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What’s Making Me Happy: Ganzfeld

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As I began this exercise I talked about the Cult of Busyness narrowing my focus to the steps immediately in front of me and how the mental and actual space of our trip the Marfa area had helped me get my vision back up near the horizon. Another thing I’ve found I need to walk free and easy is for the tension in my shoulders and jaw to release and to honestly…well: giggle.

I  laugh pretty easily and unabashedly, but there’s a different level of amusement that I don’t often reach that I’ve been calling wonder. For me it’s usually that childlike giddiness that comes when someone makes something that just simply can’t possibly exist. I get that feeling in the midst of a  really great meal like our anniversary dinner at Uchiko.

And I got that feeling this weekend in Houston. It was the example of ganzfeld at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts that reminded me how much I need that feeling. Megan organized and shepherded a quick hit field trip to Houston for she, Will and I to see the Turrell exhibit there. There were no misses in the entire exhibit (unless you include the lack of “I’ve got the Light in me – Turrell 2013” t-shirts in the gift shop) but the highlight for me was clearly ‘End Around: Ganzfeld, 2006’.

You take off your shows and put on fabric softener booties…
Then you climb the stairway to heaven:
stairway to heaven
And then at the top of the stairway, if you’re me, you say something poignant and quotable like, “you have got to be fucking kidding me”. I am so eloquent.

James Turrell has created an entire universe in the middle of an urban art gallery. The photos don’t do the perception altering nature of it justice. Standing as close as three feet away from it you can’t see where the walls and floor/ceiling meet (as they are curved and smoothed) and the light slowly shifts in hue and intensity.

Will and I both had the impulse to lie down and get lost in the ceiling.
All three of us agreed we would have paid extra to be allowed to experience it without others in the room to contextualize the field and diminish the effect.
James_Turrell_Ganzfeld_2
It felt sacred in the way that only the best art can.

I definitely recommend that you see this exhibit at the Houston MFA (and the Elias Crespin mobiles in the Intersecting Modernity show while you’re at it) if you get a chance. But if you can’t make it due to time and space please go see some of Mr. Turrell’s work where and when you can.

He sees light in an entirely different way and interacts with it like a native of Elsewhere.
I’d seen pictures of a lot of his work.
It’s radically different in person.

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