Hotel of Eternal Light

Karolina Spolniewski

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Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light

PREORDER!
End of preorder: June 23, 2024
Planned book launch: July 2024

We associate light with hope, redemption and salvation. For us, light is an announcement of something new and good. But what if it had a completely opposite meaning? If it were to be used to deprive us of any hope, would it serve to subordinate one person to another, to take over one’s thoughts, to permanent surveillance?

Hotel of Eternal Light is a visual investigation of dictatorships and totalitarian systems in the recent history of Europe. Using an example of the abuse of power by the Stasi, the secret political police of the former communist German Democratic Republic, the book focuses on the use of light as a form of control, torture and communication code.

Photos for the book were taken in the former secret Stasi prison in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen. Not knowing where they were being held, its former prisoners described it as the Hotel of Eternal Light, where constant artificial lighting was a tool to suspend time and annihilate their inner selves. To break the psyche of prisoners, various methods of white torture and light were used, from X-rays, through light corridors, flashing lights, blinding, to black isolation. As Hannah Arendt describes in The Origins of Totalitarianism, such a radical experience in isolation and loneliness leaves us unable to experience the world, unable to make sense of reality, unable to trust our own sense of the self.

In addition to documentary photos taken in the prison and its hospital, the book also uses other media, such as scans of traces, photographs of items belonging to prisoners, portraits of prisoners, experimental X-ray scans, archival photos and fragments of conversations with former prisoners conducted over the last few years.

In the light of the currently growing popularity of totalitarian doctrines, Hotel of Eternal Light is also an attempt to address, what our freedom actually consists of in severe times of loneliness and how much potential the inner urge for it reveals in the face of an imposed ideology.




Hotel of Eternal Light
by Karolina Spolniewski won the 2022 BUP Book Award contest.

***

Photographs & texts: Karolina Spolniewski
Book design: Aneta Kowalczyk
Cover concept: Karolina Spolniewski

Photo editing: Karolina Spolniewski, Aneta Kowalczyk, Grzegorz Kosmala
Image processing: Aneta Kowalczyk

Texts editing: Karolina Spolniewski, Grzegorz Kosmala
Transcription of interviews: Laura Maria Görner
Translations from German to English: Junate Acar, Karolina Spolniewski
Proof reading: Ben Borek (for English version), Aylin Yavuz (for German version)

Cover: hard with holographic foil
Papers: Munken Print Cream 80g, Fedrigoni Freelife Gloss 150g

Format: 235x320 mm
Number of pages: 200
Number of photographs: 71
Language version: English & German

Print run: 800 copies 
Printing: Argraf (Warsaw, Poland)

Publication date: July 2024 
Publisher: BLOW UP PRESS (Warsaw, Poland)
ISBN: 978-83-965969-6-3

Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light
Hotel of Eternal Light

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