In a dark room in the middle of Hong Kong, there's a new reprieve from the bustling city. It's a forest -- although it looks nothing like the dense greenery covering the nearby mountains.
This one glows. The so-called "pixel forest" is made up of 3,000 LED lights, suspended by plastic cables that twist like vines, blinking red, blue, green, yellow and pink, in tandem with the music. The shiny black floor forms a glassy lake that reflects each rough, twinkling crystal, creating a kind of infinity.
The immersive work from multimedia artist Pipilotti Rist was inspired by her experience using virtual reality goggles. Although she said she could feel the room around her, the 60-year-old "felt extremely lonely," she recalled.
Rist examines the internal chaos of our digital world through what she called a "rough, raw virtual reality" that viewers can touch and explore. Walking through her pixel forest, it's hard not to picture yourself standing inside a phone or laptop screen -- or, to see a kind of beauty in this broken down and blown-up version of our digital world. The experience may help visitors recognize how easy it is to become lost in technology.
"It's sometimes an illusion. People think, 'Oh, we're totally in contact,' but actually, being together (in person) is something totally different," Rist said.
The installation is among almost 50 of her works on show at her first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, "Behind Your Eyelid," which showcases three decades of work at the JC Contemporary gallery. In it, Rist also considers the things that separate us, and the facades we must pierce through to connect with one another.
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