Chicago Millennium Park- Anish Kapoor’s “Cloud Gate” aka the Bean- reflecting completely, imperfectly, adjusting identity.
Where am I?
Is that me? Wave, gesture, adopt a strange pose, identify myself. Take a photograph.
Move closer, more naturally, softly. Take another photograph.
Come closer still, look into my own eyes.Take another photograph.
Bring my flesh hand up to meet the hand of the other me. Touch. Pause. Engage. Laugh
Everyone was comfortable seeing themselves in this mirror. Perhaps the sheer scale, where noone could ‘look fat’. Perhaps the distortion of curvature released us from the perfect image.
The innocent delight and joy of visitors, the gradient from disbelief to engagement, like the bean itself, another curve to navigate. Strangers clustered closely together under the arch, openly borrowing each other – person and image – for context and orientation.
And tonight, a musical accompaniment. The Benjamin Britten War Requiem performed live, nearby, outdoors. As I walked around the Bean, we experienced perfect but subtly distorted surround sound, courtesy of the echo-reflections of nearby buildings.
I like to think this is a rehearsal for how we will experience our first alien visitors – astonished, delighted, fearless, engaged.