I am currently collaborating on an interactive installation titled Inner Space, that will be presented at Los Almendros Event Center , in Santiago, Chile, in August 2019. Here is the project description and working photos of the installation as it progresses.
Inner Space is an immersive, large scale installation that invites viewers on a journey through light, video, audio, hanging fabric and suspended glass, offering a meditation around dissipating despair and walking between worlds. The piece is a collaboration between three female artists in different disciplines. One of the three, Michelle Mackenzie Felsenhardt, died of cancer in the midst of creating this project.
The installation is inspired by Michelle’s journey with Triple Negative Breast Cancer, sourced from her questions and visions that lead to an inner space available to all of us, regardless of circumstance. Michelle was a Chilean artist, psychologist and singer who called more than one continent home. Her complex heritage encompassed South American roots and Polish holocaust survivors. She was the first member of her family to be diagnosed with the BRCA1 gene, linked to cancer, although she discovered that it may link her to women she never knew.
If you were told that you might have months to live, barring a medical miracle, how would you choose to face each day? Michelle described illness as a “crash course” in questions that get lost in the vortex of everyday life. In her words: “The experience of sensing death in your physical body confronts you with simple deep questions: how will I face my children’s eyes every morning, how will I face mine? …but then something unexpected happens: the dark seed of despair can open a crack into something that is so big that it can only be touched by your soul: it’s the journey into the center of your heart where your holy spark dwells.”
Inner Space invites viewers to consider this journey, and to practice the art of letting go. Structurally, visitors enter along a path of shimmering light, enclosed by Michelle’s photo printed fabric, along a path of sparking light on water that opens into a wider circle. Within this circle, visitors walk among suspended droplets of fused glass, designed to connect the worlds above and below. Around the perimeter of the circle, video projections feature intimate scenes of Michelle’s relationship to the elements of earth, roots and water. At the center, an empty vessel invites viewers to let something go. Viewers will also be invited to leave messages of letting go in the pouches of the hanging glass droplets.
In Michelle’s words: “As you journey into the light, you desperately try to reconnect with your inner healer, you don’t want to die. Despair wants things fast, but the process will not be rushed. As you move along you go in and out of the light. Suddenly and slowly rays of life may appear through the cracks of the old cement plate of your cancer as you continue to look, and look, and look…”
Produced by filmmaker Jessica Plumb, with glass artist Aura Shahaf Woelfle and Michelle’s partner David Plumb, Inner Space will be exhibited for the first time in Michelle’s memory on August 21st at the event center Los Almendros in Santiago Chile. The installation is planned to come to the United States in fall 2019 for exhibition in Portland, Maine.