This past week, I went on a day trip to Washington DC with Tim and two of his best friends. I’ve been to DC countless times before, since I only live a couple hours away, but this time I wanted to visit the new exhibit Wonder at the Renwick Gallery before it disappears this May. The exhibit featured installations from contemporary American artists, meant to inspire awe in the imaginations of its viewers.
One of the questions the exhibit poses is this: What makes you wonder?
Something that my acting professor often brings up is that there are several different ways that we see the world. Sometimes when we sit and think we are lost in an internal world-of the thoughts and dreams and concerns that only apply to us. We look at one thing but think about another. Everything is seen through the glass of our present state of mind and what’s going on inside of us. Other times, we sit and think about the room around us–the people and objects that make up our everyday lives and worlds. The things that concern us most are the things that directly impact us. But sometimes, we see the world outside of ourselves. We recognize that there are countries and continents and planets and stars full of color and movement and life that exist outside of the space we take up. We get a sense of “the big picture” of the world and, for a moment, we consider it.
While in the Wonder exhibit, I entered the room designed by Janet Echelman and laid on the floor, surrounded by fellow humans. On the ceiling was a large, suspended sculpture that hung over us like a filmy net of color. As we were lying there, the lights illuminating the instillation changed colors, shifting the room between pink, orange, red, and purple. It felt like resting under our own version of the northern lights–an ever-changing heaven encapsulated in a tiny room.
It was one of those moments when I felt that third type of vision. Even though I was in a single room in a somewhat small museum half a block from the Whitehouse, I felt wonder. My imagination was stirred. The universe felt open to me with all its possibilities.
It was just a small moment in a busy day, but I hope it’s something my brain will continue to feed on for the weeks to come.