Friday, August 02, 2013

Light from light

The Boy spent today visiting two colleges in LA near my brother The Artiste. He had an interview, an information session and a tour at each. The (always very independent) Boy and Crash went to the information sessions and took the tours, while Math Man and I wandered around the campuses, checking out the science buildings. I saw a sign pointing the way toward a James Turrell Skyscape and got excited.

I had seen some of Turrell's work in Japan two years ago. The interplay of light with light in Turrell's work is breathtakingly beautiful (perhaps literally, to view one of the pieces in his current exhibit at the LA County Museum of Art you must sign a waiver  that you understand the potential health hazards in viewing). The solidity of some of the forms Turrell creates from light fascinates my quantum mechanical persona. Matter is not as solid as you think, you can diffract electrons and helium atoms — they act as if they are light. You can write a wave equation to describe molecules, just like light. Turrell makes the case that light is more solid than you think. Maybe I will take my quantum mechanics class on a field trip to the Guggenheim in NYC before the exhibit there closes.

The Skyscape installation at Pomona runs every morning beginning 100 minutes before sunrise (and again at sunset, starting about half an hour before the sun sets). The sky is framed above water, and you sight and contemplate the deep blue plane that seems to be suspended over your head. It's contemplative, slowly unfolding. It fosters patient attention.

This afternoon we're off to see the Turrell exhibit at LACMA.

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