Brain Food #543

Re-establishing balance

Thoughts of the day

Before we delve into the obligatory posts about goals, resolutions, and the opportunity to better ourselves that only a new year can offer, it might be worth taking a moment to think about light. 2020 was, in many ways, a year of darkness. And thus, we should wish for 2021 to be a year of light, one which invites us to look outwards and upwards, symbolically but also physically.

No other artist has managed to achieve this more through his art than James Turrell. 

His Skyspace installations fuse light design with architecture to create meditative rooms in which the viewer is invited to sit and look at the sky, which is exposed -and framed- through a hole carefully crafted in the ceiling.

We spent much of 2020 staring at artificial light, coming from the back of displays, which now also try to emulate the ‘true tone’ of what ‘real’ light should feel like. Though digital displays may look like the enemy, Turrell does not dismiss artificial light sources. Each room with a Skyspace has LED lights installed, which change colour throughout the day, and thus change the perspective of the viewer, and the appearance of the sky, through the passing of time.

Experiencing a Skyspace is about learning to coexist, and about embracing the best of both worlds. The internal world and what lies beyond our own reality. The darker moments and the lighter moments. The manmade world and the natural world. It’s about re-establishing balance, while being content with what is around us.

Being forced to look at the same part of the sky (or perhaps the same portion of a changing part of the sky) is also a reminder of the power of perception. We may face the same problem multiple times, but changing how we see it can change its very nature, and even its magnitude.

More importantly, most Skyspaces are designed to have a sitting area - they are not meant to be experienced in a hurry. Let’s not rush into the new year, at least not before we pause and look up.

Happy 2021.

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