Written by Kaoru Mende
It has been 31 years since the start of the Lighting Detectives in August 1990. We have also been connected to members around the world since the announcement of the Transnational Lighting Detectives 21 years ago. It seems like just yesterday, but also such a long time ago. It wasn’t our initial intention to grow membership, but the number of membership cards issued has reached 1400 with 250 members from overseas. With this many members it is hard to remember everyone’s face, so I thought we needed something to create a sense of togetherness.
On the Lighting Detectives website, there are two columns I contribute to regularly, “Mende`s Lighting Detective Note” and “Coffee Break.” The Mende’s Detective Note is a collection of short essays about experiences with light and shadow from my point of view. As I reread some of these essays, good and bad writing is very obvious and I find it very interesting. Every so often, the point blank feelings and remarks in these essays are so very me. On the other hand, “Coffee Break” is written as a casual interaction over lunch between a staff member and I, the principal of the lighting design office, LPA. With a total of three offices in Tokyo, Singapore, and Hong Kong, staff has grown to about 60 members. Each individual is, of course, unique and many LPA staff members are very assertive and passionate. I really look forward to our conversations. The topic of our discussions are not limited to lighting, but include issues and principles of personal interest. This column has been criticized for subpar content, but I find it is a very useful tool to close the gap between the staff and I.
So, to supplement the sense of stagnation felt in these two columns as of late, we have created a third column to fill this role, “Monologue of a Lighting Detective.” The purpose is for Lighting Detectives from around the world to freely and bluntly express their voice, outcry, and confessions without the constraints of a selected theme or topic, but in their own unique way. So, that being said and this being the first time around, we have asked a few Transnational Lighting Detective members that are just itching to vent something to prepare a short contribution. The topic is “My Life during the Pandemic.” We fear a few bombs might be dropped in these first few manuscripts, but we are anxiously awaiting their arrival.
I have always asserted that Lighting Detective activities are not an inward practice in thinking, but it is an outward practice of placing oneself in the real world to experience and feel and, most importantly, engage in proactive discussion. So, as we are tormented by the pandemic, don’t give in to the dark corners of your inner self, but I challenge you to use the changes in our cities and people to sore and observe. May it be calming light or a dynamic expression of light, go out and look for experiences with light. We are really looking forward to your responses and proactive contributions to our new column “Monologue of a Lighting Detective”.