An interactive installation at Intermission Gallery (2019)

Artwork Description

This interactive installation is an exhibition of Jessica Tanto's paintings in complete darkness. Viewers were invited to take a glowing anklet before walking in to prevent themselves from bumping to another audience. Aside from the glowing anklets, there is nothing else to see in the room. Only paintings to feel with fingers and sniff with the nose.

Artist's Personal Reflection

Most art museums and galleries I've been to would make it clear that I, as an audience, am unworthy of the glorious, ethereal artworks they are exhibiting. They do this by maintaining a physical distance between me and the artworks using barricades and banners which say 'DO NOT TOUCH'. With the amount of distance, all I could do was look at the art.

Why is there only room to use my eyes in art galleries, when I have 5 modes of sensing: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch? As someone who is very sensitive to smell and textures, I tried to bring these modes of sensing to the gallery space to observe how people would respond.

My work forced people to use their sense of smell and touch through making the room completely dark, thus, taking away the option of using sight to enjoy the paintings.

I found it interesting that people broke the rules of the installation in order to somehow view the artwork. Some took off their glowstick anklets to shine it on the painting, and others shined their phone flashlights on the paintings. The curator of my show said that the audience’s rebellious act suggested their strong reliance on vision over their other senses. I thought that was a really interesting interpretation!

Documentation photographs by Melbourne Film Studio

Interactive curatorial text by Beatrice Rubio-Gabriel and Jessica Tanto

Audience lining up to get an anklet before entering the 'exhibition'

5 Glowsticks placed under each painting to mark the walls of the space and where the paintings are.

Glowstick anklets walking around in the exhibition space