Let the night teach us what we are, and the day what we should be – Thomas Tryon

What can we learn from shifting our focus from day to night? What impact is 24/7 culture and working practices, having on our physical/mental wellbeing and on Nature?

The night-time has until recently, primarily been a space of rest and sanctuary from the pressures of the day. But, increasingly our day time activities and distractions creep into the darker hours. 1/3 adults check their phones in the middle of the night, haunted by the social and work based engagements that they seemingly cannot keep up with. The percentage rises to 50 in younger people. Is there a price to pay for giving away our last solitary recuperative space, or are we simply evolving to a new age where time and darkness are no longer barriers?

A recent exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam (Pure Resilience ) examines the ability of Nature to adapt to modern urban environments. Herons take advantage of the red lights at bridges for river traffic, to aid them in seeing and catching fish during the night. Urban Great Tits have adapted their call to a higher pitch to be heard above the noise of traffic. Swans and Coots recycle urban waste from building sites to construct sturdy nests. Non-native species of plant and trees even find a home, warming from the presence of Industrial buildings that run around the clock in order to feed our constant need for new products. For some birds and moths , however 24 hour lighting creates confusion and disturbs their natural rhythms. Our own natural rhythms are increasingly disrupted as many more of us work shift patterns or travel for work.

In the first stage of the project I will be ‘disturbing my own natural rhythms’ exploring the city at night and documenting the presence of 24 hour lighting and industry in the city of Rotterdam.

It is ironic to find myself starting a night based project whilst in residency at Charlois Aan Het Water, sharing my outpost with a crowd of chickens and Cockerels…

I will be updating regularly with thoughts, images and video as the project progresses.

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