Jack and John went to Liverpool to experience a piece of art by Kurt Hentschlager called 'ZEE' at the art house FACT which had an exhibition on called 'Abandon Normal Devices' which ZEE was being exhibited in. The theme of the art work being shown was 'Belief'.
Rick had told us about it at university a few days before...or even weeks before, so we knew what we were going to.
We went straight to FACT and went to sign up for the 'ZEE'. The guy took us round the back...and explained what the situation was, he essentially said
'Its a room which is fogged up so you can't see anything and then once your in, strobe lights will come on making you see all sorts of trippy patterns...oh and by the way, sigh this form before you go in to say if you have a fit or a seizure we have nothing to do with it. If you have any doubts don't go in'
I had a small doubt.
John signed up, and after some careful consideration, Jack signed up. too. In johns words I 'woman-ed out'. They went in....10 minuets later they were out. They raved about it, saying I had to go in, its really good, we're going in again afterwards!
To cut this part short, we went for lunch, then I struck a deal which involved going to a Beatles museum and then I'd join you in the ZEE.
Back at FACT, we all signed up for the 'ZEE'. Having Jack and John think it was a good experience and not at all scary, my nerves weren't that bad. Once we were called to go downstairs we got another warning from a lady saying 'Its going to fill up with fog and get pretty intense in there, don't breath through the mouth a lot as it will feel uncomfortable...and if you feel like your going to faint call me. Any doubts, don't bother coming in'.
I went in.
We went into the 'pre fog room' which had a small amount of fog in, to get you used to the experience, then she opened the door to the main exhibit. They had ropes which started at the door and went deeper into the space, them curved back round towards the door. The room was still filling with fog and you could see people at first, but as you shuffled further into the room it got more and more intense until I couldn't see johns behind (which wasn't a bad thing!). Then the strobes came on and then experience began.
You know, it was weird, I really enjoyed it to begin with. Jack described what you see quite well by saying its like looking at a kaleidoscope, although I could relate to this, I can't speak for everyone. In terms of how I felt,it came in waves, at one point i was loving it, then it all dawned on me where i am and that I can't see the exit and i started to feel enclosed ...then more pretty colours emerged, embedded in my eyes. And so it went like that for most of it.
It was during the time when I was loving the experience and i'd let go of the rope to try and loose all sense of where I was, when some horrific screaming came from inside the room and suddenly my out of body experience went away in a flash and reality kicked in real fast. I panicked and immediately looked for the rope to get out.
I got out pretty quick and so did the staff member who went to get help for the guy still in the exhibit...i didn't know what was wrong with him though. Once out i waited for a minuet or two, then John and Jack emerged. We talked about the experience whilst waiting to hear what became of the guy who went a little 'west'.
We came to the conclusion he must have fainted or had a total panic attack. He was ok in the end.
I'm glad I experienced the exhibition and speaking to a woman afterwards who was in there with us, the whole 'guy screaming incident' just added to the whole experience!
Here's Me and Jack in the exhibition...
I'm on the left and jack's...errrr maybe its the other way round, i don't know...
In terms of the exhibit itself, it comes across in the leaflet as a calm and relaxed piece of art; using words like 'immersive' and 'ethereal' (if you don't know what that means, look it up) and in a quote from the leaflet, the last line is,
'Swim! the free white sea, infinity, lies before you'
ZEE is selling itself as a very calm and relaxed spiritual piece and is in an exhibition which is based upon the word 'belief'. I felt the disclaimer forms and talks before hand are a real put off and even if you agree, it ruins that experience of calmness which its trying so hard to be. Yet when your in there, its out of this world!