I walk into a dark and barren room. I see a man prostrated in the corner. Weird. I'm not sure if he's part of the installation or a patron. Then the cracks between the wooden floorboards emit sharp red light. The floor gyrates. "There's a man lying down in there." I ask the security guard, "Is he part of the art?"
"No, no," the guard reassures me, "He's a patron, like you."
I go back into the room. The man is gone. The floorboards start to vibrate again. Sounds begin to gurgle around me. Before I can remember that I'm in a museum, I've laid down just like the "weird" man. The vibrations of the floorboards lull my body. Then the phone in my vest starts to vibrate as well. My friend wants to know where I am. "I'm in a vibrating room in YBCA," I tell her, "Come quick!"
When we leave the gallery, I read the statement on the artist's plaque: "The structure itself may...contain certain energies." Where did Joshua Churchill get the "energies" to make this room? I had to talk to the artist to find out how he was able to make something so subtle into something so palpable.
Fathom is part of Bay Area Now 5 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts through November 16, 2008. For tickets and information visit ybca.org.