Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Darkness falls

On 7-2-2011, the first day of his trial under Dutch anti-hate speech laws, Dutch politician Geert Wilders spoke about the freedom of speech and its enemies. It was an impressive piece of rhetoric, whatever you think of its contents. But I was very much distracted while listening to this speech. The following statement was repeated several times:
  • Throughout Europe the lights are going out.
  •     Or in different translations: 
  •     In the whole of Europe the lights are being extinguished.
  •     Darkness falls over Europe.
Geert Wilders was talking about the lights of Western freedom and civilization. But I kept thinking about a wonderful conceptual artwork by Jason Dodge called:
  •  Darkness Falls on Beroldingerstrasse 7, 79224 Umkirch (2006)
The artwork consists of a collection of light bulbs, candles, matches and anything that makes light. This collection has  been removed from a house in a German village and has been placed in the gallery. The house is left in darkness.

Ironically enough, Geert Wilders is poised against this kind of conceptual art. In his ideology this is an elitist "left wing pastime" and a waste of public money.

It is interesting that many websites speak of  "a house in a German forest". A look at Bing maps shows that the house is not situated in a forest at all:

These sites have mis-interpreted the statement "at the edge of the German Black Forest" which is something totally different. The Witte de With site (my favorite gallery in Rotterdam) has it almost right.


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