A Delicate Sight is a project initiated by the visual artist Sam Winston, known for his work of exploring language through writing and his acquaintances to drawing. In 2015, Sam Winston put himself through a month-long “darkness residency”, in order to question the effect of darkness and sensory reduction on his creative process. At the end of the residency, the artist sealed the works he had done in the dark, and subsequently tried to re-create with the help of sight what he thought he did during this period. After this experience and over the course of five years, Sam Winston invited other creatives to perform a darkness residency which could last from a few hours to one night.
This project is documented by a film, an exhibition to come, and a book. They put the works of Sam Winston in perspective with those of the authors Bernardine Evaristo and Max Porter, as well as the poets Raymond Antrobus and Don Paterson – who all accepted to be part of the experience. The book was designed by London-based studio A Practice for Everyday Life: from the start, the book shows the peculiar attention to sensation that comes with the darkness, with the title printed in reverse on the paper jacket, to be seen in transparency. The book will be launched at the Barbican for the exhibition opening, and the public will be invited to take part in the darkness experience, and to use the unwrapped book jacket as support for their creation. Some of the jackets will be drawn upon by Sam Winston himself, and distributed as gifts.
The beginning of the book is a plain gradient of black to white, announcing the texts written during the residency, a white that fades again after the final contribution. This fading is visible on the edges of the book. While reading, it gives the impression that the texts emerge from the darkness. This feeling of something barely apprehensible is supported by the use of Spectral from Production Type: even though this typeface was initially commissioned for screen reading, the lightness permitted by the media conveys a fragile aspect in the context of a printed book. Titles are set in Spectral Light and texts in Spectral Regular.