Quiet sun (derived from the Latin sol, "Sun," and stitium, "stoppage," as the Sun resembles to stand still)[1] is a 16mm film, consisting of the recording of the passage from one day to another (a period of 24 hours), in the Faroe Island, during the solstice summer, in June, 2015.   The film covers the solstice length inward an hotel, from sunset to sunrise, even though several images reveal the constant presence of outwards light through doors and windows.

To make this film, I used a 16mm Bolex camera and a 11mm kern paillard lens, to better exploit the direct light printing in film.  The 16mm film reel used was a 50D vision3 kodak, colour negative film, recorded at 24fps, f.4.0.  These were the balanced parameters, defined while the sun was still above the horizon. These parameters were not adapted for different light conditions, i.e. during the “sun dip” below the horizon, as they should be if attempting to preserve a correct light equalization setup. That is, the light absorbance in the film without manual or automatic compensations, result in deliberated under-exposed images for most of its length. Thus, the film was grabbing subtle changes in environment light, depending uniquely on its own chemical process, without any other interferences during the solstice.

This film, further telecined to digital, is 2’00’’ duration, is publicly presented in loop, in order to flatten the chronological linearity to an endless movement.  


  I attempted to activate a disruption of my perceptions and conceptions of the world, throughout  not only a displacement of myself to an unknown territory, but also by challenging my habits of time passage, which are based on my living experience in latitudes where the day-to-night cycles, even during solstices, always occur within the visual (and affective) association of light-to-dark. Therefore, I decided to travel for the first time to extreme latitudes, electing the Faroe Islands. This happened, as mentioned before, during the summer solstice, June 21st 2015. Imperious questions led me to this experience: How may I, as an observer, purposely disrupt my perception , which is based on previous knowledge and experience? Is it possible to obliterate a habit of perception? If yes, how will I be able to recognize the observable differently? What happens to the observer that attempts to observe the observable that may exist as a non-observable? What if the non-observable relies only in the ideals, habits and theories of the observer? In addition, because this is a time-based experience, how can the observer know that the time setting is correct, i.e. that it allows to respectively see the observable/non-observable?

Description of the research process

     I decided to undergo into the presented questioning by travelling specifically to the Faroe Islands for two main reasons: the first is directly connected to its position in an extreme northern hemisphere. To experience a solstice in such geographical latitude on Earth, close to the northern Earth pole, allowed me to perceive for the first time the absence of night and thereof getting closer to my questioning.  By doing so, the aim of this journey was to challenge my inherent habit of time cycles which are based on my living experience of day-to-night (in opposition to this specific situation of day-to-day).

  The second reason addresses to the peculiar geopolitical position of the islands in relation to Continental Europe as peripherical (the same way it occurs with Azores Islands and further observed. See artefact 3.4), that is to say, outwards the edge of the main living centres, thus, in the limit of geopolitical activity. I see these outwards or edgy territories as triggers of the immanent potential and therefore open to opportunity (see chapter 2.3), as they lack the habit and social use of main urban sites. It is in the smoothness of these kind of territories (term I appropriate from Deleuze and Guattari to reflect the islands low-metricized qualities, derived from a lack of massive urbanistic architecture, isolated and surrounded by the ocean, giving the feeling of absence of marks, patterns and order), that most of my research is being experimented. Similar affections can be generated in sites like deserts, high mountains, oceans and other low urbanized places. They have in common the absence or low visual geometries and social recognizable signs or references, from which modern human orientation relies.

The only plan I defined in advance of undertaking this experiment, was to use analogue film. The main reason of such option is based in its more immediate response in receiving and printing light than it would happen if using digital devices.  Even though, I didn’t prepare any script or pre-production, neither had a certain idea if I would really use the camera or any other medium, during the process. The main question I had in mind was to test how me, as an observer (as a living entity) could change my perception from categorized knowledge or preconception of time. I could say that by choosing a possible medium, I was pre-arranging a set of strategies, but without attributing them instructions, the strategic tools instantly lose its motto and becomes purposely incomplete and dysfunctional. By not having a methodical plan, I could essay a new approach regarding my research – less objective than it is supposed to be - my lack of fixed goal, led me to research through the active-inertia, which I define by a torpid awareness similar to the feeling of searching for something that we have never seen before, just relying on some description made by others. This allowed me to continuously adapt and react without a preconceived structure.

