James Turrell - Bindu Shards (2010)

I am placed on a sliding medical bed and locked into the sphere. And it begins. 

A relaxed ambient expanse of blue is shattered by high-speed flashing that rapidly becomes an ever-changing pattern of flowers, crystals, galaxies, quasars and nebulae.

Then I see a cityscape of vertiginous skyscrapers, with no earth below. All these forms and volumes that pulse and metamorphosise are defined by colours that change convulsively – the most intensely saturated greens and reds you can imagine, colours that seem solid, then burst into microscopic patterns of oranges, blacks, gold and misty white; all these colours bubble and whir at breakneck speed, as if you were in a particle accelerator.

But the most important part of the experience is that you do not know what is inside and outside your head. I saw a space, or rather an ever-changing succession of spaces, but these were independent of any actual material reality – they existed only in my head.

What the perceptual cell does is bombard you with flashing lights to trigger the mind’s eye by exploiting a perceptual phenomenon called the Purkinje effect. The whole of space seems compressed into your skull.”

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