Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Goldfish Bowl Syndrome"

September 10th, 2013 - Ueno Park

I just visited a... new(?) or extensively remodeled public art gallery in Ueno today (I think extensively remodeled).  In fact I just walked out of the building about ten minutes ago.  To explain the experience briefly:

1) Confusion - there are many display areas in the museum, along with many stairs, elevators, etc., and I had a little (not much, but a little) difficulty finding the right floor, and then the right entrance area.
(General illustration photo taken in a different enclosed structure.)

2) Good first impression - high ceilings, large display space, very nice paintings.  Nice-looking rest area rooms with no ventilation, but a nice view of the green outdoors - one enclosed rest area for each display space (several of which were used for the single group exhibition I was there to view/experience).

3) Fatigue - I'm tempted to say "extreme fatigue", but I suppose that would be a slight exaggeration.  Why fatigue?  Primarily due to bad air.  Bad quality air with chemical smells and an uncomfortably warm/stuffy temperature.  Towards the end I had an almost overpowering urge to open a window (none of the windows can be opened however), and a growing feeling bordering on panic that I *needed* to get out of that horrible air - or more accurately - that I very badly needed fresh air outside.

4) Another element of fatigue - but regarding the horrible lighting only.  The lighting is - I suspect - the new variety of stark-white intense LED lighting that seems very nice for about five minutes, and then the longer you're exposed to it, the more difficult it is to keep your increasingly painful eyes open.  "That's it?  Bad air and bad lighting?"  Yeah... but if you can barely breathe and barely keep your eyes open, then what's left?  Sound?  It wasn't a concert, and anyway, when you can barely breathe and your eyes are in pain, nothing is enjoyable.
Conclusion: If I need to enter that space again for an exhibition, next time I'll make a note of the time I enter the building and get myself back out of there within about ten minutes.  It was that bad.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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