Black Sun

Black Sun, (18'03"), 2022. HD digital video, stereo digital audio

Black Sun is a project for De Kelder/222Lodge in Dordrecht (NL) using both moving image, sound & performance. It takes as both a fictitious and literal starting point Julia Kristeva’s adoption of Gérard de Nerval’s image of the ‘black sun’ from his poem El Desdichado as an embodiment of productive melancholy in her 1989 text of the same name.  El Desdichado (the disinherited) is the name adopted by Wilfred of Ivanhoe in Walter Scott's highly influentual1819 novel of the same name. The moving image material used was captured from my studio directly beside the Scott Monument in central Edinburgh, which includes a statue of El Desdichado. (Note: this is a work-in-progress and different versions will appear here at different times.)



Black Sun is funded by Creative Scotland 

El Desdichado


Gérard de Nerval (1808 -1855)



Je suis le Ténébreux, – le Veuf, – l’Inconsolé,

Le Prince d’Aquitaine à la Tour abolie :

Ma seule Etoile est morte, – et mon luth constellé

Porte le Soleil noir de la Mélancolie.


Dans la nuit du Tombeau, Toi qui m’as consolé,

Rends-moi le Pausilippe et la mer d’Italie,

La fleur qui plaisait tant à mon coeur désolé,

Et la treille où le Pampre à la Rose s’allie.


Suis-je Amour ou Phébus ?… Lusignan ou Biron ?

Mon front est rouge encor du baiser de la Reine ;

J’ai rêvé dans la Grotte où nage la sirène…


Et j’ai deux fois vainqueur traversé l’Achéron :

Modulant tour à tour sur la lyre d’Orphée

Les soupirs de la Sainte et les cris de la Fée.

I am Darkness, - the Widower, - the Disconsolate,

The Black Prince in a ruined tower:

My only star is dead and my decorated lute,

Bears the Black Sun of Melancholy.


In the darkness of the tomb, you, my consolation,

Return to me dead Posillipo and the Italian sea.

The flower that so pleased my broken heart, 

And the trellis where rose and vine combine.


Am I Eros or Apollo? Or Lusignan or Byron?

My brow still glows from the kiss of my Queen;

I have dreamt in the cave where the siren swims…


And twice I have - triumphant - crossed the Acheron:

As the lyre of Orpheus veers between

The sighs of the saint and the screams of the fae.


Trans. Andrew McNiven