Thursday, November 10, 2011


Animal Group by Carsten Höller

I stumbled upon a preview article on Carsten Höller's "Experience" exhibit at the New Museum and had to check it out. For those who don't know, Höller is a Sweden-residing German artist whose extraordinary works converge his doctoral background in biology with the arts to turn his works into mice mazes to expose the nature of humans. In order to properly approach this exhibit, however, I had to succumb to the role as a lab rat.

Meticulously scattered among the four floors of the museum's studio spaces are the Mirror Carousel, Untitled - a.k.a. the three-stories slide, Experience Corridor, and Giant Psycho Tank (to name a few). Maggie, Rosie, and I wrestled with various sensory ranging from pains to curious pleasures. To slide down Untitled, no bags and cameras were allowed on the slide and you had to wear a helmet. Untitled started off calm as the first turn gently cradled me like a rocking hammock, but by the second a sharp increase of momentum whipped out of nowhere and forcing my hands against my chest became difficult. I managed to hit the padding and leaving unscathed, but some unlucky few have whacked their head or hands against the tube - during which you'd hear uncomfortable gasps echo among the neon lights. In the Experience Corrider, a certain chamber prickled my arm, and I wasn't too sure if it was right for me to giggle like a schoolgirl in this sterile environment.

Höller may be the first artist who made me feel a little more comfortable screaming, laughing, and acting in behaviors usually uncouth in a museum setting. But for others, doing so "on display" may have been nerve-wrecking. As Höller's lab rats, we are revealed of our own foolery, but also facets of happiness through curious explorations.

And the pill that goes with this? Taken by Rosie.

Mirror Carousel

I found myself checking out my looks with each passing mirror. Most visitors stared into their reflection in each direction. Nothing makes vanity more heavenly than doing spinning round on a lightweight swing.

Maggie and the singing birds


Rosie was the last of the trio to take on Untitled. Harmless as it may look, when Museum security warns that you should keep your hands crossed on your chest they weren't jesting. Momentum really picks up after the second sharp turn, and I've heard sounds of felt pain and pure joy coming through the slide on the second floor.

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