Stay safe at a distance with the interactive installations of Bright Golden Haze
Staying connected is more difficult than usual these days. In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as we keep our distance from each other in the name of public health, many are left feeling more isolated than ever. But with the limited-access opening of Oklahoma Contemporary's inaugural Bright Golden Haze exhibition, visitors can connect with others safely through interactive installations that bring us together — at a distance.
"I want people to think a little bit about what it means when you’re part of a system, but you don’t have complete control," artist Camille Utterback said. The artist's dual channel interactive installation (Entangled) is a delicate dance of software, cameras, projectors, lights and — most importantly — people. The work is designed so participants can manipulate projected imagery from opposite sides of a set of translucent scrims. "In fact, it’s a shared space with the people on the other side of the scrim. So you have to negotiate that in a real, physical space."
Oklahoma Contemporary's limited-access, timed-ticketing system allows visitors to experience interactive works like Utterback's at their own pace, with plenty of room to explore. In addition to online reservations allowing more than 2,400 square feet per visitor, additional safety measures include mandatory masks for all staff and visitors, along with stringent protocols for sanitation, capacity and social distancing.
Leo Villareal's Star Ceiling 2 is another installation bringing people together at a distance. The mesmerizing light show crafted through binary code features artist-designed, zero-gravity benches located on opposite ends of the room. "You don't just come in, look at it and leave," Villareal said. "It's a space for you to actually experience and spend time with the work.
Of course, the interactive fun of Bright Golden Haze isn't limited to indoor spaces. Installed in Campbell Art Park, just outside our new state-of-the-art facility, Jen Lewin's Aqueous is a literal light landscape — a swirling pageant of vivid color, changing with each footstep across its winding surface. "The heart and soul of all this work is really about bringing people together," Lewin said. "It's about creating this connected experience. It's about sort of this joyful way that you can come into your community to interact with a piece of art, and then not only notice the work but also the people around you. That's the art."
Giving people space to safely experience works like these is crucial right now, according to local arts advocates like Bright Golden Haze presenting sponsor Annie Bohanon. “At times like this, the arts are especially important,” she said. “They uplift our spirits and give us hope for the future. Oklahoma Contemporary is a special space to stimulate our senses. It elevates our minds in the possibility of things, like light!”
Reserve your limited-access spot now to safely connect with your community through the power of art, indoors or out. Until your in-person visit, learn more about a few of these works by revisiting interviews with Camille Utterback and Leo Villareal from our Illuminations video series and plan to watch a virtual gallery talk with Francesca Giani at 7 p.m. Thursday.
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