Brionna J.: Reflections on Pyramid Experiment

Studio Art

So, constructing the pyramid ignited in me a new appreciation and interest in controlled spaces and atmospheres.

At my high school, none of the windows opened/ we had air pumping throughout the building. I remember thinking that was rediculous–what happens if/ when a chemical spill in the chemistry lab circulates its fumes through the ducts?

Controlled spaces fascinate me. They remind me of heuristics:

” experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery. Heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution, where an exhaustive search is impractical. Examples of this method include using a “rule of thumb”, educated guess, an intuitive judgment, or common sense.”

Think about it: what are the heuristics of an art gallery? You walk in, remain silent, perhaps tilt your head, stand pensively in front of a piece, and casually but noncomittally walk on to puruse the next piece. Why don’t we touch? Why is our first institnct to stand back? Why do we tell children not to touch?

The heuristics of our pyramids were fascinating to watch. People would come in, and wait expectantly, knowing that “something” was supposed to happen, that there was assuredly a task or experience awaiting them. I kind of wanted to remain silent during my audio experiment, and have the participants listen to the world around them, instead of my prerecorded and planned-out experience. I knew what I wanted them to feel, the same way a museum knows what it wants its patrons to see.

The experiment opened up the human senses as a potential mode of artistic exploration. Feeling, after all, is how we often know we are “alive”–it’s an affirmation of our personhood. We walk to class, so we know we are capable of independent movement. We prick our fingers, and thus remind ourselves of the percinian corpuscles and mechanoreceptors below our skin’s surface. We create art–houses, wood carvings, dinners–to remind ourselves that we are still capable of creation.

…right? no?

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