Nostalgia for the Light
Documentary film ‘Nostalgia for the Light’ has just been released in the UK. Chilean Filmmaker Patricio Guzmán explores the similarities between astronomy in the Atacama desert and its painful history. The Pinochet regime buried their political opponents into the desert, which literary is the driest place on earth. Even now sisters and widows are still searching in the desert for their loved ones. The way Guzmán draws this parallel is fascinating.
At Roosbros we do post a lot of beautiful astronomy pictures, with an underlaying message to keep the skies dark. There’re lots of traditional lighting design reasons for it. But why do we exactly need dark skies? Or why do we need to see the milky way at night? One of the answers to this question is given in the Guzmán documentary.
Seeing the stars gives us a place in the cosmos. Astronomers are looking backwards in time and do see the history of the universe and there for the history of our origin. In that aspect astronomy is similar to history. This parallel is beautifully shown in the film. The sad women keep on searching to vast desert to find their loved ones. They know that they will never find them, but the endless search gives them hope. Astronomy is endless search to find the origin of the universe. Both looking into history. History defines who we are as a society. So maybe by looking up into the night sky we see a glimpse of this search for our definition. But for sure we can think about the people who do search, whatever it is for galaxies or a passed away loved one. For me that is a good enough and interesting reason to keep our lighting designs low and the skies dark.