We’ve all been exposed to different models and theories around decision-making. We’ve also seen them in action and have experienced both the good and not so good results of those self-same decision processes. But when is the last time you took a step back and just had some fun making decisions that led to wacky, unexpected results? I think it just may be time for all of us to book a flight to London and visit Hayward gallery where Belgian artist Carsten Höller has filled both the gallery and the terraces on South Bank with interactive installations where you exit the show via one of the 50 foot (4 story) long spiral slides. How’s that for a great way to finish viewing a show titled Carsten Höller: Decision? You could cop out and take the stairs, but where’s the fun in that? After all, Höller has designed the slide to be both ‘a sculpture that you can travel inside’ and a “device for experiencing a unique condition somewhere between delight and madness.” Can’t we all use a bit of that in our daily lives?
Höller has been described as the “authentic Willy Wonka of contemporary art” and “almost every piece in this exhibition has a wonderful, mischievous playfulness to it, “ said Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery and exhibition curator. “It is trying to give us the chance to have a fresh way of experiencing and perceiving the phenomena we encounter in the world around us.”
You start your adventure by picking either the A or the B entrance which leads into a dark hallway made of galvanized steel similar to an air duct. The idea is to fill you with uncertainty and doubt since you are exploring the idea of decision-making.
In one of the galleries you’ll find two self-navigating robotic beds. These beds can be booked overnight. You lay down to sleep and wake up in a different spot from where you fell asleep.
In another you’ll come upon a large pile of red and white pills which drop from a ceiling-mounted timepiece named Pill Clock. At the water fountain there is a sign encouraging visitors to swallow one of the unlabeled pills. Willing to take that risk?
When you’re ready to check out the terrace, you’ll be handed a pair of Upside Down Goggles. These goggles are based on an experiment carried out in the 1890s by American Scientist George Stratton who constructed mirrored lenses that inverted his vision. Once you’ve strapped on the goggles, you’re bound to see the world around you in a very different, upside down sort of way. How’s that for altering perceptions?
What’s next? Well the Flying Machine of course, which allows you to soar above London’s traffic.
After that, perhaps you’re ready to put on the virtual-reality headset which has dual-screen video of a forest where each eye is shown a different path. There’s also mushrooms, walls of mirrors and who knows what else lurking within the gallery walls.
But what’s the purpose of all this, you might ask? The idea is to disorient, shift your thinking and perceptions. Maybe have you evaluate how you make decisions. Kind of like a trip to Catalyst Ranch. So, if you can’t make it to London, stop by for a visit and your own unique Catalyst Ranch experience.
To plan your trip: http://carstenholler.southbankcentre.co.uk/about-exhibition. If you go, please share your experience with the rest of us!