Saturday, September 27, 2008


Speaking of different levels of reality, I was reminded again of my visit to Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts last month. One artist in the "Badlands" exhibition, Vaughn Bell, created
Personal Home Biospheres, which are miniature environments that visitors could feel immersed in. I put my head through an opening in the bottom of the small scale natural landscape. Once inside, I switched to feeling like a lilliputan in a close-up, humid, quiet world. One step up on the block placed below the biosphere and I was instantly immersed in this perfect natural environment: mosses, ferns and grasses native to the area were growing inches from my nose, eyes, ears and skin. Looking into the suspended plexiglas biosphere, I used my mind to appreciate all the details in the layers of growing earth. Looking out from the mini-dome, all my senses were activated and I cocooned in a meditative environment. Now, in the photo that my pet man took of me, I see another level: the reflections of the window frames in the exhibition room.... and the environment outside!! I could have missed it if not for the photo. Did the artist plan this into her concept too? I'm in awe all over again.

I was impressed by Vaughn Bell's creation. She fulfilled the task and opportunity given to contemporary artists in an original and thoughtful way, still leaving some mystery for the individual to solve. Anyone else out there looking for artwork that is both mentally stimulating and sensually satisfying? I'm excited about the trend that invites visitors to touch, participate and react to the artist's works. There was a book at the museum exit that invited comments...and I actually got a reply by email from a curator!

Here is a clip about Rupert Sheldrake that says more about the connection between our minds and perceptions...and about breaking habits and assumptions about our world.

synthesis of mind
and nature's senses find
my habits unwind

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