A Room That Wrecks Your Perspective, From a Master of Light and Space

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by LIZ STINSON, Weird Magazine, March 13, 2014

Doug Wheeler, 75, is a pioneer of the Light and Space movement that birthed famous artists like James Turrell and Robert Irwin. His most recent piece continues his work in this realm, deftly playing with light and architecture to craft subtle illusions that wreak havoc on your perspective.

Entering a Wheeler installation feels a lot like the moment when you first realized the moon was a sphere, not a disc. Flat planes become inhabitable spaces–and sometimes vice versa. After removing your shoes and slipping on cloth booties, you’re led towards a bright white light that looks like a horizon slowly rising and falling. This is actually an entryway–and just the first of Wheeler’s perceptual tricks. 

Walking around the circular room, you can feel a slight curve in the room’s floor. It’s almost as if you actually detect the Earth’s curvature for the first time, strolling along the edge of the globe like you would a sidewalk. A row of lights embedded under the raised floor cast a soft hazy glow up the walls.

Extremely subtle lights that created an immersive and illusionary experience. Both the lights and the space invite people to feel and sense the moment.

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