Light Therapy V

Type of work: Project re-contextualization

Exhibition: Solo project

Location: Visual Carlow, Ireland

Year: 2020

Curator: Emma Lucy O’Brien

Courtesy: Artist and Visual Carlow

Photo: Ros Kavanagh, VISUAL 2020


Technical Data: Ceiling and walls made of white plastic textile material; white coats; white shoe covers; library with books and magazines; jug of water; cups, advertisement in the daily press; flyers; instructions for use on the wall; title-logo.



Light Therapy was originally conceived for Moderna Museet in Stockholm,1999. The idea was to focus on the program and typology of spaces within the contemporary museum today: how it functions as public space, and as a social or healing device in itself. Light Therapy became an addition to, and a comment on the museum’s program. It is clear that museums today not only function as exhibition spaces, but that they are also generators of city development and places that offer visitors various opportunities to take part in activities and outlets, such as educational programs, library, reading room, cafe and shops etc.

The idea of Light Therapy is borrowed from the treatment used to fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), milder winter blues and sleep disorders caused by jet leg and overwork, or lack of daylight. The light elements used in the room are specially developed in relation to medical light treatments that affect our behavior. Everything in the room is white in order to keep the amount of light at the level of 10.000 lux, imitating a bright, sunny day. But there is more to Light Therapy than the winter blues. The Light Therapy not only allows visitors to enjoy the treatment which has no proven side effects, but it also gathers them in a space to reflect, debate and engage.

Light therapy creates an artificial platform to improve our busy lives: “it is a ‘new prosthesis’ to make our everyday lives easier. It is a tool, which artificially makes you happy”. However, the subject of happiness is often related to the context or situations of the locality in which Light Therapy is performed. This effort is to make the visitors of contemporary art museums today, aware of its role in society.

On the completion of a decade long journey, VISUAL CARLOW in Ireland decided to reflect upon the initial visions, conversations and ambitions drawn together with the people of Carlow and myself at its inception in 2002. In 2002, I produced ‘Visual Cookie_Simulation Café’ as a communication model to get a dialogue going between the local audience and contemporary art production. The project aimed to encourage the local audience to participate in the “making” of their own cultural platform. The Simulation Café was set up right in the center of Carlow for six weeks and became the talking shop for the people of the city. It hosted events and a cookie competition, contained a little library with art books and catalogues collected from all over the world, and a video document from the opening discussion, which focused on the idea of the relationship between the local people and the contemporary art space. For weeks the café gathered people who would come to look, read and debate about what contemporary visual art was to them, and of course to eat those sensational new futuristic cookies!

Ten years later, Light Therapy at Visual is an attempt to continue that dialogue. To provoke the same ideas of participation and involvement as it did in 2002. The low seating around the walls, like an amphitheater promote exchange of thoughts and ideas. The pull-out folders in the steps contain archive material from the interactions in 2002. The space aims for individuals to look back and understand the journey of VISUAL CARLOW and its role in their everyday lives. Along with generating an informal exchange of thoughts and ideas about contemporary art and the image of a museum, Visual is also organizing events to activate and mobilize the space.

Associated events:

 VISUAL Talk: Arts Centre: What can it be?

Apolonija Šušteršič in conversation with Annie Fletcher, Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Emma-Lucy O’Brien, CEO and Artistic Director of VISUAL Carlow.

2.15pm – 3.30pm, 8 February 2020


Yoga with yogi in residence Connie Byrne

Tuesdays: 9.15 – 10.15

Thursdays: 18.00 – 19.00

Saturdays: 10.00 – 11.00


Coffee Mornings

In March VISUAL are hosting coffee mornings for artists and community groups. Hosted by the artistic team at VISUAL artists and groups of visitors enjoy the sensational VISUAL Cookie and a morning of discussion on what VISUAL means to them.