Painting with light.



Off the coast of Japan, lies Naoshima Island.

Most visitors to the country don't make it on their first visit, it's a little off the beaten track. But worth it.

Around the island are art houses.

My favourite is by James Turrell.


After a wait, you enter a dark room.

It's totally black: so dark you can't see your own hand.

You walk in further, guiding yourself by the feel of the wall, until your legs brush against a bench and you can sit down.

And so you sit, in silence, alone.

After a few minutes, a faint outline appears on the far wall.

It takes shape: a distant screen.

Gradually it appears more defined.

It glows, but only a little.

Over time, you watch the light slowly brighten, until it becomes the mesmerising glow of a white screen.

After ten minutes, an eternity, an attendant appears.

He says:

The room is still dark. Your eyes have simply adjusted.

Nothing has changed, only you.

With that, you're invited to touch the screen.

You walk to the front and reach for the wall.

There's nothing.




For more like this, and writing on the future of art post-AI, check out ULTRA.