There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

‘And still it is not yet enough to have memories. One must be able to forget them when they are many and one must have the great patience to wait until they come again. For it is not yet the memories themselves. Not till they have turned to blood within us, to glance and gesture, nameless and no longer to be distinguished from ourselves – not till then can it happen that in a most rare hour the first word of a verse arises in their midst and goes forth from them.’
- Rainer Maria Rilke, On Love and Other Difficulties

When an intimate relationship ends there is a loss and an inability to put words to the sensations felt and remembered. Yet, traces remain of what was experienced with that other person. These traces remind us that we do not give to each other lightly, that even once the physicality of the other person is gone, as time passes and their impression and memory fades, experiences of intimacy will endure and linger becoming embodied as memory.
By exploring the gestures of the body – writing, breathing, and touching, or what Diana Taylor calls the repertoire – the works in my thesis exhibition consider the body’s intrinsic link to language and sense experience as a route that might illuminate how intimacy is remembered, embodied and lingers as trace.
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out meditates on the ineffability of experience, of time and of intimacy. These works consider the endurance of the traces kept from an intimate relationship and the inability to completely extinguish those traces from the body and memory. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out affirms the body’s capacity to remember by evoking the repertoire of intimacy, and this work is about the affect that intimacy with another person can have on the body over time. This work is about the light that never goes out.
- Danielle Bleackley, 2010
*The title of this work, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, is a song title from the band The Smiths. My decision to appropriate this song title was not because of the song, its lyrics, or meaning, rather the fact that the phrase itself offered a poetic metaphor that alludes to the possibility that love and the sensations associated with intimacy might never be extinguished.