© AM contemporary, Elsässerstrasse 248, CH-4056 Basel

GREAT LIGHT, 1991 

 

When The Edge made their new action titled “Great Light” at the Central Train Station in Plovdiv we were once again confronted with a political statement in a synthesized form. It was to be understood strictly within the political turmoil in the country and the city in the days of the previous as well as the upcoming elections. The action took place throughout the day of December 13th 1991 when the chaos of the pre-election campaign, the propaganda and street rallies was accompanied by the pre-Christmas agitation. The intervention of the group within the public space was simple and barely noticeable – on one of the walls in the waiting room of the station there was a modestly positioned small electronic display, which was constantly running the Jewish proverb: “Each one of us – a small flame, all together – a great light”.    

The documentary video shows the almost identical reactions of the hurried passers-by who would stop for an instant in front of the anonymous display, would look around and would merge back into the stream of thoughts and people taking away mute bewilderment, interpretation or the very phrase stuck in their minds. Naturally, this “great light” would have had another meaning in a place and at a time different for the chosen ones. Here is once again the deep connection with the symbolic status of the location – the station as a metaphor for road and transformation. Unlike the Black Happening, which restricted the audience to those visiting the Christian temples, the choice of location this time was determined by its accessibility and openness towards a wide range of social, religious and political sections of the population. In this sense the Great Light was a gesture of acknowledgement for the promise contained in the power of the people, of the demos in its widest definition.