I imagine that darkness first became threatening and therefore attractive during the time of the enlightenment. A few years ago in Berlin I crossed Monument Bridge once in Schoneberg at night on my bike and everything seemed dark. Only on the horizon could I see lights. There had been a blackout and I had found a candle in the cabinet and been amazed that the telephone still worked. I had to go outside, it was spring. What was most amazing about that night in Schoneberg: when it's really dark, objects don't throw a shadow. Cars weren't driving at that time of night and my bicycle light was broken.
Did darkness look different 200 years ago? The city became a monolith for me that night, emitting a threatening appeal. I would have liked to set myself out under this magnetism more often. I had read a book by Paul Theroux about a photographer in America whose most secret inner wish was incest with her brother and she comes home and finds him naked making love to her sister on the stairs. The shock of seeing her own wish for incest realized by her sister makes her blind. But then after a while she discovers that she can see during the split second when the shutter of her camera is open.
A few years later during the big eclipse I was standing with friends on a mountain in the Pyrenean. The animals stopped breathing for a second, half asleep, half awake, but it had not really become dark, just colder for one second perhaps. What was missing was only the constant warmth of the light.
Now I am thinking of the history of how my parents decorated the apartment: from when I was born in 1968 up until the early 80s, my parents lived in the so-called "old German" style. That is: heavy dark furniture, upon which little light falls through the non-transparent bordered blinds. Wanting to live this way seemed to have to do with postwar German restoration. As time went by, however, the light-sucking furniture was traded with reflective, eggshell white, or glittering gold pieces. Something must have happened during the 80s and 90s in the BRD to people like my parents. Occasionally I think it had something to do with pictures of apartments in films from California. But how and why darkness and it's connection with comfort was cut in favor of the sparkling and the shiny is still not quite clear to me.