Painting with light.



Naoshima Island is off the coast of Japan.

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. Your legs find a bench.

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.

Glows: pale white.

You watch the light slowly brighten.

After ten minutes, an eternity, an attendant appears.

He says:

The room is still dark. Your eyes have adjusted.

Nothing's changed, only you.

At the end, you're invited to touch the screen.

You walk to the front and reach for it.

There's nothing.