— Sun Tunnels by Nancy Holt
Also check out this visit of the piece (and of Spiral Jetty) by the Art Assignment!
A couple of Friday’s ago, I went to see the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit up in SF!
I had first learned of this exhibit (or at least something very similar) when it opened in France and it intrigued me immediately: take the paintings of the artist, animate them, and project them so large that it feels like you are walking into and inhabiting them in a wonderful surreal landscape. And the exhibit very much delivers on that promise. Projected to fill the perimeter of a very large and tall square room — as well as the floor! — you’re surrounded by the colourful shifting patterns. Sometimes the painterly strokes drew themselves into existence; sometimes the scene was treated like a pastoral landscape marking the passage of the sun; sometimes there were Escher-like structures that shifted kaleidoscopically, sometimes it was the petals of flowers blowing on the wind. Needless to say, the pièce de résistance was the animated nuit étoilée sequences, with shifting aurora, shimmering water reflections, and the twinkling of the stars.
Very cool. I stayed long enough to see the sequence several times, and it was a sweet experience every time. While the original setup in France seems like it might have been a tad more immersive, with the projections closer at hand on large square pillars of screen throughout, this still worked great. I recommend viewing it at least once standing near one wall near the mid-point, looking towards one of the adjacent walls. This way, the wall you are adjacent to is in your peripheral vision, and as the images flow you really get a sense of movement.
Definitively fits the bill of delicious wonder! While videos will never do it justice, I did take a few; click here to check them out. And if you get a chance to see it (whether in SF or wherever it heads to next) I nudge you to do so.
Woah! That is not a photoshop job… that is actual people walking on actual water in an amazing piece of land art by none other than Christo and Jeanne-Claude titled The Floating Piers. Installed for 16 days back in 2016, it was also huge:
That’s 3km worth of 16m wide golden floating walkway, leading to and island and onto another island. Again, wow…
Oh this is neat. A new production starting up at the Princess of Wales theatre in Toronto in November (coming over from the UK) that’s creatively inventive and great for these socially distanced times. Called “Blindness” it’s an auditory only sound installation, with the audience sitting on stage (spread apart, wearing masks) surrounded by simple colour changing lights. I’m intrigued! Unfortunately I’m not traveling home this year so I’ll miss it, but if you’re near Toronto this might just be the ticket.
Head underground. Beyond the light of day.
Walk into the water. Let the darkness flow.
Enter the light of blue. Surrounded by the ambient rumble. Feel the splashes.
And then, a sign.
A little jaunt underground tonight, in the Cisternerne, a (no surprise) former cistern now turned art venue in Copenhagen, exclusively for installation art. With specific art for this unique location, experimental, encompassing space and light and sound for a full experiential experience, this very much checked off all the boxes of what excites me. Worth a visit for sure!
I took an audio recording while walking around, have a listen to it by clicking here!
This is truly something remarkable: art, made from nothing but rice plants. No dies or trickery here, these are honest to earth productive rice fields that serve as canvases to be transformed each year into giant illustrations.
Even more remarkable, the images are distorted (through anamorphic projection) to be properly viewed from the tops of nearby hills and buildings.
Seen from space!
Here’s a great bonus video:
The Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern. A glorious adaptive reuse, and one that created one of the most iconic spaces in the museum world, that of the old Turbine Hall. Rather than fill the great void with new floors or ring the walls with art, it was left as an impressive canvas, a shell that itself is grand and uplifting and inspires wonder while forming the basis for temporary and site-specific installations, artwork of a place, all capped by a new, glowing, roof lantern. One room, many faces.
Speaks for itself. Very cool.
Desert Breath by Danae Stratou, Alexandra Stratou, and Stella Constantinides.
We were in a maze.
We’d discovered the maze while randomly visiting the art projects out in deep playa at Burning Man. It was no small maze either – made of wood posts and plywood, it measured some 70+ feet to a side, and the walls were 8′ tall. It was also really tricky.*
It had been eight, maybe twelve, minutes since we’d entered when, from over one of the walls (we had inadvertently split up) my friend shouts out “Hey! There’s a door here!”
“There are no doors in mazes,” I solidly replied.
It wasn’t that I didn’t believe them per se – in fact I gave it nary a thought after my proclamation. It was just… true. Mazes were things with walls and passageways and dead ends. Doors did not enter the picture.
By now of course you all can probably guess where this story is going, and what I was about to exclaim not more than a few minutes later:
“Holy crap! There are doors in this thing!”
And it wasn’t even the same door.
It’s a funny, fluffy example, but I love it as a reminder of just how, when something comes up that doesn’t fit our view, it’s not so much that we don’t believe it, or that we actively resist it, it’s often more that it simply doesn’t even register. No such possibility exists. It’s so completely outside the realm of (our personal) reality that before we even become aware of it it’s been dismissed and we’re moving on with our day, acting as before. Which equally means, quite potentially, staying as constrained as before.
Our life remains the same.
Hence why I like reminding myself with this story. Who knows what I/we could be missing on the other side. Who knows what I/we could learn, could do, or could be, with that new piece of information, with that broader view, and with those new possibilities. Worlds can open up.
Because, while in a maze in the middle of the desert it was a very physical door that I was all too ready to miss, quite often the doors that we dismiss and don’t go through are very much metaphorical, and very much transformative.
* Seriously, the maze was killer. The people who made it did a fabulous job. Doors, bridges, and more, and it was well laid out in order to obfuscate some of the necessary routes. My friend and I spent 30 minutes in the maze, escaped out, went back in, came out again, was told a hint or two by people outside who had completed it, went back in a third time, and still were stymied. So we chose to D&D the heck out of it! We came back the next day with hand-made graph paper and proceeded to map the sucker out like a dungeon… and thusly discovered a route we’d delightfully missed. In rather short order, past few more doors, traps, and bridges, we found our way to the exit. Superbly well done maze!