Inside the ethereal dreamy landscape of the immersive art exhibit, “Tidepools” • the Hi-lo


An ambient soundscape hums through hidden speakers, the composition akin to the pleasant hums of a sound bath. Whistling. Without rhythm. Meditative.

The tour guide, in this case Allison Wall, proceeds by clicking on a flashlight, which emits a discreet red light.

“Watch your step go up,” she said, raising her voice to speak a little louder. The resonant soundtrack projects at a volume that would be dominant if it were any other genre.

You are led down a dark hallway. The wooden floor creaks with every step, as if one were walking on an old ship’s deck punished for decades by the sun and the sea. Combined with the music, one could imagine that they pass through a portal leading to an old one. distant temple.

The aural illusion is charming, given that the floor and adjoining installation to be seen were only recently constructed by the artist. Glenn kaino.

You turn left into an open room, brighter than the hallway but still dimly lit. The walls are covered from the floor to the structural beams of the ceiling in the same wood cladding you walked on moments before. But that observation comes later, as your head immediately swings to the left, staring at two transparent boxes that seem to glow.

The first phase of the “Tidepools” exhibition features “cloud chambers” that allow guests to see the physical manifestations of air particles. Photo by Joshua White.

Going down to eye level with the illuminated rectangular beacons, you see… salt? Or what looks like granules, but holographic, without substance. They seem to fall, some more steadily like a misty rain but disturbed by darting grainy streams that hiss aimlessly within the boundaries, disappearing seconds after appearing again and again.

“Fog chambers are scientific devices designed to let you see particles of air that we normally can’t see with the naked eye,” says Wall, Compound’s exhibition coordinator.

Scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory helped Kaino craft the cloud chambers, iconic sculptures of the Los Angeles-based multimedia artist’s fascination with science and obsession with illusion, the latter skill that ‘he studied for over a decade which earned him an exclusive Magic Castle membership.

The base of the fog chamber is charged with a layer of frozen isopropyl alcohol. When immersed in the evaporating mist, viewers can see the grain-shaped manifestations of neurons, protons, muons, and alpha particles swirling within.

“It’s fascinating,” said Hiroko Kusano, Compound’s COO.

Wall directs your attention to the left, to a 3D art composition hanging on the wall enclosed behind glass.

Shiny pieces of golden metal deconstructed from miniature car kits explode around a center-placed spiky sea urchin; Kaino calls it “Tidepools”.

“Tidepools” is also the name of the entire immersive art installation currently on display in Compound’s lab room. Every four to five months, the art venue and wellness center will commission an artist to take over the 1,900 square foot warehouse and transform the space into something totally unique.

Glenn Kaino was commissioned for the venue’s inaugural show, which officially opened on July 15 after not one, but two COVID-19-related setbacks.

The lab is meant to be experimental, Kusano said, and grants the artist absolute creative freedom. A second, more traditional style gallery is located inside the venue’s main building, titled “Radical Empathy”.

Reservations are required to view ‘Tidepools’ and only groups from the same household can enter together, hidden inside. Guests are encouraged to roam freely around the main complex and Compound’s Sculpture Garden, as an SMS notification will notify guests of their turn.

The “Tidepools” tour lasts approximately 10 minutes and consists of two phases. The fog chamber is the first, the second is the bioluminescent wishing well. The ambient soundtrack by musicians Nosaj Thing and Jacques Green is considered the third part of the installation, but only the first two are participatory.

A wooden cladding partition separates the cloud chamber from the wishing well. Around a corner, you see six thin bands of red light emanating from the floor. The lines stop at each point of a transparent hexagonal container about three feet high that tilts upward at the top, creating a smaller six-sided opening.

The second phase of “Tidepools” is the bioluminescent “good to be desired”. Photo by Joshua White.

“This is the wishing well,” said Wall. “Go ahead and you can make a wish and drop it in the well. Water illuminates the path of your wish and it will rest on the foundation of all other wishes.

You will need to disinfect your hands momentarily. Wall will present you with a ceramic “coin”, a white, oval, palm-sized disc that is smooth to the touch. You take a few steps to approach the well and suddenly the red lights go out. After a while you notice the subtle blue tint of the wishing well.

Water spurts out on contact with the disc in a shimmering, shimmering aquamarine ripple. As it descends into the water, the blue path is drawn in a stream of shimmering neon that lingers momentarily.

“Water, it has bioluminescent flagellates, it’s a type of plankton,” Wall says. “Any disturbance in the water and they will light up.”

This micro-replication of red tides, a natural phenomenon that occurs sporadically on southern California beaches, including the shores of Long Beach, is another scientific collaboration, this time with the Scripps Institute.

In the artist press release Kaino explains that his desire to create these magical and ethereal moments of visibility is a vector of empathy.

“They are meant to create moments of visibility for the things that are invisible around us. Most people don’t feel seen, understood. Making things visible is a form of empathy, ”he said. “And the light path – you can actually visualize your wish!” “

The experience ends when you are back in the dark reception hall. This time, however, Wall shows a projection of a 3D printed seashell hanging in front of the red spotlight. No one notices when they first walk in because their eyes are always adjusting, Wall explains.

The “Tidepools” exhibition will be open until the end of the year, organizers said. Entrance and exhibitions are free, however RSVP is strongly encouraged, Click here. The resort is open from noon to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

The resort is located at 1395 Coronado Ave.


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