I've fallen in love with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Me and the lady went there yesterday. This is the second time I've been in as many as seven days. My mate James has described it to me as being like a theme park for the mind. I'd agree with that.
This time we went to see some light sculptures. Three big rooms which are totally pitch black save for what I can only describe as neon light projections at one end. One of them was a perfect void. You could look deep into the abyss, with all the inherent consequences of such a course of action*.
There was one room which I'd cautiously warn you about before I describe it. If you're planning to ever go to this place don't read my description here. It'd ruin the surprise. If not, read on...
You go into this pitch black room. You can't see a thing, just a dim light at the end of the room. So what did me and the lady do? Cling to the wall and shuffle towards the bench in the corner that we'd been told about. Then we sat down and looked at the dim light on the other wall.
"Stupid. This modern art stuff is stupid."
Shuffling out of the room we bumped into the guide. We explained we were a bit confused.
"Did you go over to the light and touch it?"
"Um.. no, are we allowed to do that?"
"Yeah, there's nothing in your way, just walk over to it and try to touch it."
This time we shuffled towards the dim light in the corner. As we went it started to get brighter. Eventually it looked like a bright light, there was a divide which came up just above your waist keeping us from actually touching it but you could reach your arm out into it. Behind us is pitch black. There we are looking into this light which seemed to go on quite a way. There were no clear markings to denote another wall beyond the partition or indeed a floor and we'd been told there was quite a drop down there. I think mainly to put people off trying to climb over the partition.
I glanced behind me to see what the shuffling noise was.
The whole room was no longer dark.
It was like a dimly lit room. I could clearly see people shuffling around like fools, just as me and my girlfriend had done when we first came in. My eyes had adjusted to the extreme darkness by looking into this neon light!
Unbelieveable. A total head-fu#k. The work of art was almost being completed by the image of people behind me, stumbling timidly in total darkness, too afraid to approach the light directly.
As I'm sure you'll agree, that works on many levels.
I then turned back, looked into the light and totally buggered up the illusion, Mr Bean style, by leaning over the partition and then dropping my sunglasses into the light. Fu#knut. They'd been perched in my breast pocket. There they lay on the floor behind the partition. Revealing there wasn't much of a drop. Cue loads of people going - "oh look, it's just a room with a neon light in it. Now you can see the floor there where that fat lad's glasses have landed".
Ruined the illusion.
Ahh- but, had I ruined it, OR enhanced it**? Given it new meaning perhaps?
*Aren't I a smart ar#e? I'm tacitly referencing Nietzsche there. Oh yes! He's a proper clever boffin he is. I've read all his books. The full quote is, "Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the Abyss, the Abyss gazes also into you." God I'm amazing me. Actually, no I'm not. I read part of that quote in The Watchmen by Alan Moore. It's a comic book. Comics are where most of my more interesting bits come from. F#ck me I'm a nerd.
**Well, obviously I'd ruined it. The member of staff who had to go round and fish out my glasses with a hook would confirm that for you.