Detective Note

Vol.007 – Long Pause


Lighting Designer

I imagine, when we look back twenty years from now, this period of time will appear as one long pause. Over the past 48 months, I have been in quarantine 10 times for 14 days each, adding up to 140 days — nearly 4 months of my life that have disappeared. Perhaps, though, it is not so much that those days have disappeared; rather, the pause simply occurred and can be examined positively, as a phenomenon.

Life leading up to this point had been very busy — so busy that I could sometimes hardly recall what I had just done or what I was doing. The pause, as a force, has slowed the pace so that I can more clearly see what I do and what the next step is.

Twenty four hours has often felt like a blink, a swiftly disappearing day… and yet in the long isolation of quarantine, twenty four hours seem like a vast expanse, an endless day during which one can watch time ebb and flow. As I add up these days, they resolve into a long stretch of quiet that has offered space to more fully appreciate where I have been, to reflect on the things that occurred and think about the people who were part of those experiences.

Before the outbreak, it would have been nearly impossible for me to remain at the same balcony or by the same window for an entire day, observing changes in sunlight from the earliest hours of dawn to the deepness of dusk. The subtle changes of natural light are a visceral reminder that time is passing through: each moment carries into the next. We can only “see” time if we slow down; time runs in parallel with us, invisible to us, when we’re in a hurry. Over the past two years, brought to a standstill for weeks at a time, my perception of time has been reunited more intimately with my observations of light.

On a long journey, to pause is to allow for a reset, a recalibration of vision —breathing space to reflect over inner landscapes, and to gaze at what lies ahead. This opportunity for reflection, set to a more peaceful mapping of time by light, has given me a chance to look forward more thoughtfully and deliberately. Light shows the movement of time; it can take a pause to see that clearly. As the world begins to accelerate once again, I find myself grateful for this prolonged pause in my experience, and more grateful for time itself.

Uno Lai
Lighting Designer

Uno’s works including Taipei 101, China-Airline’s global headquarter and Shanghai XinTianDi. Also often invited to international lighting festivals such as Taipei lighting festival 2015.