Striving for Light-Based Connections

Highlighting history—overt and hidden—via Mark Hines’ uphill beam.

Exhibit 203, NSCAD Academy Building, 5163 Duke street and Citadel Hill

A spotlight may bring particularly theatric or cinematic scenes to mind: Bright movie lights or a single beam illuminating a soloist on stage. Alternatively, a beacon can bring to mind images of distress: A bat signal, or a lighthouse.

Mark Hines' installation Striving for Light-Based Connections taps into all of these. A light will shine from the upper floor of NSCAD's historic Academy Building downtown and landing on the side of Citadel Hill, in an intentionally open-ended gesture.

By using this spotlight or beacon, with its ability to direct attention and its local connection to lighthouses and tourism, this work can be an opportunity to explore narratives of dominant and suppressed histories. Citadel Hill stands as a constant reminder of military presence (in the case of Citadel Hill, much like the lighthouse, it serves more of a ceremonial tourist role than a functional one), but it is also an historic site for gay cruising. It is both a shrine to a particular historical narrative and the stage for more suppressed histories—both of which can be understood as having a light shone on them in this work.

Both a spotlight and a beacon, this light landing on the Citadel acts as both a highlight and a call-out, a nod to the tourism industry or the film industry (and the consideration of how and why each industry received the support it does). But these connections, as tenuous as the light that bridges these two structures, must be made by the spectators themselves.

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