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Current time:0:00Total duration:4:41

Video transcript

we're in a small building on the land of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in a room designed by James Turrell looking out through an oculus a hole with no glass and the room itself is circular the entrance way narrower at the top wider at the bottom the geometries of the space are very simple it feels so elemental as we record this at 6:00 a.m. the James Turrell is activated only at dawn and dusk and as we sit here the lights that are at the edge of where the stone meets the wall change color but it's not so much that the walls change color but in the color of the sky is therefore changed so right now I'm looking at this cool yellow green and sky is the most intense rich vivid indigo moments before the walls were deep greenish yellow and what we saw through the oculus was a reddish gray so here time is an important subject a very slow movement of sunrise and then also the scale of time the changing of the lights that Tyrell is orchestrated for us I would argue that there's a third shift of time which is your own eyes adjustment and so it's this interaction between nature the intervention of the artist and our own experience and it's all about this relationship between the color because it's only the way in which the frame of the sky has been altered so what that makes me think about is how everything is contingent everything is related to everything else around it it makes me think that there is no one truth everything is dependent on human vision on what we bring to it our own perception and here we're talking about the color of the sky here we're talking about the earth below nothing could be more stable and yet James Turrell the artist has unveiled that contingent relationship between us and the world around us we normally think about works of art as things that are unchanging painting in a museum one week it's the same painting the next week and in a way that's part of the point about art for centuries is that it communicated something that was unchanging that was a truce that outlived us right and here Tyrell has created something which evolves and changes and looks likely different to you than it does to me the light has changed again and now there's this wonderful pink glow inside and the sky is this deep-sea green James Trails work is usually considered an earth work that is it is something that takes nature as its palette instead of paint on canvas and this was something that artists began to explore in the 1960s the period when there was increasing attention to human beings impact on nature in the ways that we were endangering our home the earth we're here on a cloudy day which is creating this very soft sky and it's in real contrast to the very sharp edge which I think is really important in trails work it's very difficult to not see this as an eye itself the circular shape of the room two circles inside that the area of color in the center I feel like I'm looking with my eyes and in some ways there's an eye that's looking at me that's an ancient idea and probably the most famous example of that is the pantheon Rome with its oculus and in fact the word oculus has the same root as our English word ocular and it does in fact mean eye and there's always been the sense of a relationship between our vision upward to the heavens and the way in which the eye of God may be looking down at us day has begun and we can see outside and I feel this tension between things that stay the same the circular spare shape of this room and the sky that's changing more visibly now as the light has come up so we're seeing more birds more clouds that pass so there's this tension between stillness and movement