Arts

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Light up your mind

A new light art installation piece attempts to create the experience of being inside one’s nervous system.

CLOSE your eyes. Now, picture in your mind your nervous system, a massive web of interconnecting filaments and threads, with different lights, sparks and flashes representing your thoughts, feelings and ideas travelling all over these threads in seemingly chaotic yet oddly structured patterns.

Now, imagine you are in a dark room, surrounded by this amazing web of lights, movement and patterns. In other words, imagine that you are inside your own nervous system, watching your thoughts as they travel and dance on these intricate web of patterns – above, below and all around you – weaving, blinking and sparkling through the filaments that surround you.

That’s the concept behind Fiberspace, a site-specific light art installation by Venezuelan artist Claudia Bueno, now exhibited at the Wei-Ling Gallery in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.

This intricate masterpiece is created in partnership with Glenmorangie, and echoes the “unnecessarily well- made” ethos of the Scotch single malt producers.

At the time of writing, the piece was not ready yet, but when visiting the gallery to interview Bueno, we were greeted by a huge, almost two-storey tall cocoon of white webs made of hardened threads and strings.

Although it was not yet complete (the full piece will include lights and video projections that are supposed to recreate the sense of impulse and electroshocks inside us), it was not hard to imagine what it would look like eventually, especially after Bueno explained the concept behind it.

The 30-year-old artist, who is currently based in KL and has displayed her work internationally, from Latin America to Switzerland and the United States, said that the name Fiberspace is a play on the word “cyberspace”, which she defines as a “virtual aspect of an intangible world where computers communicate, and data travels and is stored”.

“It also plays on a similar abstraction to another kind of virtual world which is our nervous system,” she said, adding that the ‘fiber’ part of the name relates to the fibre tissue inside our nervous system.

“My idea was, if your nervous system came out of you and was expanded into a larger scale to surround you, and you can travel through you, what would it look like?

“I’m taking this intangible world out of our bodies and turning it into a tangible, surrounding experience – when you walk through it, it will be as if you are walking through your own nervous system.

“It’s meant to be a very engaging show, allowing the viewer to walk through it, and see the whole thing from different angles, giving you different experiences.”

To fully understand how her piece would eventually look like, Bueno dived into the world of nervous systems, brain activity, synapses, thought processing, nerves, arteries, researching and learning as much as she could about the subject, and from there, created the structures that would recreate those brain patterns.

She has worked primarily with light and shadows for a while, but Fiberspace is something completely different from what she has done before.

“I’ve worked with lights and shadows for a long time, and for many years, it was just black and white, light and shadow and silhouette work,” she said, adding that moving to Malaysia three years ago changed her art somewhat. “Coming from Switzerland, which is very structured and grey, to Malaysia where everything is colourful, and I had a sensory overload, and a lot more colour came into my art.

“My art always filters through the surroundings, wherever I am, and being here (in Malaysia) has led to a different kind of work, a transition from my previous work,” she said.

Fiberspace is essentially a projection of her own thought process, Bueno said.

“Looking back on my art, I’ve always done reflections of my surroundings, on what’s outside. So, this time, I wanted to do a more intuitive, intimate contemplation of what goes on inside me.”

“I wanted something that would echo exactly the process that a lot of other artists and I go through, where, as soon as you start engaging the head in a creative project, it just triggers an overflow of ideas and the brain becomes a sponge, absorbing all stimuli and it’s very exciting and overwhelming at the same time.”

  • Fiberspace will be open for public viewing till Oct 30 at Wei-Ling Gallery (No. 8, Jalan Scott, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur). The gallery is open from Monday-Friday (11am-7pm) and Saturday (10am-5pm), and is closed on Sunday and public holidays. For more information, call 03-2260 1106 or visit www.weiling-gallery.com. You can also visit facebook.com/GlenmorangieMalaysia for more news on exclusive nights at Fiberspace hosted by Glenmorangie.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle , art , Glenmorangie , Wei Ling Gallery , Claudia Bueno

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