Taking up almost the entirety of the museum, the exhibit “Experience” offers up various defined experiences that employ large-scale, interactive pieces. Visitors are also welcome to share in a secondary experiential level with the help of special headgear, which uses mirrors, creating an upside-down view of the world for the wearer. Employing size, light, optics, and sensations, Höller triggers any individual’s senses, removing them from typical daily life and, more importantly, the typical museum experience.
Unfortunately, “Experience” does not have the effect its artist and curators probably had in mind. As an exhibit, which largely utilizes spectacle, museum curators and staff grossly underestimated the show’s popularity. Visitors hoping to walk around a topsy-turvy world, courtesy of the aforementioned headgear, must wait in line an unexpected amount of time. Visitors must wait in another line to sign a legal release. Before they enter, a visitor is already waiting on, noticeably understaffed, lines (a recurring trait of the show). Once in, visitors may choose any floor to begin their sensory excursion. The fourth floor presents the option to wait on a line to go down a slide, meanwhile watching put-together adults (children below a certain height and weight are not permitted) make a big to-do about sitting in the slide, then hearing their overly dramatic screams as they fly down it. Your other option for the fourth floor is to sit on a grandiose Mirror Carousel (2005) filled to the brim with fanciful lights and mirrors, only to take the most boring and anticlimactic turn around the room possibly imaginable. The third floor provides audiences with another, even slower, line to experience the Giant Psycho Tank (2000), designed to replicate the feeling of weightlessness. Before anyone gets a chance to feel weightlessness, they’ll get to experience a great wait. It should also be noted that this piece is designed for the true exhibitionist, as most likely your naked backside will be viewed by anyone who happens to venture too close to the less than substantial viewing barricade.
Any impact of Höller’s work is dissolved rapidly by a slew of inefficiency and pieces not designed to accommodate vast crowds. It is clear that his work, which partakes in amusement park spectacle, is not equipped to mimic their efficiency and crowd-control, especially within the confines of a museum. The visitor is left venturing through a malaise of sensory overload compounded by inactive anticipation.