* Live reading (drawing/writing) of Drawing is Still Writing with Nyakallo Maleke Saturday 22 June 2024, 11:00 – 13:00 CET/CAT at the Johannesburg Art Gallery & Online. CLICK FOR MORE INFO 

Light Passes

︎ Printed copies available via post from Oriole Press (Berlin & Johannesburg) or at Hopscotch Reading Room (Berlin)︎

︎ An audio version of the publication, with spoken transcripts by each contributor and a downloadable pdf, is available on bandcamp HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ︎

Light Passes, initiated and gathered by Gretchen Blegen. Softcover, 95 pages. Edition of 40. Digitally printed in Berlin on an HP Indigo 7000 by AusDruck. Published by Oriole Press and Gretchen Blegen, 2023.

South Africa R500 (excl. shipping)*
Europe & UK €25 (excl. shipping)*

*To purchase email fmburger(at)gmail.com

Light Passes is an eclectic collection of texts, images and conversations surrounding light and its varied presences across artistic practice, choreography, land, power and memory. 

Light Passes was initiated and gathered by transdisciplinary artist Gretchen Blegen (Berlin), and began as a series of exchanges with artist and writer Bettina Malcomess. The publication expanded across 2022 with collaborative contributions by choreographer Zwoisy Mears-Clarke (Rösrath) and lighting designer Emese Csornai (Berlin), performing artist duo Ana Laura Lozza & Bárbara Hang (Berlin and Buenos Aires), artist and writer Bettina Malcomess (Johannesburg), print and radio journalists Kirbie Bennett and Jamie Wanzek (Durango). Light Passes was produced in collaboration with Oriole Press.

“The more I work with light in performance and dance, the more I associate light with something both ephemeral and contextual. Light is a synonym for perception, grounded in its own histories and relationalities. I feel light as a limitless vocabulary of possibilities that reaches well beyond the task of making things visible or creating an effect. It digs deep into psychosomatic body memories of place and experience, warmth and sensation


Through the leaves, through the window to the page. A shimmer of possibilities in seemingly impossible states. 144 years after the invention of the light bulb. A glitch in the social order after sundown. A remembrance of the circadian rhythm. Light as it passes through, as it flows”

—from Light Passes, Prologue, Gretchen Blegen 2023

“Ask the dust about stories held in the light. Ask the dust about whispers in the shadows. Ask the dust where stories go in that refracted light of a city transforming its identity  


for us, the light sparkles in bittersweet tones through archival documents and photographs of razed neighborhoods from the untold past. It sparkles in the voices of people who once called those places home”

—from Light and space as living history of a magic city, Kirbie Bennett and Jamie Wanzek, p44

“A sudden image of a ghostly figure moving slowly in the flames of my lens, in a room containing what looked like an ancient electrical transformer, all valves and thread-worn wires. Some fictional appearance escaping at the edge of the frame”

—from The Void, Bettina Malcomess, p58

“There are two phrases I repeat in all the press texts of non-visual dance pieces and the opening remarks of the performance evening: “completely dark” and “pitch-black”. To achieve that darkness is work. Only when finding that kind of darkness became a desire, did I start to notice the red LED in the fire alarm, the space in between doors and the wall where the hinges lie, the bending of light coming from street lamps through the window and up and around the theater curtain and other tiny cracks in the institutional walls. Sometimes that process of finding and covering those sources of light makes me feel as if the construction of functionality attempts to disown darkness from the language of light: the fire alarms upstage left and downstage right are working, their red LEDs are on; the breaker panel on the wall in the theater room near the tech booth shows electricity is flowing, its green LEDs are on; and when it is not flowing, the lights change to red.


So does that mean darkness is proposed as a space of dysfunctionality?

Is it a proposition of the impossibility of working without light, or rather without the possibility of sight?

What kind of limiter of imagination is that?”

—from Thoughts on non-visual dance performances by Zwoisy Mears-Clarke and Emese Csornai, p69

“Someone trying to read while the lights go on AND OFF
Eyes at work
Conversations on satellites
Things to touch in darkness
Eyes looking with lids shut
Someone always looking through the camera
Always old technology devices laying around
Five people in the forest at night
Four people on a sofa looking at a wall petting objects on their laps
Two fishes and several rats
Hands feeling eyeballs”

—from Fade into Rhythm by Ana Laura Lozza & Bárbara Hang, p81


Light Passes

Initiated and gathered by Gretchen Blegen

Contributions by Zwoisy Mears-Clarke and Emese Csornai, Ana Laura Lozza & Bárbara Hang, Bettina Malcomess, Kirbie Bennett and Jamie Wanzek

Publication designed by Francis Burger

95p, printed by AusDruck, Berlin, on HP Indigo 7000, with trimmed acetate and colour tissue paper inserts, two folded letters, and a hand written note.   

Additional editing by Mars Dietz, Zinzi Buchanan, Bettina Malcomess

Accessibility consultation by Quiplash

Post sound production and audio mastering by Lane Hots

Published by Oriole Press in collaboration with Gretchen Blegen



ISBN 978-0-7961-1727-4

Light Passes was made possible through the #TakeCare and #TakeHeart research grants from the Performing Arts Fund financed by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media within the framework of NEUSTART KULTUR and BACKBONE Berlin.

Audio publication and digital download at www.lightpasses.bandcamp.com