My visit to the Whitney was an interesting one. I slowly realized that I started to analyze the users of each piece much more than the piece itself.
Larry Bell, Pacific Red II (2017)
It seemed like most of the viewers of the piece were taking selfies in the reflection of the boxes more than actually viewing the cityscape through the red glass, which may or may not be intentional. I think it might because of how the inner cube made the reflection of the user stronger, so as the user walks past the cubes, they first see the city, and then their own reflection. Since the cubes both act as a filter as well as a mirror, it's a very nice piece for Instagram.
Porpentine Charity Heartscape
I only played one of the choose your adventure stations in this room, but I found that it disturbed me much more than the real violence piece. The juxtaposition of how the story starts and how it ends greatly affected me. Because we associate these choose your adventure games with childhood and fun, when the game takes a turn into the weird, I felt a sensation of fear.
Throughout the piece, the text was aligned left and stopped about a third into the screen.There was a moment when the text started to go off the screen with text that seemed nonsensical. I like how the artist breaks rules that were previously established to stir up an emotional response in the user.
John Rippenhoff's "The John Rippenhoff Experience"
The Rippenhoff Experience was an interesting attraction. There was always a line for it due the nature of its setup. I think that the sight of seeing someone sticking their head into something mysterious helped with that, inciting others to stand in line and wonder what is actually inside this mystery box. The concept of hiding an infinity inside a tiny box was very strong with the piece. I liked how you needed to ascend the ladder in order to enter to this space, acting as a kind of stepladder to the next dimension or something. I'm unsure if it was intended or not, but the inside of the box was very warm. It seemed to add to the experience since the different climate inside the box added to the fact that the user is entering a totally new world.
Jordan Wolfson’s “Real Violence”
Real Violence was also a big attraction, being the only VR installation in the museum. Not unlike the John Rippenhoff experience, much of the intrigue was watching others interact with the piece. While I waited on line, I saw some people take off their headset immediately, some until the end of the piece. People left with disgust and laughter and silence. The commentary after was also entertaining. "I need to go watch some Spongebob now."
I decided to watch the whole thing through. It was a bit blurry since I had to take my glasses off. I had to really squint to see the violence, which might have added to the experience. I squinted the entire time. When the audio cut off and then the video, I took off the headset and saw that I was the last person still at the exhibit. I wasn't sure whether or not to wear this accomplishment proudly or shamefully.
Barkley L. Hendricks’ “Steve”.
It reminded me of Robert Irwin's work, on how objects blend into the background. The subject seems to almost disappear into the canvas, yet he doesn't because he looks so damn cool. The reflection off of Steve's sunglasses strike me the most. The reflection looks like he's inside the interior of a church, looking at stained glass. However from our perspective, his backdrop is a pure white. Words that popped into my head were heaven, angel, style, swagger.