darkness, what can still be sensed? What can be imagined in the same space and how is this dependent on the level of darkness? How can local residents take ownership of their environment at night through group photography work? What forms of image-making can be produced at night that can’t be at another time? What are ours and others images of these spaces at night? These sessions address how people with different abilities, ages, genders, and interests experience ‘dark corridors’ at different times and seasons.  


Ecologist Connor Butler is also helping the artists map dark spots and corridors that non-human life prefers. What pertinent issues affect the site? What’s changing? What’s at risk? This part of the project considers which animals use the site at different points of the day – daytime, twilight, and night.  


Material from the conversations and creative exercises will be brought together in a self-published zine along with maps that layer the ecologically-required dark corridors and desire-corridors of light, and visualise where different needs intersect, where they are separate, and why.   


Find out more about Cultural Reforesting, our series of artist-led, multi-disciplinary projects that address the question: How do we renew our relationship with nature?