You have 45 seconds in a mirrored room of infinite lights. What do you do?
Reflect. Embrace and reflect on breathtaking but fleeting experiences like this and quiet moments by yourself.
This exhibit is easily one of the most beautiful I’ve seen by far - not only because of its mesmerizing aesthetic appeal but also for the fascinating story behind it. Supposedly, each light bulb represents a human soul from millions of lightyears away and the mirrors are meant to evoke a sense of "self-obliteration in the light of another world." Ultimately, it's meant to leave you pondering about life, death, and whatever the universe holds. To me, it almost felt like stepping into nothing but at the same time an endless sight of undiscovered beauty that lies beyond our scope of knowledge on the world we live in.
The scene was visually calming but also mentally overwhelming in a way. Perhaps it's because of the sea of thoughts and emotions flooding within a very limited amount of time in a confined space that’s actually as small as a telephone booth. Whatever interpretation that Kusama's immersive work may elicit, I personally view it as a reminder to perceive the world in ways that you don't usually do especially in the face of personal struggles and negativity - much like how van Gogh, despite having gone through the lowest point in his life, still saw the beauty in a plain blue sky and depicted it as a celestial, surreal constellation in the masterpiece that we all know as The Starry Night.
This installation is so much more than a pitch black room lit up by thousands of dazzling lights - and certainly a lot more than a site for perfect selfies; it’s an ephemeral experience that inspires you to detach from reality and reflect on what you could be missing out on if you don’t look up once in a while.
If you’re only given 45 seconds to be in a place like this, maybe take the first five to capture the moment then spend the rest of the time to simply look around and live through the fleeting experience. Beauty doesn’t last, but it can always leave a lasting impression if you appreciate it enough.
Definitely check out this ethereal display at The Broad before it closes this March! Trust me, it's well worth the wait especially if you're inclined towards existential contemplation.