The act of waiting for a lagging and erratic event, may be another strategy for purview . In this state of tedious prostration, we fail to be precise, neglecting our tasks, and unintentionally evoking the anti-metaphor (disrupting the ideals) , through torpor and derivation. It is this state of active-inertia that, without any premeditation on its own, becomes evident.

It was also during the research process, that a particular reference taken from the state-of-art, came to my mind, even though I knew this work since a long time, the urgency of mentioning it just arise in the moment I saw myself attempting a similar movement.  Bas Jan Ader ‘s 16mm film “Night Fall” is a 4’16’’ recorded performance consisting in the desire of the artist to synchronise his body with the day to night passage, thereof “falling” with the same speed, as the sun disappears below the horizon. He adds to his literal fall over, a cultural connotation with failure, a conceptual mark of most of his works.

Quiet Sun has several similarities with Bas Jan Ader approach, once it is also an attempt of attaining an indiscernible event, which by failing, becomes nevertheless, an embodied knowledge.  This latency and derivation are revealed in this artefact by the intention of acquiring the best as possible a solstice, a day-to-day passage, demanding physical effort, like staying awake for a 24 hours periods and an adaptation to light, confronting the habit of night. Failure or fallacy is also evoked in the way it is difficult to ascribe the actual night fall – the film viewer would not recognize the night scene, the same way I didn’t. However Quiet Sun is not only the recording of a particular experience - by being settled publicly as an installation, screened and in loop - it preserves the disruptive time - one might inquire where is the observable, as well as its time-based limits - the beginning and the end of an apparent movement.

  Therefore, Quiet Sun does not work as a hermetic documentation or image-based archive of theoretical reflections about the solstice, it activates other times by being an improvisation, filmed while engaging in the experiment and later rearranged as infinite loop, in order to preserve the feeling of disrupted times. Even though there was an anticipatory will of achieving this solstice phenomenon in this specific place, all aesthetic choices while using the film medium were drawn during the same temporality of the event itself. My conception of night as a dark period didn’t change suddenly. It is even impossible to determinate when the transformation in my habit occurred, or even if it occurred (my habit didn’t change, it just trembled by confusion). Reason why this film inscribes the utter process of doing this work, from the (un)preparation until its final transmission, the active-inertia that took me over to apprehend indiscernible and unknown occurrences.


Quiet Sun was produced during the second year of my PhD research and engages with the preliminary objections regarding, essentially, the setting up of a rite of passage, the non-event and how to define the strategies to recognize something new.

During the process of observation of what I would identify as a smooth event (displacing Deleuze and Guattari definition of smooth fields regarding unmeasurable and trembling territories[4], to the order of time) – by cause of being confronted with an unsettled situation, where the only possible action is to derive, moving in-between the precedent and the subsequent and amidst the idea and the manifest, inscribing, in the western conception of action, a new sense of torpor. This derivation, or torpor would be seen as a contradictory approach to the definition of awareness, however it is well applied when the awareness is related to a passage - as something that moves, constantly changing, requiring an embracement of the whole – the precise and the undefined - once there isn’t, by definition, a fixed or permanent stage.  

Taking this as an utterly approach, that goes from the perception of passage towards the sense of opportunity, I concluded that despite the fact I was challenging my knowledge and the processes of acquiring it throughout sleepiness and vague movements, I could produce a contingent artefact, in the way it results in accurate essence of a documentation. This artefact was not prepared, neither refined. It is in the absence of instructions, relying on the embodied affection and caring improvised decisions, verifying a particular awareness of a new experiment, as well as a sleepy and torpor sensation that, altogether, best reveal its efficacy. 

