.Luminous Objects is a durational meditation performance through which Chavez delves ever more deeply into questions of visual perception, the mysterious nature of interior space, and the role of lens-based technologies in mediating how we see and understand the universe.
Working with the idiom of photography, Chavez adopts its technical necessities of temporal duration, the propagation of light, and movement in space, to create a work which plumbs the depths of human consciousness. For Luminous Objects, the artist becomes analogous to a camera lens, exploring the inception of the creative spark by delving deeply into a state in which her mind is penetrated by light and vision. The performance was commissioned and presented by the Armory Show in 2013, which was followed by a presentation by Two Rams at SPRING/BREAK Art Show in 2014.
In this ongoing exploration, she investigates a chief passion of hers — interior optics. She utilizes extreme durational meditation — up to 10 hours per day for two weeks at a time — in order to empirically study the radiant aesthetics of the inner optical realm. Chavez states, "There is an light that can be observed only when the eyes are closed and the mind is intently focused; in this performance, I seek to collect and share it." Throughout the performance, she keeps an active record of her inward gaze, harvesting her visions and sharing them with her audience in real time through a variety of actual and virtual channels, including social media platforms.
A “luminous object” in the world of physics refers to an entity, such as a star, which is capable of generating its own light. Hubble Ultra-Deep Field imagery collects the light of such objects by focusing a Wide Field Camera into seemingly vacant portions of outer space. Lengthy durations of exposure reveal seemingly black fields to be teeming with the ancient light of the first galaxies.
As Chavez has trained her mind to meditate for lengthy durations of time over the past 10 years, she has discovered that the gradual intensification of gamma wave rhythmicity in the brain enables her to access a similar superabundance of otherworldly visions — but within the realm of inner space. This surprising visual phenomenon forms the basis for the artist's ongoing collaborative research in the neuroscience of creativity with cognitive neuroscientists at Goldsmiths College in London.
Chavez's multi-faceted approach is formulated through a process of integrating art, science, technology, and contemplative practice. For Luminous Objects, she draws upon emergent systems theoretics, fluid dynamics, and her own meticulous research in the neuroscience of creativity. Chavez states,
In any given durational meditation, I am likely to experience concussive visions of dynamic inner storm systems, cataclysms of radiance, vortices and fractal patterns, gyrating fibers of electricity, clouds of short-lived photons, cascading firebolts, and embryonic stars. This process is one of observing storms of consciousness develop and diminish over a passage of time. The Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Richard Feynman called turbulence “the most important unsolved problem of classical physics", and I intuit that it’s also an important question for Art. From my ongoing investigation of this process, I have come to suspect that devotional concentration organizes flows of consciousness in a way similar to how turbulence structures flows of gases and liquids into vortices.