Buzzwords like immersive and experiential are all the rage in spectacle-society art shows these days, often conjuring rather carnivalesque aesthetics. But in the NextArt-produced pop-up installation of the “ULO (Unidentified Landed Object)” project currently on view in a repurposed storefront at ROW DTLA, it’s much more — and more lowkey — than that. The darkened room festooned with glimmering lights and evocative audio is a version of Kyle McDonald and Jonas Jongejan’s “Light Leaks” — reimagined from festival scale to a 15-minute drop-in “show” with elements of a nightclub, an infinity room, and a meditation-induced hallucination.
A deceptively simple sculptural assembly offers a sort of wild garden of mirror-balls, whose disco-fabulous reflectivity is leveraged and activated by projection mapping and augment by an ambient but emotional soundtrack. With about 25 people maximum at once and 15-minute timed-entry slots, the intimacy factor is not compromised by crowds, and viewers are free to have whatever experience of personal contemplation or shared delight they prefer — rendering the encounter much more like a fantastic but conventional (in a good way) gallery exhibition or museum project space installation.
This dreamlike star chamber is also conveniently located in an active outdoor plaza full of stores and restaurants, and welcomes drop-ins — all in a bid to make this kind of art experience accessible to spontaneous discovery by whoever passes by, integrating its perception-tweaking mood-resetting powers into the fabric of ordinary life, though it is anything but ordinary.
Tickets can be purchased at the site, or at the door.
ROW DTLA, 777 S. Alameda, downtown; Fridays, 6-10pm; Saturdays, 2-11pm; Sundays 11am-6pm, through September 28. $10.