PODA: LOOK AT ME
Houston Arts Alliance
This is the fourth in a series of posts highlighting the Portable On Demand Art (PODA) 2.0 project and the artists who created temporary art works through this civic art endeavor. The Portable On Demand Art (PODA) project is a temporary public art installation series featuring the transformation of PODS® Containers into works of art. Learn more about the first installment of PODA, which debuted in 2011, by clicking here.
Walking into Thomas Rolls’s PODS Container first gives the feeling of quiet and stillness, not unlike the experience felt when entering Troy Stanley’s Park On Demand Space (…greener on the other side). The charming command upon discovering the POD, Look at Me, draws visitors in with an unassuming and playful jolt. But as the visitor looks around, he/she is invited to stop, sit and engage in an experience that is uniquely surreal, visceral and personal simultaneously. A single chair is positioned a precise distance from a floor-to-ceiling mirror, and from this chair the visitor is instructed to focus entirely on his/her own image. What follows is an intentional ultra-sensory psychological experience (and experiment) where the viewer becomes the installation, observing his or her reactions to external stimuli projected on the surrounding walls.
It’s no surprise that the notion of (ultra-)sensory experiences is central to filmmaking and the experience of watching films. The design of traditional theater environments, with massive screens, darkly lit auditoriums and state of the art projection and audio systems make the experience of even the most unassuming film an immersive indulgence. Innovations like the introduction of IMAX in the early 70s, followed by IMAX 3D a couple of decades later bring the viewer inside the film, ensuring every pulse-stopping moment is experienced in the realest sense. Thomas Rolls’s adaptation of these themes central to the enjoyment of film – from the simple black box theater to depositing the viewer in the middle of the experience – play on the viewer’s general understanding of consuming cinema and create Rolls’s ultimate goal of a psychological experiment in which the viewer both creates and stars.
Experience Look at Me for yourself, on view now through the end of May at locations across Greater Houston.