It jostled against the lenses of my glasses: colour, a pink flatness which I couldn’t feel, even though it seemed to have solidity. I couldn’t feel it on my skin; there was no resistance as I inchingly stepped forward into this expanse which both was density and wasn’t.
I was lucky enough to visit Ann Veronica Janssen’s yellowbluepink at the Wellcome Collection recently, with only two other companions, and have been thinking about it ever since; what it does to the senses, what it makes you think about the senses… but mostly just about the experience, the downright disorientating weirdness of it.
After the sci fi billowing of clouds around our feet as we closed the first set of double doors and prepared to open the second, I kept my fingertips on the wall. It was an arm’s length away: I could feel but not see it. After a while I stepped out into it, this whatever-it-was (a ghost? Of what, though? Of an object? A room?) and – bolder – took strides forward. The colour graduated, changing to yellow, and I was in fog under sun. Forward again, and it felt colder, darker, murky, denser as blue pressed against my eyes. I hit the back wall.
I could see, yes, but I couldn’t. If I held a hand up to my face, I could make out its dark outline. The floaters in my eye’s fluid danced, shudderingly numerous and clear. It was like being suspended in the deep end of a swimming pool, except it wasn’t, because it didn’t feel like that, it only looked a bit like that. One of my companions said it reminded him of ice-climbing; he kept kicking and digging with his feet as if to get a toe-hold on the surface. But there was no surface right in front of us, only the floor underneath, the walls, the ceiling. And this mist.
Go, if you get the chance.