Carsten Höller: ExperienceSculpture | Carsten Höller By Avram Finkelstein
Are You Experienced?
If you find the phrase "You must not use the stairs while wearing Upside Down Goggles" amusing, run to see Carsten Höller: Experience. If you're plagued with sensory conflict or are seizure prone, better stay home. Experience entails multiple participation waivers that say more about the show than the wall texts do. Between crash helmets and height requirements, this involvement spectacle makes you wonder whether the guards are there to protect the art, or to protect you from it. There is an isolation tank, if you consider the line outside it and the constant whoosh of people flying down a three-story slide isolated. There's the Styrofoam tunnel just shy of tall enough, and the mobile of caged birds that, depending on how you feel about live animals in a museum, is either soothing or brutal. And if you need escape from the madness, there's the wrap-around aquarium with holes big enough to lie down and slide your head into. Shows this insistent on participation frequently maintain a veneer of egalitarianism. This psychedelic petting zoo is actually too arch for that. Still, it's reassuring to think that in a world obsessed with remote interactivity, physicality might still coexist with it.