There is an effulgence 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. — Lia Chavez
Luminous Objects is a durational meditation performance through which Chavez explores the inception of the creative spark by delving deeply into a state in which the mind is penetrated by light and vision. The performance was originally commissioned by The Armory Show and has since been presented in a variety of venues, including the 2014 Spring /Break Art Show presented by Two Rams.
In this ongoing exploration, she investigates a chief passion of hers — interior optics. She utilizes prolonged theta-state meditation, which is known in neuroscience as a state of relaxed alertness in which a person experiences vibrant mental imagery, inspiration, and insight. In this state she is able to empirically study the radiant aesthetics of the inner optical realm. Throughout the performance, Chavez 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 the social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
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 theta rhythmicity in the brain enables her to access a similar superabundance of otherworldly visions — but within the realm of inner space. 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. This thinking relates to a theory of creativity that I am currently developing which posits that the flows of consciousness are structured similarly to flows of weather. 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 into of this process, I have learned that devotional concentration, such as meditation, organizes the flow of consciousness in a way similar to how turbulence structures the flow of water into vortices.
She presents the next phase of the Luminous Objects exploration in collaboration with leading neuroscientists and creative technologists in US and Europe throughout 2014.