Why I like James Turrell

Posted in Art, quotes and advices, Transmedia Research by tpdr on December 24, 2009

2 quotes from the website of De Pont museum in Tilburg (the Netherlands) summarize why I like James Turrell’s thinking:

– As a pilot and cartographer, Turrell knows that theoretical models, which have been developed in order to understand light, color and space, have only limited validity. His observations from the cockpit are, for him, an important source of inspiration: the changes in light and color that take place with a change of course at twilight, or the influence of fluctuating weather conditions on one’s perception of space. ‘If you go high enough, you can see the reflections of light on the moon change,’ he once said in an interview. ‘The color changes as the light glides by. You can know things without touching them, without handling with them, even without being there. You can feel things with your eyes. Observation is much closer to thought than words are.’

– ‘I’m interested in invisible light, light that can only be perceived by the mind,’ says Turrell. ‘I want to address the light that we see in dreams. I’m interested in doing works that seem to come from these places, in order to create an experience of wordless thoughts.’

I share his idea that theoretical models only have limited validity when it comes to understanding light, space, … . It is my reason for being interested in subjective maps. At the moment I might even be moving more into his direction as I am working with light and projection also in oder to create this kind of environment to take people to a different space/place.

Also like Turrell I am fascinated by the different colors of light one can perceive at different times of the day or in relation to the weather conditions. Even at night, with the artificial lights I don’t find the spectacle less interesting. Even though we don’t really pay attention to it, all these artificial lights have a different color and are also, maybe not in the same amount as natural light but still, influenced by the weather conditions.

My idea at the moment is to start again from my first light experiments with the see-thru-mirror wall and the rgb -pixel-tracks (see video doc here) and base my content on a particular/specific/chosen location. My goal can somehow be described as an attempt to create a visual and auditive personal/subjective representation of this chosen location, to transport its atmosphere into an exhibition space, like Robert Smithson in his ‘Non-sites’-pieces, create a hyperlink between the exhibition space and the chosen, outside and distant location. You could say that I am trying to see if I can make a ‘subjective map’ people can walk through. If holograms would exist I would maybe use these…but since this is not the case I will stick to my see-thru-mirror (which comes close to a hologram kinda feel in some way, especially with the projection on it), colored light and sound(when you consider sound to have a sculptural/physical aspect…one could say sound can also be some type of hologram).

The thing that needs the most attention for now is what to do with the sound-part. The best way to integrate it would be to make it the equivalent of the see-thru-mirror foil. This would mean that I would need to think about what mirror-sound or mirroring-sound would mean and what transparency could mean when applied to sound. This will need a new post obviously.