Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A trip to a psychedelic world of fluorescence

So I've been away from this blog (and most other things) for the past month, though I had good reason for that. Unfortunately that means that I missed most of October, but thankfully now we have Octovember!

And few things could be more appropriate for Octovember than a story about my trip to Electric Ladyland, the very first fluorescent art museum in the world. I think it's impossible to be at a certain age today without having grown up being fascinated by glow-in-the-dark things. I know my friend M.E. Strange is a big fan to this day, for one. And so is Nick Palladino.

Nick is an artist from New York City who's been living in Amsterdam for a long time. Here, he and his partner Michelle Delage opened a studio and gallery dedicated exclusively to fluorescent art, which later led to the creation of a museum. Now, it's true that most of the things to be found there are not the glow-in-the-dark toys you or I may have had as we were growing up, but they are nonetheless very impressive.
Let me take you down...

The museum is small, located on the basement under the gallery, but entirely worth its modest price of admission. The exhibit consists of fluorescent art created by many different artists, pieces of pop culture dating as far back as the 1930's that utilized fluorescent elements, and many fluorescent minerals that can be appreciated in their natural wonder. Nick has put together quite a collection over the years, from all parts of the world.

Nothing is real.

It would all be very interesting on its own, but it's made even more so thanks to Nick's passionate guided tour. Nick truly loves fluorescence and art made with it, and you can feel his enthusiasm all around. Everything has a story, a meaning, an interesting fact behind it, and he will make sure to tell you as if he'd just found out about it, in spite of probably saying it many times a day, every day.

Part of the exhibit also encourages visitors to interact with it, which they get to do in the dark, with just the colorful glow of many minerals creating otherworldly scenarios. This is complemented by the 70's psychedelic soundtrack chosen by Nick, and succeeds in taking you out of your mind, even if just for a few minutes.

Nothing to get hung about!

So if you ever find yourself in Amsterdam, do not miss the opportunity to visit Electric Ladyland. It's a quick visit, so it can be easily fit in after a day of visiting other touristic destinations, and you will be glad you did. You can find more information, as well as their exact location and hours of operation, on their website. All the pictures here were taken by my sister-in-law, Daniella, whom I thank for letting me use them.

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