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August 12, 2020

Now you can meditate (virtually) at the James Turrell Skyspace, “The Color Inside”

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While it may seem a contradiction to meditate by digital streaming, there’s an undeniable contemplative quality to James Turrell’s time-based light installations, known as Skyspaces.

Since its debut on top the University of Texas student activity center, Turrell’s “The Color Inside” offers a soothing light sequence every sunrise and sunset, when colored lights illuminate the walls and contrast the natural light in the open-air oculus, an opening in the small observatory-like chamber.

“The Color Inside” is one of the most popular works in the collection of Landmarks, UT’s public art program.

Last year, Landmarks launched a music series offering performances inside the Skyspace. Among the performances was one by composer and guitarist Matthew Lyons who was commissioned by Austin Classical Guitar to write a piece based on “The Color Inside.”

Now, Landmarks has paired Lyons’ 20-minute piece with a video of the light sequence from “The Color Inside,” offering it as a meditation for our stressful times.



Said Lyons of his composition: “Just as the gazers’ focus in the installation shifts between the sky and the changing colors of the installation, I want the music to be on the threshold of attention, sometimes engaging the audience more and other times falling into the background of the overall experience.

“Experiencing the slowly shifting colors seemed to me like a great analog for slowly changing harmonic progressions. As someone who has music synesthesia, I associate certain colors with certain harmonies — not so much poetically as literally. The shifting colors of the sky — from brighter, to red, to dark blue — influenced the harmonic structure of the piece.”

Landmarks plans to roll out a second Skyspace meditation video soon.

Screen it below or on Vimeo at vimeo.com/418937607

 


Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzinhttps://sightlinesmag.org
An award-winning arts journalist, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sightlines.

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