Thursday, September 7, 2017

Unlike anything I've ever experienced ~ The Visitors at the SF MOMA

the performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson in a still from "The Visitors"

one of my favorite screens / rooms in the performance
Ragnar Kjartansson has done something with his performance art piece called "The Visitors" that I've never experienced before. When walking into a spacious dark room before the performance started on the seventh floor of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, my curiosity was peaked. As the events unfolded, I was mesmerized and got that tingling sensation on my skin that usually indicates I'm experiencing something profound and very spiritually moving. There were nine large screens set up all around the room and each one had images projected with speakers unique to each screen. On each of the nine screens, there was a solitary musical performer with an instrument. It didn't take long to see with their headphones that they were all performing as a symphony even though isolated in separate rooms. The hour-long piece was moving to the point that I sure didn't want to leave and so I stayed until the end. The New York Times wrote beautifully about the artist and this work when it came to the US for the first time.

Below are two videos, the first is Ragnar talking about the inspiration and execution of the piece and the second video is a four minute excerpt but it really does not do it justice, it is the kind of art that should be experienced in real time at the museum.

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