by pieces of moments

I approached a very bright, large, orange rectangle that seemed to be mounted on a white wall. My friend, who already knew the trick of this piece of art by James Turrell gave me explicit instructions as we closed in on the art work: “reach out your hand, and keep it out there as you walk up to the square.” I’m thinking this is insane, my hand is going to hit the art work and the gallery police are going to sound the alarm and it will be awkward. But, I did as she instructed. To my delight and surprise my arm never hit anything. My hand went right through what I believed to be a solid wall and soon nearly my whole torso was enveloped in the orange glow, which turned out to actually be a massive cut out in a white wall with bright orange light bulbs mounted deep within. It was a simple construction, but it made my physical relationship to space complicated. I really felt like I was about to pass into another dimension.

My favorite modern artists are those that teach me to re-think my relationship to the space that I believe surrounds me. People like James Turrell, Olafur Eliasson, and (my favorite of favorites) Anish Kapoor. Why? Because I interact with space every day, every minute, every second. I exist within it, and believe I understand it. I often forget what an amazing thing it is to be three dimensional, and they help me remember.

Same goes for my perception of sound. I remember as a little girl being enthralled with taking a break from practicing to just hold down the damper pedal and either shout into the strings, or hit the side of the instrument and press my ear close to hear the eerie sounds of reverberation billowing around in space. It seemed to be going somewhere I couldn’t go, as if the piano was talking from its guts. I adored the mystery of it.

Seeing this WBUR produced video with one of my former professors, Bruce Brubaker, reminded me of how much I adore the sound of sympathetic overtones:

Dr. Brubaker has a great blog over at ArtsJournal. Be sure to check it out and have your thoughts provoked.

Oh, and Olafur Eliasson recently gave a TED lecture on space and light: