The Art of Life

Scattered Light in Madison Square Park from Kimberly McCaffery on Vimeo.

I have a stressful job, and today was particularly harsh. After it was over, I decided to take a long walk to digest the day’s events and try to put myself back together.

As I passed Madison Square Park on my way to Grand Central, I was surprised and then delighted by Jim Campbell’s installation, “Scattered Light”. From a distance, the white lights looked like ubiquitous tree-trimmings, but then I noticed that they weren’t tree-shaped. As I walked past, I became aware of shadows moving across the large, rectangular field. At first, I thought they were tree branches moving in the wind. Then I realized they were images of people projected in the field of lights. It was clever and beautiful. As I stood there pondering the ghostly images, I could feel the tension in my body lift. As my focus shifted from the tedium of my work day, to this mysterious artwork that traps shadows in the lights, I could feel mind begin to relax and enjoy itself.

Art reminds us that life is elegant, complex, and illusory. It’s really easy to forget this when the better part of the day was spent looking at spreadsheets, trying to figure out how to do a job with half the resources it requires. My brief encounter with “Scattered Light” reconnected me with the big “life” ideas that are much more satisfying to think about. This is something I absolutely must figure out how to engage with on a daily basis.

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