Video and Installation: Moleculagem
Curator: Manoela Bowles
It sure was an enlightened experience to enter the chamber of senses built for the II II II exhibition at Espaço Apis in Rio de Janeiro. An audiovisual installation done by Moleculagem and curator Manoela Bowles as an allegory to Plato’s Cave. Going up a red stairway to the basement of a century old building into a dark uncommon area, barely seeing but aware of the presence of strange objects once used and now only inhabitants of this strange place. Walking a few unsure steps to encounter a translucent igloo where cushions indicated the place where each of the six people in the group should lie down facing up and with their headphones set, ready for the work of art to start.
Everything was prepared to make this a metaphysical experience. The piece was constructed as a Tetractys, a Pythagorian mystical symbol, and holographic sounds used for healing in meditation entered the ears of those on the journey. Abstract shapes and forms started to appear on the incorporating screen while gentle binaural frequencies stimulated relaxation by producing beta waves in the brain. A shower of images, along with the audio, absorbed and embraced us totally in a synesthesic experience. It seemed as we were falling and sometimes being blasted into space. Then mandalas and other organic forms danced for us, while suddenly the image changes into a cube that tilted sideways as we appeared to be falling into a void. A true sublime experience.
Unexpectedly we could hear common noises, birds and other nature sounds entered our ears. The image had gone black but it seemed as we could see the forest, coming from inside of us and leading to an awareness that representation can construct reality, even if our senses does not follow. The audiovisual projection lasted for 11 minutes, 11 seconds and 11 frames, but it seemed less for some people and more to others. A proof that time can be manipulated, and if so we can manipulate it ourselves for our own gain. We don’t need to follow the pace established by consumerist culture, we can follow our own. This experience made us leave the exhibition and look to the world with new eyes, now we realize that we can take our time and choose our way of experimenting our life. It brought a moment of self-awareness by meditative art that leads to emancipation, enlightenment, a new understanding. A relational, perceptive art, like that of Olafur Eliasson or James Turrell, where each one had his own personal experience but evolved together.
The idea of the audiovisual installation as an allegory to Plato’s Cave was to show that reality is an illusion, it is but appearances produced by the apprehending of experience filtered by our senses. The intention of producing a shock, follows the “wow” effect of contemporary art, that like this show, turns galleries into amusement parks, but to incite thought by bringing spectators to the here and now. The awareness that space and time are constructions of our mind can bring an expansion of our consciousness that many other things can be manipulated to form our reality. If we learn that we can change the way we apprehend things and our experience of the world. We are free to choose how we will experience the world. This liberation is emancipation.
We usually walk around in life noticing many things, but many other things are left unnoticed. Like a limelight our perception focus on things that interest us, may they be because of our need to survive or modelled by our past experiences, conventions or our cultural baggage that we carry from where we came from to our destiny. But our brain can apprehend a lot more. We need do leave this fixed model to see beyond. That is where our path to evolution is. If we stop and think, a lot of things we consider real are just constructions of our mind. Time and space lead our way but they are only subjective representations and can be adapted according to each individual experience.
Our mentality have changed a lot from Modernity to Post-Modernity, we moved from a mechanical, dualistic perspective to a more relative point of view. Quantum Physics raised the notion that each observer creates his own reality and things happen according to the path he chooses. Buddhists had already claimed reality is an illusion. Plato’s Cave theory declares that things exist only in their appearance for us. In the myth the prisoners of the cave see shadows projected on the walls and hear the sounds that come from outside and they believe that these shadows are reality. A reality filtered by the senses and so they are just appearances.
Art followed this change of paradigms with the idea that the work of art needs the observer to exist because it depends on his personal interpretation. The relativity is also present on the symbol of the exhibition. II II II at a first glance is an abstract symbol, but also the date it was held, November 11th of 2011. For some it can mean a lot but for others nothing at all. It depends on our cultural backgrounds and on our senses. If we are from a religion that believes that 11/11/11 will be the end of the world it will be a totally different experience of reality that for a person that is not a believer. Anyway the date as a repetition of numbers ad infinitum is something atypical, there can be infinite possibilities of interpretation. Inside this relativistic limbo, we choose to take a path into a new dimension for this exhibit. Where your certainties could be turned into questions.
The exhibition held at Espaço Apis – Rio de Janeiro, brought an audiovisual installation, an allegory to Plato’s Cave Theory, to provoke a questioning of reality through the manipulation of space and time, with binaural sounds and abstract 3D images to show that reality is an illusion, it depends on our senses and cultural background to be constructed and showed us that perception can be a channel to open our minds.