I want to know, 2019
Art + Technology Lab grant recipient I.R. Bach’s project, I want to know is inspired by a mysterious encounter Bach experienced while camping in a mountain range in Mexico. The pro...
Art + Technology Lab grant recipient I.R. Bach’s project, I want to know is inspired by a mysterious encounter Bach experienced while camping in a mountain range in Mexico. The project’s first component consisted of fieldwork: the artist made multiple expeditions into the volcanic field outside Mexico City to investigate the spontaneous appearance of strange flashing lights in the mountains. Since 2007, artist I.R. Bach has been making trips to the volcanic fields outside of Mexico City to study mysterious lights appearing in the mountains. There has been much local speculation about the origin of this phenomenon, but Bach is not setting out to solve mysteries. Rather than pursuing scientific explanations, his work conveys the remarkable experience of witnessing such a thing. He described his feelings of this experience as “...when they appeared in the sky, it became clear to me that this extraordinary phenomenon was not a natural occurrence. I stood in awe, transfixed in a way that I had not experienced since childhood, when a single feeling could alter my worldview. Yet doubt quickly followed, because what my eyes were telling me went against common sense".
For the second component, Bach developed a performance with mirrors in the hills of Los Angeles to create a triangular light drawing that visitors could view from the balcony of LACMA’s BCAM building. Bach also expanded his investigation to encompass a variety of separate yet related unexplained phenomena. Although Bach was logging the appearances of the lights, and documenting them with a low-light camera, his output offers no explanations of their appearance as much as it presents a record of their existence. The images avoid any speculation one might have, going to the core of the phenomenon, and triggering the same initial impulse of wonder that ultimately drives our curiosity, our questions, and, ultimately, our beliefs.Seeking to emulate the phenomenon, Bach staged a mirror performance in Los Angeles's eastern hills, creating a triangular light drawing that visitors could view from the balcony of LACMA's BCAM building. Looking northeast from the museum, one could see one, then two, then three lights flashing in the distance.