transcribed from notes written in the dark, while watching a video projection of the artist's talk which was going on in the filled auditorium next door... after a false fire alarm and flashing lights had emptied the building... so I never actually saw James Turrell tonight - just his image in light - one room removed.
please think of this as glimpses and suggestions...
The thingness of light
his early discovery that "I could sell colored air and blue sky"
the way we see light in a dream - the light itself has this thingness
we have prejudiced perception, thinking that hot is red and cold is blue, when the opposite is true. (Melting steel goes from red through blue to white as it gets hotter.)
light is a plastic medium
painting in three dimensions - hypothetical space
in early work the projected light itself became the source
light has always been a subject of painting, but I wanted to create a non-vicarious experience of light
if you isolate light from the outside
you see light holding the space
the thingness of light was finally coming to pass
the play of light with another light behind it holding the space
spaces within the space of the sky - read Saint-Exupery
truth in the light from a t.v. - walking past apartments and seeing the light from the t.v. coloring the space. different channels express different colors.
doesn't distinguish between natural and artificial light - you have to burn something to get light, and what comes out depends on what's being burned
you can only hold onto a color for 6-8 seconds and then it begins to fade - retinal fatigue.
the creation of indeterminate (not infinite) space
you can train someone to sense color through the skin
a John Cage concert in 1961 at Pomona College was instrumental in making him want to be an artist
matching sound quality to light quality
there never is no light, no sound
interested in creating work which triggers vision
when light is reduced and the pupil opens we see better, feeling color, we touch with the eye
cutting the architecture (rectangular opening in the ceiling) the volume of the sky comes right down to the opening
observatory in Jaipur, camera obscura effect
Tanizaki's book, In Praise of Shadow
a bath in a building in Japan where you become the source of light when you go into the water
being in a space that is itself seeing - being in a camera obscura
Roden Crater and directions to a construction crew: we're changing the shape of the top of this crater and by doing this we'll change the shape of the sky
challenging, because light doesn't scale - it falls off in proportion to the inverse square of the distance
but kept working at it and it began to work
when you lie down and look up, the shape of the sky changes - it's malleable
we make closure
not only can we change the color of the sky, we can change its shape...