3.30.17 / New York / New York

You Can Now Experience The Transformative Power Of Silence

installation-srgm-doug-wheeler-psad-synthetic-desert-III

It might be strange to bring up the value of silence when just days ago we were down in Miami for a week of nonstop thumping DJ sets. But here at A Hotel Life, we’ve always sought balance – mezcal fueled parties followed by deep meditation; a little chaos, a little serenity. So it makes sense that after one of the noisiest weeks in Miami, we search for a respite…in one of the noisiest cities in the world. But New York serves as the perfect backdrop, the best possible canvas for Doug Wheeler’s latest work, PSAD: Synthetic Desert III.

Open now at the Guggenheim, with Synthetic Desert Wheeler has created a soundless chamber meant to create the sensory experience of infinite space, which Wheeler likens to his experience of Arizona deserts. Though originally intended as a purely meditative experience for one person at a time, the timed and ticketed exhibit accommodates a maximum of 5 people at a time, and is completely sold out for April. It’s easy to see why; the idea of a personal, sensory experience has always had major appeal (Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room comes to mind), but this time the viewer is encouraged to consider silence in a highly disruptive world. And this exhibit isn’t intended to be social – naturally phones aren’t allowed at the exhibit, though some viewers have already pointlessly broken that rule – which holds even greater appeal, when every single interaction, experience, or news byte is constantly demanding our attention. It’s a simple concept, but the kind that might serve as a revelatory experience for anyone receptive to it. As Wheeler told the New York Times, “In a supersilent anechoic chamber, the most that most people can endure is about 40 minutes before they start going batty. I don’t want that experience. I just want you to experience something that you’ve never experienced before, and I think it will be elating. I think you will experience a sense of expanse and distance.”

PSAD: Synthetic Desert III is on view at The Guggenheim Museum until August 2nd