An outdoor Installation made for The Flux Exhibition 12th -15th July 2017 in the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground, Chelsea College of Arts, Millbank, London.
In this experiment, an artificial environment was created where viewers could observe and question the origin of constantly changing illusions that developed inside. The forces contained within this 'Space-Age-Like-Pseudo-Scientific-Cosmic-Weather-Observatory' were ultimately dynamic and completely unexpected. The artist found that although she could create the circumstances for the illusions to take place; inevitably nature took over and completely controlled the outcome.
The original idea behind the project began with the assumption that the simple parameters of our own perception influence the extent of potential understanding and appreciation. We tend to believe what we perceive and operating within that, we construct a narrative to explain it. All we perceive is continually monitored both consciously and unconsciously. Over the millennia, this monitoring has become tuned to the specific environmental conditions that our bodies, minds and souls have perfectly adapted to, so that we can live comfortably here on Earth. In a science beyond rationality the mechanisms of these bespoke environmental monitoring systems like visual perception, smell and hearing are all hard wired to our ancient instinctive brains where our unconscious uses the information and governs spontaneous actions to ensure the most likely survival.
Entering and leaving via any one of four huge corridors, the unsuspecting audience was easily led from the real world into another and once entranced then led back home again.
The substructure was formed with contemporary scaffolding frame clothed in a loose layer of light weight space blanket material (reflective aluminium coated plastic Mylar sheet.) The roof was perforated in order to transmit light and to resemble the constellations but in fact the thousands of tiny holes formed a weak semi-permeable membrane which then served to filter ALL the elements entering and leaving the artificial space. Light played and inter-reflected between the ceiling, walls and mirrors, whilst air currents continually created wind eddies so that the ceiling rose and fell in undulations. Then all would go calm and still for awhile until another air mass resumed the storm slamming down the ceiling again like the relentless waves of a raging sea endlessly breaking on a beach; and all this accompanied by the sound of The Cosmic Latte Lullaby. The installation became an experiential environment, an experimental room, a metaphor for the current narrative which struggles with the inevitable power of our environment and explains away the heavens. In a way the work revisits the old idea of a firmament, neatly enclosing the limits of our 'known environment' with a story but this project goes further and tries to question a little beyond the original and ordinary understanding of the limits of our perception and wonders are we inside or outside and what nature controls things on either side?
It seems we can only understand what can be ‘sensed’ within our own sensory bubble. Here the bubble was a sensory box, where the thin outer membrane, like our atmosphere protects us from dangers beyond. In effect a completely artificial illusion since it only includes some of the picture and excludes 'all the rest.' It only includes what we think we apparently need to live and exist in the here and now. The illusion itself seems to be controlled and to limit what we can know almost as if it’s on a need to know basis.
Whatever form ‘all the rest’ takes – it is very likely that it would fill all those gaps which may always remain unanswered, the ultimate unknowns; the most unknown unknowns, the gaps we can’t explain that are literally beyond us , the magnanimity of the unknown is frightening. Although we may believe we can imagine beyond, its just pointless to try, to really try and guess, since we are already blinded by the illusion of the surface and we are simply out of our depth struggling to manage in our very thin biosphere.
Our sensory bubble is time dependent, species specific and above all planet specific. The Theoretical Physicists try to get past all this with lots of maths, and then of course there are the exploratory and experimental journeys to outer space etc. Maybe its not surprising that when using artificial ‘Mathematical Constants’ to make the sums add up they still constantly ‘hit the limits.’ We have such very high expectations of what Science can do for us. Don’t we?
It seems to be getting pretty sophisticated. It seems to be limitless. Lots of ‘Science’ actually manoeuvres around and stares blindly into the face of the unknown and then it finds it self to be confabulating; it needs to prove its own story. We dismiss irrationality as non-scientifc, as if its nonsense, when in fact being irrational is probably just beyond our limits out of our range and much more complex than we can easily understand or recognise.
So if we take these limits for granted and imagine the world to be a sensorially limited zone - what can be done to manipulate the situation? What is indeed possible if ordinary people can’t actually journey beyond the limits of their senses to prove otherwise? What tricks can be played? What happens if a bit of art jokes around with some science? Inside The Cosmic Latte Lullaby the viewers experienced ‘a fake celestial sky’ quite obviously a man made pastiche and clearly limited by its own self.
The installation was intended as a playful vehicle with which to entertain these ideas.