los-angeles

Carsten Höller, Upside-Down Mushroom Room, 2000, polystrol, polyester, wood, paint, metal, electrical motors, plasterboard, neon light, and glass, 14' 9“ x 19' 9” x 41'.

“Ecstasy”

MOCA Geffen Contemporary

THERE IS A MOMENT in Talo/The House, 2002, a video installation by the Finnish artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila currently on display at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, where the furtive glimpse of a dog triggers an altogether different kind of vision: “Outside a new order arose, one that is present everywhere. Everything is now simultaneous, here, being.” The monologue is derived from the artist’s interviews with schizophrenics and other people suffering from mental disorders, but we have all known moments like this, when we harbor intimations of a deeper design, of a dream logic beneath the surface of things, of an incandescence in the mind. These intensities—perhaps nothing more than shivers of the brain—are the grace notes of consciousness, known empirically before they are known conceptually. But even the most direct experience of trance or intoxication is refracted through cultural

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