To apprehend through absences (e.g. absence of what becomes familiar by repetition – habit)  and other similar exercises allows for a placid abandonment of ideals. An ideal is formed in the basis of experience. Anything that disrupts experienced knowledge, will consequently bend the enclosure of an ideal.  Still, the means remain – materials we deem to recognize and stubbornly classify. This difficult process of approaching the unknowable by means of the unknown is referred in Abraham’s psychoanalysis as anasemic tools[5]. He introduces this concept to designate “the status of concepts which, tough deliberately disruptive of a unifying, conscious self, outline, the ultimate unconscious sense or source of disruption”[6].   I'd rather ascribe these means of perception the function of purview. During a visual approach, we metaphorically collide with an image, rebating its scale and distance and the successive variations thereof. That is, by observing effects through affection, the external view of the observer becomes somehow manifested in the body, haptic.   As the Indian philosopher Krishnamurti used to say, while discoursing about the state of enlightenment – in full awareness, the observer becomes the observed[7]. The opportunity also happens in that strain between the being position within-the-world. The mentioned torpor and active-inertia stand in this constant dispersion between the manifest and the image.

Indeed, while wandering inside the hotel, I had the sensation of a dystopic scenario, where every furniture is composed in order to sustain an event that could initiate anytime – open rooms, dressed tables, lights on.

The artificial light set majorly contributed for this sensation, resembling dysfunctional during this day-night cycle interruption. The aesthetics of this artificial illumination inwards this hotel, mostly fluorescent blue and green neon, is usually more common in night entertainment venues, such as bars, probably for its dreamy effects, as these colours are more associated with fiction than the real – white and yellow light colours resemble more with natural sunlight than bright fluorescent green, which first appeared during technological revolution, due to Hewitt’s discovery by passing an electric current through mercury vapor and incorporating a ballast, which resulted in the blue-green light[8].

  Strangely, this hotel used the same type of lights in every sector, including in the business meeting room and corridors, amplifying this ambience of techno imagery. One could easily feel a decalage or incoherence between the natural and artificial lighting.

  Shooting such scenario with analogue film also contributed for a trembling effect of the image, that is coherent with my conceptual aims – it functions with the afterimage and the apparent movement. What appears to be or what is about to come is not revealed. Indeed, there is an obvious stillness in every footage, which might suggest to the spectator the night time context in which these images were grabbed - the period of low human activity, the resting time – Quiet Sununfolds through different static images and slowly enunciates an undefined time, empty areas, empty chairs, dressed tables and presence lights, exalting the sensation of expectation, like a theatrical scenario without its actors, the aesthetical set for the opportunity that I am seeking for... The passage of that non-night, revealed total absence of any event, no major changes could be noticed for a period of 24 hours. What remained was the constant opportunity for its occurrence.

To film this absence of action, throughout empty spaces and obscured forms, was actually the only solution I found to grab some recognition of the passage of night. Thus, the film is a clear attempt to understand night by any other means than the habit of darkness.

Although the decisions taken about the medium, the chosen camera device, have an important role either in its aesthetics and conceptual concerns – the most crucial remark of this artefact resides in the exploration of the embodied knowledge  and in its attempt to reactivate it, not only by documenting it, but by displaying it without editing, enabling to transmit the solipsism deriving from it. Even though I am aware of the partiality of such transmission, due to the fact that an embodied experience always depends of the individuality of its operator, its looping display, aesthetics in form and format (trembling appearance) preserve its disruptive effects.   The spectator has access to the rough footage and to every decision took during the film making. Nonetheless, it is a recording of my torpid awareness. The making of this film is also a struggle to avoid sleep, my inner habit of sleeping by night. I couldn’t avoid falling into a mood between rest and awareness, that is, I couldn’t accomplish any intention to gaze with precision, to become efficient from the western point of view.

As seen, the preconception of night as the absence of sun, or at least the impossibility to observe it, caused by our position in relation to earth and its own rotation, is in tension along the film, [GS28]  while only slight changes in the intensity of daylight are perceived. It doesn’t attain the stage of the dark side – the obscure. Another way of experiencing the lack of obscurity, could be done by moving in the same speed at the earth rotation. Therefore, we could assert that it is in the displacement of the observer [GS29] , that other opportunities become possible.

Without the reposition of the observer, the disruption of preconceptions may not be achieved. That is to say, there is a movement too, a gesture or an action [9] [GS30] required, even if that utter process is done exclusively as a conceptual projection, [GS31] it is indeed an activity.

