THE OCTAVE OF VISIBLE LIGHT: A MEDITATION NIGHTCLUB
“Chavez aims to lay bare the form of inspiration by diving for prolonged periods into the depths of consciousness — the very depths from which creativity arises.” — Image Journal
Luminous Objects is a meditation performance in which Lia Chavez becomes a deep space camera. In this performance, the artist examines the mysterious nature of interior space and how human perception mediates how we see and understand the universe much like lens-based technologies.
The piece was originally commissioned and presented by the Armory Show in 2013, but like many of Chavez’s performances which explore the nature of reality, Luminous Objects remains an ongoing investigative artwork.
For Luminous Objects, Chavez combines contemplative practice and neuroscience to investigate the frontier of optics. She utilizes the practice of durational meditation to cultivate gamma wave activity in her brain. The accumulation of this specific neural activity generates dazzling, primordial visions within her mind's eye. Throughout the performance, Chavez sustains a meticulous observation of her inner optical realm, and in the style of a reporter, shares her visionary experiences with the audience in the form of calligraphic writings as they occur. Throughout the performance, the viewer is invited to witness the detailed topography of the artist’s inner optical landscape as it wildly evolves.
“Trance-like Chavez teases us with thoughts that arise from the depths of her consciousness.” – Hamptons Art Hub
At the heart of Chavez’s inquiry is the philosophical question of what divides the infinite from the finite. The performance conveys her long-held interest in how the mind filters the continuum of the universe by breaking the flow of consciousness into discrete objects of perception. This interest extends from her theoretical work on Henri Bergson’s concept of duration (“la durée”), which was the subject of Chavez’s PhD Thesis at Goldsmiths College. In performatively juxtaposing the endless flow of superconscious experience with the codification of thought, Chavez affords the viewer a unique opportunity to witness a mind in the archetypal struggle of switching between the unbounded essence of things and the reduced awareness of “normal” consciousness.
“It was riveting to watch her.” – Cottages and Gardens
Luminous Objects belongs to Chavez's ongoing investigation into the depths of human consciousness and the nature of what she calls “the inner cosmos.” Working with the idiom of photography, Chavez becomes analogous to a camera lens, exploring the inception of creative inspiration by delving deeply into a state in which her mind is penetrated by mysterious light. Of the process she has stated, "In durational meditation, I experience cataclysmic visions of vortices, fibers of electricity, clouds of short-lived photons, cascading firebolts, and embryonic stars. It's a process of observing passionate dances between the elements…storms of consciousness as they develop and diminish over a passage of time.”
“Must-see.” – PAPER Magazine
With a title referencing astrophysics, Luminous Objects captures the primal action of time and the motion of bodies in space. 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 black fields to be teeming with the ancient light of the first galaxies. As she has trained her mind to meditate for lengthy durations of time, Chavez has discovered that the gradual intensification of high amplitude gamma wave activity in the brain enables her to access a similar superabundance of otherworldly visions — but within the realm of her interior visual space.
“Sensual and optical.”
– Hamptons Art Hub
Luminous Objects, 2013-present
Originally presented on August 30, 2013 as a commission by the Armory Show as part of the Armory Show Summer Celebration. Sag Harbor, New York
Artistic Director and Performer: Lia Chavez
Curator: Blair Clarke
Presenter: The Armory Show
Host and Patron: Chiswell Langhorne
Artistic Director and Performer: Lia Chavez
Producer: Two Rams
Curator: Tali Wertheimer
Presenter: SPRING/BREAK Art Show