XYZ: NYC 10 Downing

“Reality is perception,” therefore no one can experience this show like you can.

No Longer Empty is a non-for-profit public art organization that basically turns abandoned store fronts into galleries and public spaces for a period of time. Their most recent show was XYZ: NYC 10 Downing. This exhibition featured the art of Leslie Eastman and Natasha Johns-Messenger, two native Australian artists, who collaborated over the last 8 years in institutions that aim to manipulate sight, mind, and perception.

This was no typical art gallery; the walls were not covered with paintings and there were no statues strategically placed in the halls. It was purely interactive; it may not seem like much, but by installing mirrors, walls, screens, reflection stickers, cameras, and magnifying glasses, the artists created a setting that put your educated brain to shame. It distorted how you saw reality by simply changing your point of view in a triangular-shaped room. The gallery assistant would place your vision in the space of friends and others, pushing a wall in your mind that you didn’t even know existed. They’d give you a helmet-like device that quite literally enabled you to see the world through someone else’s eyes. The helmet blocked your view, and instead showed you what your friend (in an identical helmet) was seeing. It’s like seeing yourself from a third person point of view! How easily could you adapt when your perception of life is suddenly in third person?

The exhibition put you in many different positions and flips the way you perceive them. It reminded me of Buddhism, in the way that your perception influences reality.

~Maya W.K.

The Buddha