Magazine article Artforum International

Julie Weitz: Young Projects

Magazine article Artforum International

Julie Weitz: Young Projects

Article excerpt

Julie Weitz



Beyond a glass front door, metal chains dangled breezily over a carpet of pink eggshell foam, which sprang back buoyantly from each footstep, absorbing its sound. Velvety black walls led beyond a wall of mirrors into the soft, gently throbbing darkness of the gallery's main room. A deep, almost sepulchral pulse seeped in from adjoining rooms, resonating with spooky syncopation, accompanied here and there by the jingle of spectral bells, a phantom trumpet. Six projections and three works on flatscreens, angled in odd directions through the space's irregular rooms, were doubled in the mirrors' reflections. A narrow crevice off the foamy foyer led to a pillowy nook where a screen showed a brain lit with shifting colored lights and splashed with splooges of light and dark paint as it spun within a black void. Headphones buzzed with ghostly layered recordings of the artist's steady whisper, which passed from ear to ear, creating a euphoric discombobulation. The voice recited excerpts from philosopher Henri Bergson's writings on cortical substance and consciousness, body and being: "What is the precise meaning of the word exist?" Julie Weitz's installation Touch Museum attempted to touch, physically and metaphorically, upon the relationship of sound to the body, to reflect upon the ethereal psyche caught in the sensations of corporeal flesh.

The installation drew upon the phenomenon of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), a somewhat controversial perceptual phenomenon characterized as a pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or cognitive stimuli. ASMR has birthed thousands of online videos showing fingers gently tapping, a hand softly brushing hair, a close-up of a mouth whispering, all made to inspire this chaste but powerful sensual pleasure. Regardless of the phenomenon's scientific standing (which is still under study), Weitz's invocation of these sensations in her darkling installation resulted in a tangible meditation on perception.

Entering an adjacent room, one found oneself enveloped in a total darkness that reduced all sensations to those generated by the spectral audiovisuals projected onto several staggered veils hung from the ceiling, which gave the projection the appearance of three-dimensionality. …

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