Even though, it is my individual expectancy, based on my cultural heritage and living experience, marked by a central-south European tradition (raised in France, living in Portugal) [GS32] that transforms the perception of this event into a non-event (as I dare to claim it, for contradicting my expectancies, my habit of events as self-revealing)[GS33] , an on-going phenomenon, in which I couldn’t define its beginning or ending, I am aware it is a sensorial fallacy – therefore a combination of what is real and what is illusion.  

The conclusions I take out of the practicing that occurred while producing this artefact, led me to better understand the different levels that may consist awareness.  The awareness of the presence through absences and vice-versa – I was able to observe, as I intended, what stands in the non- manifesting. I disrupted my habit and forced myself to adaptation. Through this artefact I intend to propel the importance of adaptation as a process that happens without time constrains. It was also revealing to me the importance in aesthetics of using adaptation in forms – to employ a shape that attains a different form, demands from this process a flexible matter – sort of stretching, loosening up conformism. The flexibility or adaptability of an image boundaries resonates with camouflage effects as a form that bends to fit another or assumes the lines of something external to it. This flexibility or malleability [10] is simultaneously revealed in concept and in the materialization of Quiet Sun through the non-rigid strategy applied, as exemplified above, as well as film was self-adapting to light conditions and scenes and objects showed up in that twinkling and unprecise ambient. This also propelled my research into deeper reflections regarding the several forms of knowledge (see chapter 2.2) and how it may be re-activated (see chapter 2.3).

   I may settle by referring that this artefact underlies similar knowledge than the one acquired through the observation of a green ray [GS36] – it is from the knowledge that remained from the green ray phenomenon qualities, like the continuous adaptation to an unknown environment, the eminency of an event as an open field for every possibility, the active-inertia implied in such observations, that allowed me to better transmit it throughout this practical work and therefore it is included in this research as one of the selected artefacts, that contributes to the whole of this research.

[1] solstice. (n.d.) Farlex Trivia Dictionary. (2011).

Retrieved on November 6th, 2018 from: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/solstice

[2] Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1987) A thousand plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia. University of Minnesota Press


Nightfall, Bas Jan Ader, 16mm, 4 min 16 sec.

[4] Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1987) A thousand plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia. University of Minnesota Press

[5] Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, The Shell and the Kernel. Chicago: The University Press of Chicago, 1994, p. 23.

[6] Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, The Shell and the Kernel. Chicago: The University Press of Chicago, 1994, p. 77

[7] J Krishnamurti. (August 2012) The Observer Is the Observed:  1945-1948: The Collected Works of J. Krishnamurti: Volume 4 (v. 4). Krishnamurti Foundation America

[8] Matt Helland (2015). The evolution of the light bulb.

Retrieved from: https://www.energyprofessionals.com/renewable-energy/evolution-of-the-lightbulb/

[9] Notes: Vitalism has always had two possible interpretations: that of an Idea that acts

but is not-that acts therefore only from the point of view of an external

cerebral knowledge (from Kant to Claude Bernard); or that of a force that is

but does not act-that is therefore a pure intentional Awareness (from Leibniz

to Ruyer). If the second interpretation seems to us to be imperative, it is

because the contraction that preserves is always in a state of detachment in

relation to action or even to movement and appears as a pure contemplation

without knowledge.

Deleuze and Guattari, (2005) Qu' est-ce-que Ia philosophie?. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, p. 201.

[10] Notes: As Heidegger terms flexibility “coming-into-the-nearness-of-distance.”, he then exemplifies with the sight of the sky: “Everything that shimmers and blooms in the sky and thus under the sky and thus on earth, everything that sounds and is fragrant, rises and comes – but also everything that goes and stumbles, moans and falls silent, pales and darkens”.

Heidegger. “…Poetically Man Dwells…”, in Petry, Language, Thinking, p. 225.

Notes: The sky as an open expanse with a flexible limit conforms to what Idhe describes as the Eastern as opposed to the early Western conception of the hravens: “In the early cosmologies of the West, the sky was the dome of the heavens and seen as solid, its color was the color of the dome. In the East, the sky is the open and color recedes infinitely within the openness”

Ihde, Don. (2012) Experimental Phenomenology.  State University of New York: Suny Press, p.92