Doug Wheeler: Psad Synthetic Desert III, 1971
Exhibition, Guggenheim, New York, USA.
This work is from a group of installations conceived by Doug Wheeler during the late 1960s and 70s, developed from drawings executed in 1971. In addition to the architectural modification of existing rooms to achieve a sensate impression of infinite space, which is characteristic of Wheeler’s work of the period, an acoustic element is incorporated: the semi-anechoic chamber is designed to suppress all but the lowest levels of ambient sound.
The artist’s concept of Synthetic Desert is partly drawn from psychological and neurophysiological experiments in sensory deprivation that date back to the mid-20th century, and also relates to his own experience of the Desert Southwest, where near-silent conditions profoundly influence the visual sensation of space.