Carsten Hollers High-Tech Vitruvian Man


“The work is actually a vehicle, it could bring you from one place to another,” Belgian artist Carsten Höller says of his work Double Sphere Hanging produced for Belvedere (RED), unveiled last Friday at the Avalon Club in Hollywood. There the work flickered high above Usher as he performed at the event.

Double Sphere Hanging is just that, one inside the other, with the inner chamber measured to fit the average human with arms extended like the Vitruvian Man. Hypothetically, one could crawl inside through one of many holes on the outside of the sphere, and roll down a hill, with the weight of the passenger keeping the inside sphere balanced on ball bearings. Rushing uncontrollably downhill, bright oscillating lights powered by a dynamo produce 7–8 hertz of electricity, “which is a frequency that interacts with your brainwaves—it would create a very particular sensation” says Höller. “The flicker of the lights is a lot like a hallucination, it can make you see things that aren’t really there, you start to see colors, you start to hear differently.”

Holler’s relationship with (RED) started three years ago with a large auction at Sotheby’s in London which produced 160 Million Pounds towards fighting AIDS in Africa. “Instead of just showing it in a gallery or selling, it’s getting complete visibility,” he says. Proceeds go to (RED).

The artist has often used outlandish strategies to tap into human experience and relational aesthetics. In his The Double Club (2008) in London, Höller divided the restaurant space into equally sized Western and Congolese sections to stress persistent political and spatial segregations. With Double Spheres Hanging, he proposes departing on a mental journey rather then literally interacting with the work. “You are exposing yourself to the work, and influenced by the work,” he says. “And you get this personal experience what you choose to do with is up to you.”