By Lynn Bui, James Boyko, Kathryn Connelly, Athena, Courtney and Melissa
In which six philosophy students go in search of concrete and impassioned stories about “the dark forest,” a concept at the heart of Jessica Abel’s exploration of audio creation. This audio essay contains a series of carefully framed and edited interviews, each of which dramatize the affective, aesthetic and existential dimensions of creative practices. What we learn from these first-person stories is that each person’s encounter with the anxiety of bringing something new into the world is utterly singular, and yet at the same time we can tap into a shared understanding about the very nature of “action” –or that essentially existential project of translating the intangible into the tangible.
One of the creators, Courtney, draws out the existential lessons of this project in this way, referring to a phrase of Hannah Arendt’s: “The dark forest is real. Although this is not seen physically, it has a certain ‘stubborn thereness.’ It is there, where we can feel it, where we can experience it: it is part of life, as life itself is a process of self-creation.” In order to live together with one’s self, as Arendt puts it, a person must find himself or herself through the dark forest: “the place you have to go to hear the next version of yourself” (Jessica Abel, Out on the Wire, p143).
Shout out to Ari for letting us use her story regarding a Dark Forest. And special thanks to Riograce for providing us with her story concerning an experience with the Dark Forest, to Devon Covert for his time and the use of his voice, to Pola for sharing her very heartfelt and personal experience of the Dark Forest, and to Katelyn for sharing her experience about her Dark Forest. Group members also thank and acknowledge each other for their work on this project: “We did it guys!”
References and attributions
Jessica Abel, Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio. Broadway Books, 2015.
Jessica Abel, Out on the Wire podcast, especially episode 7, “The Dark Forest”
“I believe in your victory (This will destroy you remix),” by Chriskosty (Soundcloud); licence CC BY 3.0
“Left is Right,” by Steven Ondas (Soundcloud)
For further encounters with Dark Forests
Devon Convert’s review site, Read Into It: Reviews that delve deeply into the mythos of movies
Listen to Student Project Download Transcript