In my visit to the Cooper Hewitt Museum, NYC, I was amazed to see the association of everyday products with nature. There were several pieces that caught my attention. Three of them were The Curiosity Cloud, Fantasma, and The Substitute. All of them were a part of the “Nature” exhibit at Cooper Hewitt.
The Curiosity Cloud was an immersive experience in which artificially created butterflies were placed inside a bulb, and their movement was connected to the change in movement around them. So, as we moved close to a light bulb, the butterflies got activated, and the light bulb turned on, giving a visceral sense of life. I liked how the concept of the piece was laid out – enclosing butterfly species which we don’t find nearby - next to each other and having them interact when a person moves around them. That sense of connectedness among bird species incites conversation.
The next piece that I liked was Fantasma, which was a dress made from jellyfish material. The garment was that it was bioluminescent silk and it glowed in the dark. So, when I saw it in front of a glass, the garment turned yellow, just as jellyfish would in the sea. The interconnectedness of nature with the material was shown really well throughout the exhibit.
The last piece I want to mention in this post is the Substitute, which was a recreation of a rhino through artificial intelligence. The part that immersed me into this piece was the way the rhino was created – from a block shape to an entire animal. It felt as if a pixelated image was getting higher resolution. The placement of the art was done in a way that the rhino felt almost real and in front of me. Really well represented!
As always, the immersive room was one of the best immersive experiences at Cooper Hewitt. So, I went there again because it’s fun to watch countless tiles of your art being drawn on the wall in real time.
Link to the exhibition: https://www.cooperhewitt.org/channel/nature