week sixty-eight — the pénétrable

i’m back from my Iceland/Faroe Islands trip, which means i’m back to posting a photo of the week!

this shot comes from a trip to the Pénétrable de Chicago exhibit in the Art Institute of Chicago. from the Art Institute’s website: “In 1967 Soto created his first so-called pénétrable, a kind of luminous environmental sculpture that not only invites but in fact demands audience participation. One of only about 30 ever produced by the artist, this iconic installation is on display for the first time since 1986. An early example of Soto’s signature environments, Pénétrable de Chicago presents thousands of transparent filaments hanging from the ceiling in a rectangular formation. Visitors are thus invited to enter an immersive forest of plastic tubes that shimmer and shift in response to every movement. “We are in the world like fish in water,” Soto once explained. In keeping with such a metaphor, his multisensory pénétrables render our passage through space fully palpable.”

admittedly, while i was walking through the exhibit my thoughts were pretty basic (including such pithy gems as “this is cool!”)…but i was doing a little reflecting on the exhibit while i was looking for a post-worthy shot and some thoughts about the importance of living with presence came to mind. I could quote Seneca, Thich Nhat Hanh, Annie Dillard, or any of a number of others who have weighed in on the immeasurable value of living with a connection to the present that’s underscored in Soto’s work, but I’m reading an Alan Watts book so he gets the nod:

“… tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live.”

— Alan Watts

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