paper : kissing the sky


A recently completed journal article, submitted for publication in the IDEA Journal issue ‘Writing/Drawing: Negotiating the Pleasures and Perils of Interiority. Edited by Sarah Treadwell.
Image courtesy of kalevkevad via flickr.

Abstract: Interiority typically constructs an ambience, or atmosphere, distinct from the unruly weather–atmosphere of the exterior. But this relationship is more complicated than mere separation; the exterior and interior are held together in a dynamic interplay of atmospheres, surfaces, materials and perceptions. This interplay is foregrounded in the work of James Turrell, whose projects engage in the complexity of this relationship, and embrace ambiguous and oscillating readings of inside and outside. Drawing attention to these inter–connections disrupts our habitual attention and invites a reconsideration of the categories we employ that allow us to make useful sense of the world.

This paper will discuss an installation by Turrell called Meeting, in reference to Sylvia Lavin’s notion of kissing, an extended metaphor which uses the term in both its bodily and geometric senses. Kissing will be used to think through the relationships present in an experience of Turrell’s work. I will examine how combinations of our bodies, atmosphere–weathers, and atmosphere–ambiences, intermix to create new, durationally dependent definitions of threshold, which complicate the interior and distinguish it from the discipline of architecture.