Western Bridge Turns Off the Lights Tomorrow

“Time Machine (Destroyer)” by Will Rogan

Curious about the newest installment at Western Bridge Gallery slated to open tomorrow, I ventured inside for a sneak peek. While my eyes adjust in the darkened hallway, director Eric Fredericksen explained that no gallery lights will be turned on for the Light in Darkness exhibit. Instead, gallery patrons will have to navigate through the 10,000-square-foot warehouse with incandescent bulbs, neon tubes and flashes of florescent lights from the art itself as their guide.

German-born artist Benjamin Bergmann displays the words “Me We” in his piece, “Muhammad Ali,” that references a poem by the famed boxer. Thought to be the shortest poem ever, the words are displayed by Bergman using colored light bulbs embedded in a metal frame. Other works include Jeppe Hein’s words “see, listen, taste, feel” illuminated on the wall.

Each piece tests the viewer’s vision. For a moment, patrons are encouraged to not only look at the artwork, but to also accept the eerie shadows as part of the artist’s work.

When asked about his favorite piece on display, Fredericksen excitedly walked into the biggest room in the gallery and points to a small television box. He explained that the artist, Will Rogan, used a simple camera (with the word “Time” prominently displayed on the front, most likely a free gift to magazine subscribers) and filmed it shooting a picture into the video lens, creating a moment of pure whiteness when the flash goes off. Titled “Time Machine (Destroyer),” Fredericksen finds the simple piece to be much more complex and thought provoking than it looks.

“It just seems so thorny to me,” he says standing in front of the black and white moving images. “The camera really is the simple form of a time machine,” he says pausing for a moment when the image is lost.

Thankfully, the exhibit won’t be disappearing anytime soon. Sun deprived Seattleites can find beauty shining in the dark (or even unlit on the floor like the work by Jason Dodge), as they walk through the gallery’s installation on display until the end of April.