Physical Virtual Reality: Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away

Liz Stinson on |
“Yayoi Kusama—once known for painting dots for more than 50 hours straight with no food or sleep—has been living in a Tokyo psychiatric hospital since 1977. She checked herself in after a nervous breakdown, disappearing from the art world for a while, but she never lost her fascination with dots and points of light. Back in the ‘60s, Kusama worked with an electrician to create an early infinity-room installation involving mirrors and electric lights. But it used only five colors. By 2008, still living in the hospital, she was building hallucinatory rooms with programmable LEDs, which are easy to manipulate, last a long time, and emit little heat. Those qualities allowed her to compose the lights like music: She could incorporate a vast array of colors and create smoother, more precise transitions from light to dark. That gave the artist a “nimbleness that wasn’t there before,” says Alison de Lima Greene, a curator at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. With these new LEDs, Kusama could ­realize the exact hues and transi­tions that she had always imagined.” Wired Magazine