When I went to the sound and light therapy of Warrnambool Hot Springs in March 2021, the tangibility of the experience and presence felt very specific: this transportation of the body had high utility for me as a participant. The ‘caves’ were all purpose built and we knew, yet it didn’t matter because they worked. It was very practical – can art be like that with its practical and enveloping presence?
But then I also thought – it doesn’t seem to be involving brain functionally, intellectual thinking is left out, and does it mean that we isolate ourselves from the intellectualization of our context, past and present. Is it great, or ignorant, is it healing (remedial), or ‘shallow’?
The Warrnambool gallery exhibitions, on the other hand, required that kind of intellectual attention… It was aiming to enlighten, to educate, to make one think. It helped that it was not a large overwhelming space. The head had to function, consider, absorb and learn about the cultural and geological layers. What I loved in this display was the sofa that made it a comfortable area inviting to sit and watch – the film could have been even longer than it was. The lighting of photographs (drone images of drawings in sand of a beautiful dramatic coastline) had impact that enveloped eyes and even further, the whole body. The photos were impactful as visual marks.
How to combine nourishment for the body, the presentness, transformation, therapy, – and the ‘intellectual food’ for the brain?