THE INFINITY MACHINE
Have you ever intentionally collided reality with fantasy, to create ultimately a surreality? How did it make you feel? Were things different? Was it too much for you to handle?
Before I get into how this installation changed my life, I should probably state that there are times in my dreams where I want to escape through a hole into an unknown world. Maybe it is because my reality is too intense to deal with or so dull that there isn't any energy to hold onto or believe in? I've created surreal outcomes for myself and each time I usually feel no regret because I know that I experienced a pure conscious adventure. Holding on and letting go of these experiences doesn't make me any stronger, just emotionally deeper.
The first time I went to Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller's The Infinity Machine in the Byzantine Fresco Chapel at the Menil Collection, I walked into this beautiful installation of hanging mirrors of different shapes and sizes rotating together in a circle with space probes from NASA's Voyager I and II in the background. I first compared it to the "Through the Looking Glass" idea. When I allowed my brain to finally relax, I start to feel the effects of staring at this piece for more than five minutes. It felt like I was falling down a long dark space and I didn't know where I was going to land. I remember feeling too afraid to look at my own reflection. We sat in silence. My world was full of distance. I calmly sang to myself (in my head) the song where Alice tells her cat that she wants to be in a world of her own.
The whole experience was euphoric and imaginative but ultimately temporary. I silently asked myself: How infinite could this really be? Do I believe in forever? Could this moment last forever? How long can I stay here before I have to return to reality? Was it possible to jump through those mirrors, into a threshold of magic? How can I tell the difference between my reality and my desires?
Today is the last day the installation is going to be on view at the Byzantine Chapel. This afternoon I went back with two close friends (who are about to get married HEYYYY) and let go of some of the things I once previously considered infinite. I feel so much. It was really hard to do this but what got me through the emotional part was understanding that I was listening to the universe. All of the heaviness I was carrying vanished when I imagined my body letting the universe in. It made me think of a Godard film. I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't gone there today.