Shine A Light
42nd ANNUAL NY VILLAGE HALLOWEEN PARADE. OCTOBER 31, 2015
A simple act lies at the heart of Halloween. In a dark place, a light is lit and passed on – then another. Lights are carried forth. Forboding yields to celebration.
Halloween allows us to confront the monsters that surround us. But more than any skeleton, spirit, or specter, what we fear is the dark itself, the indefinite ungraspable expanse we fill with our own projections. That is why Old World precursors to Halloween focused not on costumes but on the carrying of embers into the night. That is why 41 years ago, the Village Halloween Parade reclaimed New York’s dark and dangerous streets and remains a night parade today, reveling against a curtain of darkness to better see the light.
Goethe is said to have called out “More Light!” at the moment of his death. For the Enlightenment poet, as for philosophers from Plato to Einstein, to grasp the ineffable, transient nature of light was to reveal how we construct reality as a whole. Thus the humble act of turning on a light instantly reduces the unfathomable to the finite. A single candle offers a gesture of defiance against the sleep of reason and the monsters it produces.
For this year's Halloween Parade, we evoke the humble but potent act of shining a light. From the shadows of 6th Avenue a thousand prismatic shards will crystallize into luminous figures reaching over the barricades to place morsels of light into the hands of the crowd. As the parade passes, amidst a host of light-emitting forms both beatific and banal, it will leave behind a human constellation, exhorting each little light, as the gospel hymn says, to “Let it Shine”
Watch video footage of the Shine A Light rehearsal at PAW's studio in upstate NY.