Video, as defined by Bill Viola in a lecture at MIT, is the tracings of translucent light as exposed in real time to the camera. It was this definition mixed with the use of various forms of light illuminating the sound sculptures that were the inspiration for the title of my installation, Conglomeration of Light, which was presented at the Dance Exchange as part of the HOME series last Thursday evening.
However, the title became so much more than the sum of its parts. Their was a conglomeration of people interacting in the space—ideas from people seemed as varied as the individuals themselves, and the variety of comments made about the work (“as variations of light in different perspectives”, “to taking inventory of where one was as an individual.”) The viewers of the work completed the conglomeration in ways I, as the artist, hadn’t anticipated but made the work all the more fulfilling and substantial and in a sense completed the work as a whole.
Small orange led’s were given as “tickets” for entry to the installation and audience members were encouraged to leave them anywhere in the space. As the space transformed from a blue hue into a phosphorescent orange, one could not help to be humbled by the lustering lights that lingered and grew as people came and went. The coloring of the space was a small byproduct of the work itself, but enriched the experience all the more.
While the bulk of the show was composed of video, sound sculptures and an offering plate were also part of the installation. Lights, as a part of these sculptures drew one to view them with some trepidation. The offering plate was meant as a place for people to place their lights or “tickets” but of course no one put them in the plate. Rather they were placed everywhere else in the space. From little nooks in the projection surface, to door handles, bench cubbies…some just rolled theirs on the floor to see where they’d land. Some did not even realize the sound sculptures were producing sound. It was a serene image to watch the piece build with an audience interacting in the space and later dissipate. The energy filling the space and then dwindling to an empty cauldron of the 30 plus led candles scattered about the space was a visual footprint signifying people had been there.
The cauldron was not exactly empty even when everyone had exited. The orange hue of led lights left residual traces of the people who had visited the room. The orange lights offered a strong vibrant sense that the room had been called upon and that people had paid homage to the space. It was as serene as it was chaotic; it was as calming as it was exciting. As orange lights fortified Conglomeration of Light, the scenic wash of images cast in a meditative state within the room and served a strong sense of self reflection. The design of the installation was loosely modeled after the Rothko Chapel in Houston. This resemblance of the Chapel, even if just an homage, played a definitive role. The installation stood on its own as a place of meditation and reflection but viewers took on their own meanings from the work. Children played, adults viewed, and everything in between illuminated one’s own experience.
As a place of reflection, one viewer stated that even as noise from the outside the space bellowed into the installations hallowed walls, she realized that the state of her experience was directly related to where she was as an individual, a revelation of self to say the least. Another viewer commented on the reflections in the glass, where she learned that the different layers of light offer various perspectives in which to see the light. The naturalistic images of This Body This Earth window carried with it a rippling affect of the other videos, which were reflected in the glass thus offering another vantage of the flickering images glowing through the space. One person mentioned that Trains was mesmerizing, a byproduct of creating the work and also inclusive of the intention of the work. In the end, people’s reflections offered variations relevant to the individual who chose how they interacted with the work, chose where to put their individual light, and chose what they got to leave the space with.
After creating the installation it was interesting to witness the ways in which people interacted with the space. The spirituality of art extended into a realm beyond but included and embraced the people willing to enter inside the space, experience the space, and see the videos. By viewing the installation from outside the space itself, one could see the way in which people chose to be in the space, how they viewed each of the works, moved between the works, whether or not they chose to listen to the sound sculptures or not. The inside became the outside and revealed an element of the work that was not inherently apparent. It was almost as if the installation created itself as a Conglomeration of Light through the audience.
The images flashed through a world not accustomed to windows in strange places, trains racing through the indoors, and shadowed light revealing the opportunity to look “long and long” as Walt Whitman would say. While the young at heart created a playground of the space the more astern sought out silence and meditation, it all seemed to converge in one space as a community was built around the art. The world around us generates itself and passes us by whether we notice the things that go by or not is another thing but Conglomeration of Light offered the world an opportunity to see the images I purview in life seeking the spirituality through Art.