A few weeks ago, Aubrey and I traveled to the Lower East Side to the New Museum to explore Carsten Höller’s: Experience. We heard about this particular exhibit because of the chatter around a giant slide in the museum. We didn’t know much about it otherwise, but knew that if there was some sort of slide in the museum that people were talking about, we wanted to be on that slide.
We walked into the museum and had to wait in a short line to sign a waiver. I’ve clearly never had to sign a waiver to go into a museum before and I thought it was pretty funny, but it was also a tiny bit nerve-wracking – what kind of slide *was* this? There was a longer line that we could wait in to obtain upside-down goggles which were huge headsets which I just *assume* had mirrors in them to make everything you see upside-down. We decided not to do this part both because of the line and because everyone wearing those glasses looked ridiculous and like they were struggling.
Aubrey and I made our way up to the upper levels of the museum where the slide started. We could already tell this was going to be a strange experience. There were huge tv screens on each side of the elevator with the face of a girl who was just whispering words. When we got up to the slide, we both looked at each other and laughed at the ridiculously long line. A sign near the end said the waiting time would be about an hour. But clearly, we were going to wait in that line no matter what.
There was another part of the exhibit in the same room that we wasted a few minutes of wait time on, a carousel with mirrors all around it in different angles. No one was on the carousel and the seats looked like those of the spinning swings at our local boardwalk theme park. Aubrey and I hopped on and soon realized that they were NOT like the spinning swings at all. The carousel spun around at a snail’s pace and we just rode around looking at things in the mirrors. It was pretty anticlimactic, and I think it may have been cool if there had more in that room that could have been reflected (like colors of any kind?), but there were basically just people waiting and a few bird cages on the ceiling on the opposite side of the wall.
We finally made it to the front of the line after passing lots of other warnings about how you can’t go down the slide if you’re pregnant or have back problems. Seriously, what kind of slide *was* this and why were they trying to scare us? And what?! We had to wear helmets? Okay, fine, it could be a cute picture.
Aubrey went down the slide first and I could actually hear her scream on the way down, which again, made me wonder what the hell I was getting myself into. But it was my turn and I didn’t want to go into the elevators with the creepy girl again so I sat down and had the nice gentleman at the top of the slide push me. It was super fast and a very tight space and there were flashing psychedelic lights and suddenly I landed on a soft mat and there were guys who worked at the museum cheering and telling me how great I was.
The rest of the museum was equally as strange as the carousel and slide. Where the slide ended up, there were tons of giant neon animals that Aubrey and I tried to play with:
There was a giant fish tank that you could stick your head into so that you could see fish swimming above you:
As we were leaving, Aubrey and I stumbled upon another part of the exhibit where one pill a minute is dropped from the ceiling into a giant vat of other pills. There was a sign saying “take one” and a water cooler next to the vat. Aubrey and I thought that maybe this pill was supposed to be taken before we did the exhibit as if it were an actual drug that the museum gave us. Of course the pill was just plastic and was empty, but it was pretty funny that we thought for a second that a museum would drug us.
If you want to check out Carsten Holler’s exhibit, get your booty over to the New Museum by January 22nd. Totally understand though if you don’t want to check it out, because it. was. weird.