I was terrified to ride the slide, but I knew I wasn’t leaving until I did. The staff members were such a big help to me, especially Michael (pictured here). After a long wait and some kinds words, I finally descended down the slide. I was so happy I reached the bottom tears were streaming down my face. I ran back up to the 4th floor to thank everyone and preceded to ride the slide yet again. I’ll never forget this experience!
“Little too much face”
James and I are decidedly different people. We can and will debate over absolutely anything and everything. He may have bested me in the battle of best Neutral Milk Hotel song, but I was crowned winner in our match on the worth of slam poetry. “Stairs vs. Escalators” and “Saturdays vs. Sundays” ended in ceasefires. Last summer, we legitimately argued over how often we argue.
Although the two of us may not see eye-to-eye on everything, James and I were equally excited to visit the New Museum’s current exhibit, “Experience” by Carsten Höller, together, even if we both admitted that the main source of our excitement was photos of a two-story slide on the museum’s website. As we read on the exhibit’s website before our trek to the Bowery, “Experience” is a “form of experiments designed to test the limits of human sensorial experience through carefully controlled situations.” The exhibit is described online as something of an interactive journey for the audience, carefully constructed by Höller to distort viewers’ sense of space and time.
After signing waivers we both didn’t read, our “Experience” began on the fourth floor of the museum, a floor dedicated to motion, as I was later informed. The elevator doors opened to an enormous mobile of cages, containing particularly vocal canaries, hanging in the air.
“Why?” I asked. I’ve never been fond of birds.
“Fuck da police,” James responded.
I looked to the small labels beside the mobile for answers, but they offered only a list of materials used and the name of the organization assuring the health of the canaries. I looked up at the birds, wondering if they had the answer. Nothing. And so, my search for meaning throughout the exhibit began.
I immediately began to take note of every single detail the exhibit presented. When James and I rode the Mirror Carousel (2005), I carefully weighed how each piece rotated and what was revealed and concealed by the angle of the mirrors in each revolution. I even had the crazy idea to count how many seconds it take to go around, hoping that the number would offer some solution. Beside me, James took pictures, swayed around a bit in his seat, and experienced the slow glide of the carousel. I noted how it felt to walk through the tunnel, regarded how fish look under flashing, hallucinatory lights from inside a fish tank, and speculated as to what floating in a sensory deprivation pool might feel like.
(<a href=”http://thejuvenilia.com/?p=1828”>Click for the full personal experience and more photos</a>)
by Allison Liu
image via Scoboco on flickr
image via This Week in New York on flickr
image via @mrzwiggy on Twitter
image via eepmon on Twitter
and his “New York face”